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Sunday 21 October 2018

Rodgers is an Arsenal target

Gunners link: Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers
Gunners link: Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers

Where do you go after you've been to paradise?

For Brendan Rodgers, the next stop on his managerial career could be a move south, from Glasgow to London, as the Co Antrim man is already installed as the favourite to take over from Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

Celtic Park has been anything but paradise for some coaches, as Liam Brady and John Barnes were badly scarred by their experiences there and struggled to get a decent job again.

Ronny Deila's work post-Celtic turned out to be his current job, manager of a Vålerenga side in his native Norway, their home crowds of 6,000 punters every week a fraction of the attendances he was used to at Celtic.

If Parkhead was a graveyard for their coaching careers, Rodgers has used it to revive his and win back his reputation, to the extend that he is now the bookes' favourite to succeed Wenger.

In a significant move, the Scottish club's major shareholder, Irish businessman Dermot Desmond, said he would not stand in Rodgers' way if the Gunners came calling.

"I'm glad he's the favourite," Desmond told Sky Sports.

"He's an outstanding person. We wouldn't want him to leave but we won't force him to stay.

"Hopefully his love for the club and the set-up here will induce him to stay. I don't think you can put handcuffs on anybody if they want to go to a club as good as Arsenal. It will be Brendan's decision and his decision only."

Rodgers will probably win the domestic double with Celtic this season, and for every season more that he stays there, and traditionally it would have been the lure of Champions League action which would have kept an in-demand coach like him in Glasgow.

But UEFA's decision to make it easier for clubs in England, Spain and France to get into the group stages does, in turn, make it harder for a side like Celtic to get there.

Of course Rodgers would be guaranteed Champions League games (albeit in the qualifying stages at first) if he stayed, while Arsenal need to win the Europa League to make it there.

A call for Rodgers to make but the fact that he's being considered, and may be wanted, by a club like Arsenal, is a sign that he has rebuilt his name and reputation.

Rodgers was a figure of derision for some and he did make some errors at Liverpool but behind the smile and the famous white teeth, there is some steel, possibly what Arsenal need.

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