Ivan Gazidis has reiterated the Arsenal board’s support for Arsene Wenger and hinted that the club are discussing a new contract with the Frenchman.
Refusing to be drawn on the specifics of what he labelled ‘behind closed doors’ talks, the CEO claimed that Wenger was as ambitious as ever and excited about a significant period in the club’s development.
“We think we have got a fantastic manager,” Gazidis told assorted members of the press.
“We hope that he wants to do what he is doing for the long term. I believe he does. I think he is still ambitious, still driven and sees the potential of the club as he looks forward and I think he is very excited by that.
“We have got a lot of confidence in Arsene that he is the right person to take the club forward and I think he will want to do that. We have a great relationship and he has a great relationship with the board as well. So, quietly and at the right time, I think we will make an announcement on that
“What I really don’t want to do is have a public discussion about Arsene’s contractual position. That would be a daily, weekly fixture on the public coverage if you start getting into that. This is going to happen very quietly behind closed doors, privately and then there will be an announcement.”
As he did in the aftermath of Arsenal’s fourth place Premier League finish, Gazidis again took the opportunity to outline more ambitious aims for the future.
Claiming that the club’s financial circumstances provide a firm platform for building a successful squad, he continued:
“We finished with 73 points and in fourth place which I would say was necessary for us. We want to be competing at the top of the game and in order to do that you have to be in the Champions League.
“But it is not ultimately where we want to be with moving the club forward. We want to be a club that is competing at the very top end of the game and that means competing to win the Premier League and competing to win the Champions League. On that basis, we are not where we want to be yet.
“I think it’s not idle ambition when we talk about wanting to get there. We have a very solid plan that will give us the ability to be able to compete at that level provided we do things well. The stadium move has meant we have tied in a lot of our commercial deals to it which has put us behind the game.
“The critical thing now as we look ahead over the next season and the season after is our developing financial capability which will give us a lot more options than in recent years.
“We think we have got a fantastic manager who has seen us through moving to a new stadium with consistency. We think we have got the right person to make the kinds of choices and decisions that we are going to have over this really significant period of the club’s development. We are feeling very optimistic.”
Arseblog News aren’t sure under what circumstances this interview was granted to the press but it does seem somewhat odd to hint so strongly at a new deal for the boss while simultaneously being at pains to highlight an unwillingness to talk about it publicly.
One thing is certainly clear; Gazidis’ recent rhetoric about the club’s future is increasingly bullish. With the new commercial deals seemingly in place, UEFA gradually rolling out their FFP regulations and the possibility of another year of Champions League football on the horizon the beat of the drum he’s been banging for years appears to be getting louder and faster.
It’s now down to Gazidis, Wenger, and the club, to prove this isn’t the same talk we’ve heard in summers past and put their money where their mouth is.
Squad improvement should be the first priority, and with the streamlining already begun, let’s hope it’s the precursor to the more important matter of new arrivals.