Sunday, April 21, 2024

Wenger dismisses suggestions of Director of Football – full transcript

Arsene Wenger enjoyed a relatively cordial press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League game with Southampton. He provided a team news update, and batted away questions designed to spark some headlines about him and Jose Mourinho in good humour.

That was until he was asked whether he knew anything about the potential appointment of a Director of Football. At which point he become quite crotchety, pretending not to know what a Director of Football does.

Here’s how that exchange with James Olley of the Evening Standard went down.

Olley: This morning there was another name linked with a potential Director of Football. Is it your understand that the club are going to make that appointment?

Wenger: No.

Olley: So you don’t think there’ll be a Director of Football here under any circumstances next season?

Wenger: Director of Football – I don’t know what it means. Is it somebody who stands on the road and directs players right and left? I don’t understand. I never could understand what it means, Director of Football.

Olley: Because there’s been talk about a restructuring of the club, and-

Wenger (interrupting): No, no, no, no, no, no. Sorry no.

Olley: There won’t be anything like that?

Wenger: Look I’m not prepared to talk about that. I’m manager of Arsenal Football Club and as long as I’m manager of Arsenal Football Club I will decide what happens on the technical front. That’s it.

At which point the club’s communications manager called time on the press conference.

There has been some talk of boardroom division, but whatever the truth of that it’s clear that Wenger is hugely opposed to the idea of working with any kind of football administrator.

Does it give us any clue or insight into what’s going to happen? Probably not, but if the manager stays, it looks like it’ll be more of the same in terms of his set-up and work environment.

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Cyprus The Immortal Gooner

So what Gazidis was actually talking about after admitting that “those 6 weeks” acted as a catalyst in deciding that big changes are needed?


I really hope gazidis is strong and doesn’t back down on at least hiring a director of football that has power. Not some token person with a job title that does nothing like Steve bould. I think it’s hard when wenger is his boss though. Wenger please just leave!

If I was Gazidis I would pack my desk down and leave and go find another club to work for. Bar being allowed to secure a few sponsorship deals here and there, he literally has zero say in anything that goes on. He is the CEO but Arsene Wenger (the manager) is still his boss – like its crazy. So hiring someone to be the Director of Football is literally pointless whilst Arsene is still there, because whoever they get in will still have no say in what goes on at Arsenal. It is a real shame that he’s almost… Read more »

Donald\'s Trump

I think even if they sack him he would turn up the next day to be honest.

Faisal Narrage

I swear, if Gazidis leaves because of Wenger and we end up with Josh Kroenke as CEO, I will never forgive Wenger for being so selfish. After all his talk of being a custodian, to end up leaving us at the hands of some football no-nothing like Josh who only got his positions because of Daddy would be huge setback as a club.

Heavenly Chapecoense

This is a case of a single person being too powerful. I am too old to do a PHD on it to assess how damaging it can be for organizations and society in general.


What a mess.

Gus Caesar

It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that there’s a power struggle going on between Wenger and Gazidis in terms of who decides what. And, to be fair to Wenger, he has stayed as long as he has because the club has given him such freedom and control that he knows he wouldn’t get elsewhere. It’ll be fascinating to see which side backs down – in the past it has always been the club – my money would be on Wenger signing a new deal and Gazidis quietly leaving the club in the Autumn.


Agree, Kroenkes will back the proven horse. I think only protests may help unsettle our Supreme Manager, he leaves when he wants.

Gus Caesar

Leaving Wenger’s performance aside, there are actually very good reasons for Gazidis to be fired. Our commercials aren’t good at all, the structure of the club including the football expertise available to the Board is a shambles, our contract situations are regularly badly handed, the stadium hasn’t really been developed at all (other than a few splashes of paint) since 2006 and the PR side of things couldn’t be much worse. He’s fundamentally the Head of how the club is run off the pitch and it’s very much lacking in a number of areas.


Gus Caesar for CEO … neva thought I’d say that.
Wasn’t Gazidis a MLS discovery? FFS

Faisal Narrage

Commercial improvement is dependant on team performance. How is that Gazidis fault? “Football expertise st the board” what? Like a Director of Football? Something Wenger is against? “Contract situations” Wenge has made it clear he handles that. “Stadium hasn’t been developed a team all” what for? Meanwhile he’s completely renovated Hale End and the current training facility, the sports science, and even the purchase of StatDNA. “PR couldn’t be any worse” and that’s gazidis fault? And the the fact the club on field’s performance and Wengers games or his contract is the cause of the PR issues? But sure, blame… Read more »

Gus Caesar

Yeah I think you conveniently overlooked the bit where I said “Leaving Wenger’s performance aside” – it’s pretty clear that i wasn’t only blaming Gazidis. But, yes, commercials are partly performance-based but not solely and you don’t have to look far to see good examples of other clubs bucking that trend and they’ve not been in the CL every season. Gazidis doesn’t need a sporting director to add genuine expertise to the Board. He, his staff member Dick Law and the legal team are in charge of negotiating contracts, Wenger has never said that he deals with the details, only… Read more »


Is that you Ivan? Nice to hear from you at last….

