Sunday, September 24, 2023

Report: Director of High Performance Darren Burgess to leave Arsenal

According to Charles Watts of Goal, Arsenal’s Director of High Performance Darren Burgess is set to leave the club this summer.

The Australian has been at the club for two years, and anyone who has read or listened to the interviews with him over that period will have heard a very intelligent guy speaking really well about his work.

The backroom set up has undergone many changes in the last number of years, but his departure is the latest in a series that has added to a sense of instability around Arsenal at this moment in time.

Last October Ivan Gazidis, the CEO who was behind the Australian’s appointment, left for AC Milan, followed in February by Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat.

There have also been reports that Shad Forsythe could depart to follow the former CEO to Italy, but perhaps the vacancy left by Burgess could see the American take a more senior role.

There were suggestions he was unhappy with an ostensible demotion when Burgess arrived, so it remains to be seen if that is the case.

As yet, there have been no official appointments made regarding a Head of Recruitment, although behind the scenes former Iberian scout Francis Cagigao is expected to take the position.

The arrival of Edu as the club’s Technical Director won’t be official until July, after the Copa America, and with a lot to do in the transfer market this summer with an already complicated squad situation, we could do without more upheaval.

Last year, the Australian was linked with a role back in his home country with Southern Expansion, but it’s unclear as to whether or not this has precipitated his departure from Arsenal.

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Judged by his title, we haven’t had enough ‘high performances’.

Unless we mean performances like we were high on drugs, we had some of those later in the season.


We seem to be losing our idiosyncratic staff members. Sven is irreplaceable in my book and a perfect fit for a club looking to do a lot with a little.

Burgess seemed similar – fresh ideas and a contemporary mentality.

The backroom staff at this club are starting to feel a little like the owner. Tepid, dusty and reactionary.


The most important in any organization are the Chairmen, the heads, there are a lot of worker-types everywhere, you need the ability to bring the right people together and in our case we’ve got amazing business men; the Vinais and the guy from Barca. And they recognize Unais intelligence . They already figured it out and it’s wonderful watching/learning from them do their covert stuff. Calm y’alls tits ?


You’re funny. Can i drop that acid you’re taking right now?


Stan is a “good” business man.

When he took over we had just finished 4 points off winning the title.

This year we were 28 points adrift.

Stan has taken around 2 million a year out of the club. That’s roughly 22 million.

Yeah, we just need good business men.


I suspect you could remove them and it wouldn’t make a great deal of difference.

They are good at talking.

I’d be happy to be proved wrong by the new lot.


My bad. My reference wasn’t to Stan whatever we think of him. I was referring to Vinai and the ex Barca guy, the guys running the club


Apparently, he failed to emulate a high performance. As simple as that.


We are an absolute shambles of a club if we let him go too

djourou's nutmeg

good! we haven’t had a high performance in months. this fixes it, right?

djourou's nutmeg

ah fuck me 6 minutes late

Heavenly Chapecoense

I do understand his role was about physical performance but did he work with Ozil and Lichstener ?

DB10s Air Miles

Well no matter how good he is at his job he can’t make someone’s legs 5 years younger or force someone to work harder than they’re willing to. So I don’t see picking those 2 players to be a measure of the quality of his work.

Heavenly Chapecoense

I am sorry but for Lich, the question can be asked. Exceptional physical preparation could have helped. There was nothing exceptional with him.


Ridiculous reply.

DB10s spot on.

DB10s Air Miles

He’s 35 and his legs have clearly gone. There was a very good reason that a player, that has had a great career, was available for free. Beyond creating a cyborg I’m not sure what you think the fitness and performance guys could’ve realistically achieved under the circumstances? He’s basically reached a point where he either needs to drop down a level or retire, it happens….

Heavenly Chapecoense

So why did he pass his medical with us ? The performance guy wasn’t around ?

DB10s Air Miles

The medical is to prove injury free and physically fit, it can’t accurately predict if someone is up to running up and down the entirety of the pitch each game in the premier league…… although maybe our scouts could’ve picked up on that? Or maybe it was a rapid decline between spring and autumn last year? I certainly haven’t seen the same monreal this season as I did last so that shows you how quickly someone’s legs can go.

Faisal Narrage AKA Mr Project Youth 2.0

Do you know what a medical is?


You know medicals are subjective, relative to the club and player?
If they had expected him to be needed for 30 games this season I expect the medical would have been more thorough.

