Gazidis: You don’t find better candidates than Wenger

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Ivan Gazidis has used the announcement of Arsene Wenger’s new two-year contract extension to rally against those who don’t believe the Frenchman has what it takes to keep Arsenal moving forward.

Having waited an age for the party line to be agreed, the Arsenal CEO finally broke his silence on the long-running saga with typical corporate panache.

His answers to questions posed by the Arsenal.com editorial team meander more than the River Thames. As always he peppers them with sound bites and, for good measure, references the club’s DNA, history, tradition and famous Latin motto ‘Victoria Concordia Crescit’.

In fairness, he stops just shy of borrowing Theresa May’s ‘strong and stable’ Tory election slogan, but you get the feeling he was close to chucking it in. No doubt he’d have used ‘Wexit, means Wexit’ had the boss walked away.

All in all, it’s classic Ivan. You almost want to buy into what he’s saying. But then you realise you’ve heard it all before during the last eight years.

Anyway, here’s a few snippets on the big issues…

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On Arsene’s new deal…

Arsène is somebody I have worked with for over eight years now, and I know the quality of the man, I know the quality of him as a football person and I know the quality of him as a human being as well. Those values that he has, those qualities, are world class in every respect. His DNA is the same DNA as this club. He is driven to move forward, he is driven to evolve and he is driven to achieve those objectives of winning for this club and making those fans proud. When you look at the world of football, and you think about the great candidates that there are – and there are many great coaching candidates in the world and Arsenal is a club that all of them would want to work for because of the things we represent in football – but when you look around and make that assessment, you don’t find any better candidates than Arsène Wenger.

On what happens at the end of two years…

We don’t [know]. Football is constantly evolving, constantly changing. This is a two-year deal so we are looking at at least the next two years. Again, at some point, of course, we will have to transition to the era beyond Arsène and that is not a sentimental connection that we have, that is a connection that is driven by what is best for the football club. I will say this, this is not just the club not being sentimental, this is Arsène not being sentimental either. Arsène would not make this commitment if he did not believe he could push this club forward. That is an assessment we continue to make as we move into the future, and who knows what the future holds.

On Arsenal’s ambition…

All of this [spending on and off the pitch] is driven towards the ambition of winning the Premier League. Does it mean you can win the Premier League every year? Of course nobody can guarantee that but that is the ambition. I think in football, the judgements are so black and white that often, if you don’t fire your manager, then you’re seen as being unambitious. I think that’s ludicrous. You don’t fire good people, you don’t fire people who are world-class, you don’t fire people who are driven to improve. What you do is work out how you can improve together and how you can move forward. That’s what this club is doing and we have a very clear ambition that we want to deliver it in.

His message to the fans…

Let’s get behind this team because they deserve our fans’ support. Together, we can achieve great things. Remember, the motto of this football club is ‘Victoria Concordia Crescit’, victory through harmony. We need to restore that harmony by getting behind the team to achieve success together. That’s where we have a chance.

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There’s loads more from Ivan…you can watch a video / read the transcript here. 

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