Over the weekend, after Ivan Gazidis met with the Fan’s Forum and insisted this season would be a ‘catalyst for change‘, stories began to emerge about how structural changes were planned at the club ahead of next season.
There was talk of a ‘major review’ involving areas like scouting, coaching, and recruitment, with journalists on the Arsenal beat talking about lengthy searches for a Director of Football.
However, speaking to the press yesterday, Arsene Wenger seemed to be at odds with those stories, and rejected the idea that a massive overhaul was needed.
“I would like you to visit one day the club now, what it is, compared to what it was when I arrived, and you would say that there is a structural change,” he said.
“After, you can say that, yes, we do not win enough games.
“Yes, OK, you can always demand more. But as well I think we have managed to combine big investments and structural change without anybody putting one penny in, all only based on the quality of my work and being consistent.
“If somebody in the next 20 years does much better, believe me I’m very happy. But at least he has fantastic conditions, a strong financial situation and good players.
“The target of the club is always to do better, but the structure is there, as it is today. We have fantastic conditions to do better. So a spectacular change of structure now will be very difficult.”
There is a widespread acceptance that because Wenger has been manager for so long, the club is not set-up properly for a new, modern-day head coach who requires staff in place to do many of the things that the Frenchman currently takes responsibility for.
And the 67 year old also cast doubts on suggestions that he is ready to ‘reinvent’ himself in order to keep his job.
“That is evolution, it is not change,” he said. “Change is at the heart of who you are. I think that’s difficult.”
Does this suggest some kind of schism between Wenger and Gazidis? It’s hard to know, because the Chief Executive has not spoken on the record about the manager since October last year, and his last statement at all came in the wake of the departure of Andries Jonker to Wolfsburg.
At the very least, you can’t escape the fact that whatever is going on, it’s not healthy for the football club right now.