Gus Caesar


Anand Modha

His ego has put himself in front of the well being of the club . He is a dictator now.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Patrick Kluivert already trying to recruit Alexis Sanchez in the summer (Source:Eurospot). This will teach Wenger what a Director of Football is there for. We could have signed Draxler in the last five years if we had one.


I fancy gazizdis will go before Wenger.Things are not going to change on the actual football side.
Expect to hear an announcement on Wenger after the season ticket renewal date has passed.


I’m choosing to believe that this was merely a man caught off guard by a question and was merely trying to bring the conversation back to the present instead of the future. He looked much more like someone trying not to speak about things he isn’t permitted to speak about.

It’s much better than thinking Wenger is so adamantly opposed to working with someone.


I don’t know – the mocking comments about directing traffic suggest otherwise. Wenger is also one of the canniest operators when it comes to the media. He knew what he was doing. This is the power struggle being played out publicly.


Good point, Ricky. Could be deflection, but most likely distaste towards the idea of a director.

If I can say this without offense, I hope you’re wrong. Otherwise, it would seem as though a director of football would have no tangible/effective influence on the club. I say this because the alternative is Wenger’s departure, and that doesn’t seem likely at this point.


Arsenal fans like to talk about how classy Arsene is. I don’t know, petulant remarks such as these are not classy.

He could just say he does not want to or can not comment.


A ‘Director of Football’ may not be the answer to our problems but Wenger needs to begin his exit transition sooner than later.

Whether he leaves in 3 months or 2 years, it will be hugely damaging for the club to leave a Wenger shaped hole behind, inevitably needing to be filled my multiple positions.


Neil Eynon

This 100%.

I have been a firm Wenger supporter but if he isn’t prepared to prove his “love” for the club by compromising to work with someone, then there is a serious problem.

Any head coach we want to bring in after he goes will be expecting to work as part of a team. I don’t think there are any “managers” like Wenger anymore.


I think leaving a Wenger shaped hole would be beneficial to the club. And putting in a modern manager who can work in such a setup (with DoF etc.) would get us up and running very fast). Now most of the stuff Wenger does is damaging the club, I blame him for alienation of Alexis and Ozil and their leaving, due to his poor tactics, gameplanning and weird team selections. Day Wenger leaves will be a good day, and the more he stays, the more his legacy is tarnished IMO.


When did Alexis and Ozil leave? I must have missed that.


So they’re going to stay? I missed out on that…

John C

The club, at all levels need to be run with a fresh pair of eyes as a matter of urgency, even if this season last minute scramble for 4th is successful.

Wenger\'s Pony

I respect Wenger, and been telling myself that I can come to terms with him saying. But not like this. The structure has to change!


He will not change really, it is too late. My grandma and grandpa, and my parents even can’t change in their late fifties or 70s/80s. The level of self analysis and self criticism in these generations is close to non-existent.


It’s obvious he won’t change. His hubris, myopia and all round arrogance, are too great.

So two more years of decline and apathy. Probably four. Or he goes. And he won’t go voluntarily so he will have to be forced out.

Basically it will take a spontaneous explosion of anger inside the stadium to make that happen. But given the utterly deplorable state of our bovine home fan base, I can’t see it.

So two or four more years of this tripe it is.


I think the best form of protest is not to go to the stadium. Empty seats will not please sponsors & Sky.

Donald\'s Trump

Sky would love it and Kim Jong Weng Er would tell everyone in the press conference after that the the stadium was full.


