Story updated. See below.
He was Bayern Munich’s obvious first choice since September, but while Uli Hoeness dragged his feet, another club made its move: according to Kicker, Thomas Tuchel will succeed Arsene Wenger at FC Arsenal.
Tuchel had been unemployed since May 2017, when he was dismissed by Borussia Dortmund despite winning the DFB Pokal and finishing in third place behind Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge first contacted Tuchel when Carlo Ancelotti was fired in September 2017, but the club did not make a formal offer until Tuchel informed them that he had committed elsewhere.
Although it was speculated that Tuchel might replace Unai Emery at Paris Saint-Germain or Antonio Conte at Chelsea—that elsewhere is indeed Arsenal: after 22 years at the helm, Arsene Wenger will at last depart. Wenger, now 68, first joined the Gunners in 1996.
Wenger was under contract until July 2019, but will make way for Tuchel this summer. If the club succeeds in winning the Europa League, Tuchel will immediately be able to show his mettle in the Champions League. Otherwise, he will have to content himself with another season in the Europa League, since in the Premier League Arsenal are 13 points behind fourth place and Champions League qualification.
Amusingly enough, Tuchel will find at least one familiar face in London: his former chief scout Sven Mislintat, who joined Arsenal as head of recruitment last year. At the time, Mislintat revealed that his negative experiences with Tuchel had led him to leave Dortmund. According to Kicker, Mislintat has told his bosses that he will put his work first and perform his duties loyally.
Who Bayern Munich might pursue instead of Tuchel is unknown. It at least won’t be Wenger.
Update: Sportbuzzer, Honigstein say it's not Arsenal
Well, shucks, another German sports paper now is claiming that Kicker have it wrong. Sportsbuzzer is claiming to have exclusive information that Tuchel is not going to Arsenal.
Sportbuzzer speculate that Tuchel will go to either PSG or Chelsea. Ralph Honigstein has also chimed in, citing SZ’s Christof Kneer:
Matthäus: Tuchel in touch with Arsenal
It wouldn't be news if Lothar Matthäus had an opinion about it. The Bayern legend-turned-pundit told Bild that he knew Tuchel was in touch with Arsenal. Whether that bears out Kicker's story remains to be seen.
Christian Falk/Sport Bild: PSG after all?
Sport Bild’s Bayern Munich journalist Christian Falk has now also weighed in on the drama surrounding Thomas Tuchel’s future. According to Falk, Tuchel negotiated with PSG in fluent French two weeks ago. He promises to reveal the entire background to the story in tomrorow’s (Monday’s) print edition of Sport Bild.
We’ll stay tuned.