But then suarez and Kallstrom


In fairness to him, there hasn’t been a great deal of high performance to direct. Anyway. At this rate, Gunnersaurus will be resigning any day.


long live Walmart-a-saurus (likely a floor cleaning robot with a canon painted on the side).


I think you need different professionals in your organization, different parts of a gear, to give their opinions when required, when/if they don’t see things the same way look within yourself (introspect) and then be confident enough to go out and cop a new professional.


There is a reason people are abandoning the ship like that


Reaching reaching


Yes, we are shit.

Cygans Parting

In short, it’s a huge shit sandwich and we’re all going to have to take a bite!


Life is a steady stream of them


At times like these the words rats and sinking ships come to mind…

Faisal Narrage AKA Mr Project Youth 2.0

FFS, this is a big loss IMO. As a former Sports Scientist, Darren is one of the most respected in the field; particularly his use of technology and data for injury reduction. It’s probably been lost due to the shit season, but outside of the 3 long-term absentees, this has been one of our best seasons in terms of injury-rates in the past decade. Say what you like about Gazidis (and I know Andrew hates the guy, fairly), but his changes to the academy, to our medical services, and to bring Darren and Sven gave an indication of a club… Read more »


Sadly, you are too right. We wanted change, and now we’re getting the wrong kind of it a bit too much, too often.

Olivije Žirod

Said it many times about Gazidis. He was incompentent at times but he had a vision how this club should go forward and all based on Arsenal values. What Sanllehi and Vinai do?

Post January Blip

I’m half tempted to start petition to keep Doris the tea lady at the club. What on earth is going on?!


Pretty much what I’m seeing is, cut staff wages, are these guys really necessary? I could easily use a new Gatorade disbursement runner for the rams. Yours sincerely, stan


Considering he’s getting a giant California tax subsidy for the Rams after having a fit and storming out of St Louis… he could afford both, or you know, solve the homeless issue in the US, or end hunger, but billionaires all gotta be greedy assholes.


Seems to me we have one of two problems: our staff and players see greater opportunity elsewhere or they don’t like the working environment and are leaving because of it. Given the number of people who have left, and the positions that have not been filled (still), I’m going to say its likely a boardroom problem leading to a number of people seeking a different employer. Since KSE took full control, we’ve had real difficulty keeping people. Either way, it leaves us with a large number of vacancies to fill, both on and off the pitch, and not a tremendous… Read more »


We have lost the allure. Some fans will maybe like to get defensive but call a spade a spade. We are out of CL for 3 seasons. We no longer carry players that are genuinely world class. BUT the set up has also started to unravel. Wenger had a massive reputation even with faults in developing talent. Which is why even when he failed to hit higher heights, we were still linked with top prospective talents. At very least we were stable in 3rd or 4th for many years and Wenger enjoyed a justifiable reputation developing players young and older… Read more »


I’ve prepared myself for a period of mid table mediocrity, it’s looking inevitable.
Unai Emery will likely be the next fall guy In Nov/Dec, but that won’t be the magic answer we’re looking for.

Fully expecting to be overtaken by the likes of Leicester, Everton and Wolves next season.

A Different George

And yet, even with a total end-of-season collapse, we finished exactly one point out of the Champions League places. So, more likely, we will continue to be “top 6” and in good years “top 4”. But I want Arsenal to contend for the title–and that’s nowhere on the horizon.


I wish I shared your confidence that we can tread water.
We we treading water in 4th and 3rd place for a very long time, then we started sinking.
Now we’re treading water in 5th and 6th place, and eventually we’ll start sinking.

If you’re not moving forward? Then eventually you’ll go under.

Faisal Narrage AKA Mr Project Youth 2.0

Yep, I think anyone that’s taking our top 6 spot for granted is being naïve, this is the same mistake many fans made for top 4.

Everton, Wolves and even Newcastle if they get oil money, will look to usurp us. Stans teams never seemingly do well and end up in mediocrity.