All we can do is hope & pray that he leaves at the end of the season. He’s been marvellous but both he and the club need a clean break. I actually hope he goes to PSG, he deserves some success at the end of his career. At the moment this is a relationship which is not working well for either at the moment (except for Stan counting his thirty pieces of silver). The club needs to grow & modernise & we need a manager who is keen to buy into that approach along with delivering results. It’s pretty clear… Read more »


I can see you point of view but I think that he will never leave – he will need to be forced out (or at least for the owner and the board to grow some balls and simply not renew his contract). On the other topic – I don’t think that he can bring success to any club anymore. PSG has Emery, and if there wasn’t a complete meltdown and honestly a dive from Suarez they would have went through against Barca. Emery is a young and up and coming manager, Wenger is a washed out outdated manager. He could… Read more »


I don’t disagree with most of that. Whether he has ‘lost it’ or not is being viewed through the prism of the results of this season (and previous seasons to be fair). A clean break would do both a power of good. Tactics might not be Arsene’s thing but his approach may work in an environment like the French League where’s the constant competition in the Premier League has rendered most of this innovations as obsolete. He certainly won’t leave unless it’s on his own terms, one of Wenger or Gazidis will be gone in the summer IMO. If it’s… Read more »

Lord Bendtner

“Did you see that ludicrous display last night?”
“What was Wenger thinking sending Walcott on that early?”
“The thing about Arsenal is, they always try and walk it in!”

– Just gonna leave this here…


I would like to point out that episode aired in 2008, which is NINE years ago.

A little personal anecdote. I work as an EFL teacher in Slovakia. Last week I was talking to a student (who supports Barcelona) about the Champions League semi-finals. Another student overheard us and asked what club I supported. I him I supported Arsenal.

The kid just laughed.

P.S. No, Arsene, a director of football isn’t somebody who directs traffic. By the same token, a manager isn’t somebody who manages to keep his job a decade after he’s run out of ideas.


Michael Zorc at Dortmund, Beppe Marotta at Juve, Ralf Rangnick at RB Leipzig, the legendary Marc Overmars at Ajax, and Antonio Cordon (who Monaco recruited from Villareal), all directors of football who do a little bit more than directing players left or right.

At least Wenger makes one thing clear – on the technical front, the buck stops with him. Whatever issues we have with the board and Kroenke, when it comes to the playing side of things, Wenger has no-one to blame but himself.


Well said.


You forgot Monchi at Sevilla now Roma, the greatest of them all.


He’s actually not THAT great, Zorc is way better.


Alex Ferguson at Manure … oh wait.
Would Moanrinho, Pep, Klopp and Conte work with/listen to a director of football? No fucking way. Wenger in.


Yes, they do. All of them actually.


Ferguson was famous for delegating, he had David Gill doing the work in the transfer markets. It really hurt them that he quit alongside Ferguson and Woodward is now left helpless writing blank cheques for Raiola and Mendes.
Klopp and Conte both publicly stated that they dn’t care about transfers, Klopp worked very productively with Zorc at Dortmund, Conte alongside Marotta at Juve. It’s no about getting another boss for Wenger but someone to help him dealing with the markets. That can be very productive but you have to delegate responsibility and he deosn’t like that.


Nothing but a stubborn old fool, and that’s how dictators start. The man just can’t take a hint.

Gus Caesar

A dictator is in control of everything. Wenger doesn’t own the club, he doesn’t even have the ultimate say on his own role. One man could put Wenger out of work whenever he wishes, he is the dictator.


I have a feeling Arsenal are going to end up like North Korea where the Dear Leader is long deceased but is still nominally in charge of the country. Then Dennis Rodman will be the only one with any access to the board room. On the positive side the Emirates crowd will put on some awesome mass choreography.


My interpretation of things, there is a contract offer to Arsene but it comes with a caveat, changes need to be made to executive and technical departments. The club would prefer Arsene to be the man to help with this transition, Arsene has no interest in them. He wants to do things the way he always has and this is his opinion on change. Do the board and Ivan grow a pair and continue forward with their vision of the club or does Arsene get to keep indulging his ego?


If it weren’t making such a mess of our club it really would be fascinating. I’m not really sure there are actually many good options out there for Wenger if he were to leave – no one would let him rule the roost like he does here. At the same time I’m not sure the board is actually willing to fire Arsene = Arsene probably wins.


I think you may be right and I don’t think Ivan will back down on this. I have a suspicion that the contract that was probably on the table may have been withdrawn or amended. It could account for the March, April and nothing yet in May timing. Ivan found Andries Jonker who was a very good appointment for the Academy, and Arsene didn’t like that very much if reports are to be believed. Kronke junior is on record as saying that they are owners who put knowledgeable people in charge and don’t interfere, which can be a good thing… Read more »

Gus Caesar

Time will tell but the club is not best placed to take a firm line here. There’s no footballing expertise on the Board and, whilst i’m sure they’ve sounded out a few alternatives this time, we all know that they really don’t want to get rid. And Wenger knows that. The brinkmanship might get worse over the next few weeks (there are only 4 more press conferences left for Wenger to get through!) but it will ultimately come down to where the compromises are and whether the Board care more about keeping Wenger than getting the structure right. I just… Read more »


They don’t have to sack him. All it takes is a few words to the media by Sir Chips that both parties have agreed a parting of the ways, thanks for the years of service etc. etc. etc. The question is who they would find to take over, and there may be activity in the background, who knows. All will have to be revealed pretty soon, the end of season is almost here, but nothing will be said until after the FA Cup final, for sure.

