Benitez a 'perfect fit' to fill Wenger void at Arsenal - Parlour

Rafa Benitez
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The Newcastle manager is among those being mooted as possible successors to a long-serving Frenchman preparing to step aside at Emirates Stadium

Rafa Benitez would be a “perfect fit” for Arsenal if the Gunners turn to the Newcastle boss as successor to Arsene Wenger, says Ray Parlour.

Those at Emirates Stadium are having to piece together plans for 2018-19, with a first managerial change in 22 years about to be made.

Wenger is preparing to bring an iconic reign to a close, so attention has started to shift towards who might replace him – with several contenders reported to be in the running.

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss Benitez is among those to have been linked with a move to north London, and Parlour believes he boasts all the qualities required to be a success.

The ex-Arsenal midfielder told talkSPORT: “What he has done for Newcastle this season is amazing.

“With not a lot of investment he’s got them playing so well. They are out of trouble when it looked like they would be in a relegation battle, and now they are sitting really healthy in the league.

“He would be a great fit, but whether Arsenal want to go down that road…

“There are younger managers as well, and they may say ‘let’s give one of them an opportunity’, or go for one of the more experienced ones; Luis Enrique is favourite, but I know Chelsea might be looking at him as well.

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“So this board have got to make a big decision now, because I’ve always thought whoever replaces Arsene Wenger is going to have a hell of a job taking the club forward. It’s not an easy job.”

Wenger has guided Arsenal to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cup triumphs during his time at the helm, taking in over 1,200 fixtures across all competitions.

Filling his shoes will be no easy task, despite the criticism aimed at the Frenchman in recent years, with the likes of Manchester United having shown in recent times how difficult it can be to replace a legendary coach – with Wenger’s imminent departure already being compared to that of Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.