Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis says that when the time comes to replace Arsene Wenger, the club will ensure the style of play and footballing values he’s instilled will remain, but also suggested that the club will offer the Frenchman a new contract to run beyond his current deal.
Wenger has a contract until 2014 but Gazidis insists that any new deal would be made with the best interests of the club in mind, not for emotional reasons. Speaking to the Telegraph, he said, “It’s not a sense of sentimentalism, not a reward for services, it’s a belief that we have an incredible manager who loves this club and is the best man to lead us forward.
“We’re really confident about the direction that the club is heading. I feel he can keep going for a long time. He’s in fantastic shape and he’s as driven as he’s ever been and excited as ever.
“The values that Arsène has brought to the club together with the values that the club had before Arsène are what will inform us and give us the framework as to who might take over from him in the longer term. He is written into our DNA.”
And while many Arsenal fans were frustrated by the club’s decision not to recruit further before the transfer window closed, Gazidis has lauded the manager’s transfer business.
“We can get into extensive debate about individual decisions – and like all clubs we are not perfect – but the ultimate arbiter of whether you are spending your money efficiently is where did you finish in the Premier League versus your overall spending,” he said.
“When you look at what Arsene has done, within the overall constraints, he has outperformed our spending every single year he has been manager. It is extraordinary.”
He also suggested that the new commercial deals available to the club in 2014, when current sponsorships end, would propel the club to a new financial level.
“In terms of the financial impact, it will be as significant a step forward as the stadium was in 2005, it does kick us into the top five clubs in the world with separation from the rest. The overall journey that the club embarked on was to make it one of the leading clubs in the world and to do it in a way that would be sustainable. “
“We get accused of a lack of ambition or complacency because apparently the board are only interested in the top four. That is absolute rubbish. To me this is the most ambitious football club I know.”
It’s a hard sell when you constantly sell your best players, often because you have no choice, but there’s no doubt the new commercial revenue will have a big impact on our financial health. It’s whether or not we use our resources fully when we have that money that will decide whether or not Arsenal will be in the ‘top 5’ clubs in Europe.