Ivan Gazidis has refused to put an end date on Arsene Wenger’s stewardship at Arsenal saying he’s thankful the manager remains full of energy and enthusiasm for the post he’s held for 19 years.
It’s widely believed Wenger will step down in 2017 when his current three-year deal ends, however, the Gunners’ CEO has left the door open for the Frenchman to stay at the Emirates even longer.
“He’s been incredibly important for us,” Gazidis told The Straits Times.
“You never know [about a new deal] but he’s in great health and he’s doing incredibly well. He’s full of energy and enthusiasm, his hunger is still there, and I’d never put an end date on it.
“He’s also been a passionate supporter of the club, in a sense a fan of the club. He’s put the club’s progress and development above his own personal interest.
“We believe we have the right man in the club and we’re very pleased that he’s full of health and willing to carry us forward.”
Wenger will be nearly 68 at the end of his current contract, still three years younger than Sir Alex Ferguson when the Scot walked away from Manchester United.
Obviously age isn’t the only factor, there’s also the success of the club over the next couple of seasons. More silverware would be both a nice way to sign off and an incentive to keep going.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens, but there’s certainly no sign of a succession plan in place just yet.
Gazidis also touched on the strength of Arsenal’s squad as they prepare for the new season, noting:
“We’ve got a growing sense of belief in our squad. We want to be more consistent going into next season… we definitely have the quality in our squad to compete and win the league.”
He also outlined, as is par for the course, that the club will continue to focus on a youth-centric policy despite their strengthened finances.
“We’re not able to compete at that level [with the likes of Real Madrid] yet,” he said. “It’s true now we also have the ability to add some top players.
“But what’s more important to us is that we’re able to continue our (youth) development philosophy and then hold on to the players.
“That’s the most exciting story, that’s what the success of Arsenal is built on and is going to be built on. And if you look at all the most successful football clubs over time, they all have that at their heart.”