As Arsenal hurtled towards a post-Arsene Wenger future, Brendan Rodgers’ name was mentioned as a potential successor to the great man. It was claimed at the time that at boardroom level of the North London club there existed an admiration for the Northern Irishman, that they saw him for all the good he did at Liverpool rather than all the stuff that made him something of a joke figure.
Arsenal supporters were generally unhappy with the suggestion that Rodgers could succeed the greatest manager in the club’s history. Now, however, they would surely be content with the sight of the Northern Irishman in the Emirates Stadium dugout. Rodgers has done a lot to reverse his reputation while Arsenal after the ill-fated reign of Unai Emery are desperate.
With Emery now gone Rodgers is believed to be on the Gunners’ shortlist of potential replacements. But with Leicester City midway through what is turning into an historic season, with the Foxes currently sitting second in the Premier League table as the closest challengers to Liverpool at the top, some question whether Rodgers would really leave the King Power Stadium at this point.
Rodgers, however, is a man of great ambition. This was demonstrated by the way he left Celtic to go to Leicester City earlier in the year. As is the case now, most presumed that Rodgers would at least see out the season in Glasgow, especially with the Hoops on the verge of an historic ‘Treble Treble’ - three consecutive Treble-winning seasons.
At Celtic, Rodgers had painted himself as a true fan of the club, a man who saw being manager of the Hoops as a lifetime ambition fulfilled. But when Leicester City came calling in February Rodgers jumped at the chance of a return to the Premier League. Celtic fans were left feeling cheated. Some still can’t bring themselves to utter the name of their former manager.
With this in mind, Leicester fans shouldn’t be too surprised if Rodgers agitates for a move to Arsenal, a club he is widely believed to be keen on managing. The 46-year-old let slip after the weekend win over Everton that a clause may exist in his contract that allows him to leave the King Power Stadium for North London.
“Yeah, very much so,” Rodgers insisted in a subsequent interview when asked whether he would be staying at Leicester City. “It doesn’t annoy me,” he explained in a less flustered manner than when the existence of a contract clause was put to him on Sunday.
“I don’t think so much about it. It’s not in my control. I came here to help the project and see if we could bring it forward. I’m at a great club. I absolutely love it here. Names will get thrown right, left and centre. For the Arsenal job there are probably about 10 names. Me, I’m just concentrating on Leicester.”
This wasn’t an outright refutal of the speculation linking Rodgers with Arsenal, though. By many accounts, he still feels wronged by the way things ended for him at Liverpool, sacked just months after taking the Merseyside club to the brink of the Premier League title. A move to Arsenal would present a form of personal redemption for the Northern Irishman.
It might be that Rodgers stays at Leicester City until the end of the season given the Foxes’ current chance of a higher Premier League finish than Arsenal. But if the Gunners call on the Northern Irishman to make a now-or-never decision, just as Leicester did themselves earlier in the year, then Rodgers’ track record suggests he might make an unexpected call. He has previous for it.