Gus Caesar

However you phrase it, the Board will either not let him continue in the role or they will. I hope they have been quietly doing their preparation in the background and i’m sure they have some contingencies in place, but I just can’t see them preferring a Sporting Director and no Wenger over having Wenger.

Cyprus The Immortal Gooner

That actually makes so much sense after today’s comments…Good thinking…

Sunday Idoko Okpeh

If you think Wenger do not known what he is saying that the job of Director of Football is like a man standing on the road and directing players left and right in a comic manner,then think other wise,he is telling you he can’t share power with any one. He know how to answer questions. He wield alot of power at Arsenal. Gazidi plight well understood but less ambitious board members with Wenger will not allow that. He has to work away.


I’m no fan of Gazidis, but adding a Director of Football ultimately is best for the future of the club. Of course Wenger won’t play ball, he’s used to having final call on everything, and there are many incidents of conflict between the manager and director.

Ultimately, the board has to choose. I hope they make the right choice.


That’s the kind of behavior that have the club in the mess it is

Glen Helders Left Foot

This idea that not going to games is the only form of protest that will work is a real cop out, the club already has the money for this season and when it comes to it season tickets will sell out for next season, a few quid on beer ant hotdogs may be lost. 40,000 fans letting the manager/club know how that Shite has to stop will have more of an effect. Dictators don’t just give up power, as unpalatable as it is wenger will need to be pushed before moving onto kroenke.


After reading this and watching the Chelsea match last night, seeing Fabregas give his 10th assist of the season. I’m reminded why we need a director of football. Not bringing him back was a huge mistake. Unfortunately, Fabregas Is just one example of Wenger taking the piss on transfers. Over the past few years, he’s mostly purchased mediocrity. Furthermore, he has missed out on buying the type of quality we need. Higuain, Kante, etc. It’s scary to think we are not going to have a director of football next season because it means he staying for at least another two… Read more »

Gus Caesar

On Fabregas this is, with all due respect, bullsh!t. People have short memories – he went on strike and feigned injury to force a transfer from the club. He’s a rat and he should never be allowed to play for the club again. I can live with that character being elsewhere.


Arsenal should be more opportunistic, Fabregas wants to go back to Arsenal hence we should sign him, whether we use him or not we can decide based on his performance on the pitch. Fabregas will be useful for us, he will give Ozil a competition or we can put him on DM.
Arsenal is too nice in terms of signing, should be like other great club, who cares about loyalty to players, if we can get better players, we should sign them.

Gus Caesar

Opportunistic or foolish? Players should want to play for us and give us their all as a prerequisite. There are plenty of other great players out there without us needing to sign a known trouble-maker. Nobody is bigger than the club, particularly not that lying little sh!t.

Belfast Gooner

I think he’s on his way. I think this was Wenger getting it out there that he will not work with a Director of Football. The reason why there has been no announcement of a contract offer is because there isn’t one, as he won’t work with a DOF.

This is further evidence, that the relationship between him and Gazidis/Chips has broken down.

Its time for the club to come out and announce that he will be going. That way, we can give him the send-off he deserves at home to Everton and then hopefully win the cup.

Samuel Ogungbayi

Anomaly! We now see an employee publicly antagonizing his employers because of needed structural change in order to free Arsenal FC from arrested development . This is the peak of egregious exhibition of infuriating arrogance Wenger is not totally at fault, yes !, he sees and feels that he is the club because we have a Board that has been in a state of somnambulism for years which led to abdication. One man in the process bacame too powerful and has not been accountable to anybody for years hence the underachievement of AFC. Arsenal FC will start challenging for titles… Read more »


David Dein provided this link to the board and was involved in player acquisitions and his leaving coincided with the dip in success. He saw the Kroenke nightmare ahead and backed another horse. Rightly so. All of the players we all hold in high regard were Dein players – Bergkamp, Vieira, Pires, Henry, Diawara. Wenger clearly needs that support to be successful so I would be surprised if he would not admit that at least to himself.


Thumbs up for slipping Diawara in there ??