Agree. We don’t seem to have correct direction. We should not take for granted that we will be at minimum 6th or better. If Unai becomes the fall guy, we may be even less stable. There are already 10 clubs (in Europe and domestic) who can and will spend on better players than us. That by law of averages simply means one element to mitigae risk is being reduced. Sure the manager may pull the rabbit out of the hat ala Leicester but it will be less likely and he won’t be assisted by us buying the best we can/should… Read more »


Losing someone like Burgess, in a vacuum, is not a big deal. Losing someone like Burgess when there’s already been so much shakeup already with the backroom staff, and there’s been so little clarity provided by Raul/Vinai about the club besides some goddamn flow chart they trotted out in an interview, projects Arsenal as a club with zero stability – with the added bonus of three straight years in the Europa. There is no vision here. Just two business folks running the club with the help of a manager-who-was-only-supposed-to-be-a-head-coach-but-now-he’s-a-manager-again in Unai, who could be dumped by December if our worst… Read more »


This is an excellent comment.

Faisal Narrage AKA Mr Project Youth 2.0

So true. I’ve sent it to the arseblog before, and I know it’s cool to hate on Ivan, but the role of the CEO is to have a plan and vision and implement it. Whether you liked it or not, at least Ivan had a vision; turn us into an analytics club. Whether it was successful or we got a chance to see it bear fruits, but he updated our academy SIGNIFICANTLY (of which we’re now bearing fruit), updated our medical and sports science and hired the right people for it like Darren, bought StatDNA and hired someone like Sven… Read more »


Staff turnover is the greatest indicator of internal rot.


I’m at that stage where I’m trying to get excited about new signings, but its not happening at the moment, the only thing that’s put a smile on my face about our arsenal is the new home shirt

The Swede

Sacked according to one of Ornsteins sources.


Regarding Southern Expansion, this will have zero to do with them. Their bid to enter the Australian A-League was unsuccessful, so they no longer exist.


Are we slowly becoming a mid table club? Oh wait, we already are this past 3 seasons…

The Swede

Mid table? Not really.


Guys, please tell me that the board are cleaning the mess instead of making it.

Lord Bendnter

The most important thing you need to know regarding the Director of High Performance is that the new kit will be available from July 1 onwards.


When Shad was appointed we made huge progress with reducing injuries and I found it strange that Burgess was then employed by the club, where did that leave Shad, who seemed to be doing really well? We have had long spells this season when our players have looked knackered, and they looked tired playing the final in Baku, especially in the second half. I’m not worried that Burgess is going, we seemed fitter with Shad and maybe Burgess was pushing too much. We’ll see, as apparently Shad is going to be in charge again.

Heavenly Chapecoense

You put it much better than I tried to.

Faisal Narrage AKA Mr Project Youth 2.0

Huh? What evidence do you have that Shad reduced injuries? There was a point where we were the constantly the highest team in Physio Room, and this was under Shad, yet this season we’ve had one of our fewest injury incidences in years.

Fatigue at Baku has nothing to do with Darren, look to Emery overusing senior players, like playing them in almost all the tournaments in the season, as explanation for that.

Oh, and we were just shit.

Ko Aunglinn

Who is going to replace him ?????.negative things has come already


His position isn’t difficult to replace or important. BUT the overall scheme of thinsg and direction is not good. The bigger question is the Technical Director. Edu (if true) is vastly inexperienced and we have made critical error not to secure a Technical Director early (This should have been done at very least end of season) Many were all too eager to be rid of Wenger but they failed to understand that Wenger had the interest of the club always. I’m not so sure those in charge (beyond the manager) at this point are as invested. And the current manager… Read more »


This looks like a hollowing out of the staff. …not sure what direction we are taking and if anyone is truly in charge. You’re having a laugh with Edu taking over. Seems ridiculous to not have a Technical Director in place early given the monumental task ahead with smaller budget and 10 teams ahead of us with money and will to spend. Owner is uninterested has too many other sporting interest for his (and our) own good. Executives lack clout. Where Gazidis at very least led, we have no one giving directions at the moment. Raul seems to be consolidating… Read more »


Our brand is in serious jeopardy. If I were an investor wanting to buy into a club, I would not buy off of Kroenke. The Milan clubs have pedigree and would be far better investments. If one of them kick in with serious money and rebuild, we have yet another competitor ahead of us poaching better players because they will have the will and money to spend. We will drop further down the pecking order. If Unai doesn’t get the sort of support he really needs (Tech Director) and we stagnate again or worse drop down the ladder, its not… Read more »


Southern Expansion didn’t get selected to join the League in Australia so he isn’t going there.

Burgo was a good addition and I see him leaving as another loss for Arsenal.


Calm down guys. This guy was a Herbalife promoter. I’m sure we won’t need to look very far to find a better replacement.

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