Unai Emery says he respects Ivan Gazidis’ decision to quit Arsenal even though it’s only three months since the Gunners CEO spoke of starting a new chapter in the club’s history together.
After weeks of speculation, it was confirmed yesterday that the 53-year-old, who led the recruitment for Arsene Wenger’s replacement, would be moving to AC Milan.
In his place, Vinai Venkatesham, formerly CCO, has been made Managing Director and Raul Sanllehi, now Head of Football, have been promoted.
Asked about the changes taking place behind the scenes, the Spaniard said he valued the time he’s had with Gazidis but that he’s now looking forward to working the new appointments.
“The first three months with Ivan were very important for me because he’s a big person, and a professional person too,” he told his pre-Vorskla press conference.
“The relationship between us was very close for three months. We spoke a lot about football, about management, about how big Arsenal is and our responsibility.
“His decision is a private one which I respect. I know Ivan is giving us the best next people [successors] to take the responsibility to continue to do good work.”
Given Gazidis’ all-encompassing role has been split along commercial and sporting lines, it’s likely that Emery will strike a stronger relationship with fellow Spaniard, Sanllehi whose role is effectively that of Director of Football.