Gus Caesar

I find this whole re-writing of history around Dein to be most peculiar, people viewing his history through rose-tinted specs. Vieira, Pires and Henry were Wenger signings. He told the club to sign Vieira and Remi Garde when he was in Japan and he knew Henry and Pires personally long before Dein was involved – Dein may have done the deals but to claim now that they were “Dein’s players” is stretching his role. This is also the man who introduced Kroenke to the club (a man we all dislike, yes?) and then sold his shares to Red and White… Read more »


Fiszman deserves credit also no doubt but everything you say is noise that surrounds the club but when dein was there wenger had support and we won things. Wenger identified the players he wanted and dein made it happen. All I care about is winning. I don’t care who owns the club, who owns what bonds, whether we make a profit, what players are paid or signed for. I care about winning and when dein was there we won, when he wasn’t we didn’t.

Gus Caesar

Too simplistic a conclusion. It’s simply a matter of timing that we won little after Dein left – he was forced out just before we went from the period when the belts were tightened. Let’s not forget that there were many seasons under Dein pre-Wenger when we won sod all and couldn’t even manage to sign players like Tim Sherwood and Andy Sinton! And let’s also not overlook that we were at one stage very much reliant on a financial bail-out from Fiszman owing to Dein’s masterful financial management of the club. I think people are too quick to see… Read more »


But what really does DOF do?


Anyone follow F1? Bernie Ecclestone (86) was displaced from his mantle as el supremo by a yank consortium this year. The feeling being that Bernie’s vision was no longer relevant to where F1 wanted to go. The stranglehold he had over the sport, and the refusal of ANY interference with his decision making where shot down point blank. It was his show, he built F1 – who was anyone to tell him what he needed to do? After he was replaced, all was coming out that he realized his mistakes, and was only thinking of the money he was making… Read more »


I don’t understand why Wenger despise DoF so much as if the DoF will take his salary. DoF’s job is to help manager to sign players right? Wenger should be happy with it.

Mesut\'s disco burns

I was a little infuriated to see Monchi signed by Roma, in a quiet way possibly the transfer of the decade and surely one we could have hijacked

Anteneh Ademe

Arsenal is Arsene’s.


Dictator of football 😐


I thought Wenger had a point on the ambiguity of “Director of Football'” – this appointment is portrayed by some media outlets as an intangible panacea. I would like to see a job description! Certainly, the club urgently needs an improvement in player acquisition and scouting. Can we appoint a “Director of Player Acquisition and Scouting” and then everyone is happy…


This proves to me that what AW thinks is in the best interests of the club, and what is actually in the best interests of the club, are two completely different things.

His stubbornness is almost admirable but it’s ultimately damaging. Stop digging, Arsene, and ask for a ladder.


Someone mentioned David Dein in the posts. I’m sure Wenger’s used that these past years to get more power. ‘You sacked my friend, but I remained loyal to you when I could have gone to Madrid, Barca etc’ or maybe the dipstick Hill-Wood begged him saying he’ll have all the power he wants etc. Also I remember when Gazidis hired Jonker & the Dutch youth coaches to take over & improve the Academy, Wenger said it was nothing to do with him as he hadn’t decided if he was staying ( before Hull cup final). So if he stays he’ll… Read more »


Not saying we don’t need one in the future, but with Wenger at helm we don’t need one. Wenger is often referred to as ‘the last of a dying breed of managers’. He’s had ‘control’ since he managed Arsenal.


But really, what does a Director of Football do? Who’s the Director of Football at Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich?


Just curious why does anyone think a director of football would be the answer to our problems, I remember newcastle doing it and it turned out to be a joke it wasn’t really working for chelsea and their managers. I read at the time about all sorts of disagrements and who was then responsible for the results the guy who picks and buys the players or trains them daily ? Should a football managers title become football trainer ? Yes it was like a director of football with wenger and dein but it was also like 2 friends making things… Read more »


It’s not THE answer, but an answer. It stands for a whole lot more than just this one position, it is about the change of structure that we thouroughly need. Arsenal is run like no other top club in the world is run anymore, for good reason. We’re way behind the times. It’s about the divison of labour and responsibility of highly specialized tasks that no one person can fulfill anymore.


Storm in a tea cup. A director of footy is a possibility when Wenger leaves. It doesn’t stop the club from planning for it and scouting for such a personto eventually help Wenger’s successor. As for current situation with Wenger, as long as he is in charge, he doesn’t need one. It is hardly the reason for our failings. He has bought well mostly – Koscielny and Monreal have both improved, in recent seasons Ozil and Alexis have been godd premium buys. Ditto Granit and Mustafi. Cech and Santi were steals. Holding has been a fantastic buy for 2m +… Read more »


Excellent in the market? You’re being very selective here. Plus the gaps and ack of quality we continue having in the squad, us getting layed continously by other clubs and getting rejected by virtually all of the big talents in europe.

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