Liam Brady has been Head of Youth Development at Arsenal since 1996 and in that time he has overseen its rise into one of the best in the country. During his tenure they have won the FA Youth Cup on three occasions and various other distinctions and accolades in that time.
He has overseen the transition into the first team of talents such as Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, Cesc Fabregas and Wojciech Szczesny among many more.
Now the Irishman has announced his decision that he will stand down from the role in the summer of 2014 to pass on the job to younger hands at the age of 58.
Undoubtedly there will be plenty of suitors for the role but a couple of names have already been touted as the natural successor to the role; two players who both know the Arsenal way of playing under Arsene Wenger’s rule Patrick Vieira and Denis Bergkamp.
So who would be best for the role and who would Arsenal fans prefer to see?
Vieira is currently working in a similar role at Premier League rivals Manchester City. The Premier League champions have an excellent youth system in place; even if we do not get to see the fruits of the labour much in the current City era. His role as Football Development Executive sees him sourcing new training methods, scouting systems and networks as well as integrating commercial responsibilities into the role.
He has been in the role since July 2011 so would certainly have built up something of a portfolio come next summer and the infrastructure he has implemented at the club is also extremely impressive.
Bergkamp initially resisted going into coaching deciding to travel with his family immediately after his career but has recently fast-tracked his way into a promising coaching career. He has worked with children from the age of 12 all the way up to young adulthood with Ajax’s under-19 team as an assistant manager and since August 2011 he has been assistant to Frank de Boer and the first team at Ajax. His approach has been more of a hands-on coaching element than that of Vieira so depending on which the club prefer may decide who gets the nod; if either of them wanted to leave their already comfortable jobs for a new one that is.
Both are regarded as Arsenal legends so seeing either would probably please Arsenal fans but it would be unwise to believe that these two will be the only candidates. The likes of Gilles Grimandi, Guillermo Amor and Christian Henna will also throw their names into the hat but for now Bergkamp and Vieira will remain the main candidates.
So who would you prefer to see take over from Brady?