Gazidis on success, and the clubs that have inspired football


Ivan Gazidis spoke to Sky Sports last night ahead of our 4-3 win over Leicester City.

The Arsenal chief executive was interviewed by Gary Neville about Arsene Wenger, which was stuff we’re heard before, but he was also asked about what success is for Arsenal for the new season.

“Success for Arsenal always has to be to compete,” he said. “That means first and foremost to compete in the Premier League. And that means to compete right at the top, to win the Premier League.

“We haven’t been close enough in recent years, and we want to close that gap. So the first thing is to recognise there is a gap between where we are and where we want to be, and to take steps.

“Some of it is in the transfer market, but there’s an awful lot of work as well this summer that’s gone on behind the scenes.

“We’re bringing through some really good young talent, and we’ve got reason to be optimistic and confident about the transfer market.”

Then Neville asked him about how Arsenal as a club look to cope with an ever more expensive transfer market, in the wake of Neymar’s move to PSG etc, and the man who just a few years ago spoke often about our ability to compete with the biggest clubs in Europe now seems to have reassessed our position in the pecking order.

“You know it’s almost a separate narrative now, the summer transfer window, you know where football matches are won and lost by the amount of money that’s spent,” said Gazidis.

“But one of the great things about the sport, one of the things we can all love and cherish about is that it still comes down to 11 players and what they do on the football pitch.

“I think a lot of the inspiration successful stories in football over the last few years have actually been clubs who aren’t the big money spenders.

“Leicester City, how they did what they did. Monaco, moving away from a big spending policy towards youth and producing one of the most exciting teams in Europe last year.

“Other stories, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Dortmund, Red Bull Leipzig – these clubs have been fantastic inspirations.

“And I do think in the end money certainly has its place in the sport, and I’m not saying it’s not important, but I do think if you’re imaginative, creative, if you’re progressive, if you have a vision, you can be successful in that world.”

So, forget ‘we can compete with Bayern Munich’, we’re now being asked to look at the greatest fluke in Premier League history as a model for us.

You can see his point – to an extent – with a couple of the other clubs, but Leicester? Pfffff.

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57 Comments on "Gazidis on success, and the clubs that have inspired football"

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Toure motors

If he likes Leicester so much I’d respectfully suggest that he fucks off there


This Cunt really should be a politician, always says the right things and never delivers on his promises.

Andy Mack

He’s the CEO, what else is he supposed to say?


Enough talk. Performances and trophies will determine our success.
Big improvements needed.


Come on, Leicester was hardly a fluke though, was it.

No serious injuries, virtually same team week in week out, and individuals that were exceptional and played as a proper team.

The way they ripped City apart, on their own turf, for example.

Tasmanian Jesus

Having no serious injuries and being able to play the same team every week, is a my opinion.


Exactly. We would’ve won the league two out of the last three seasons if we had no injuries.

DB\'s first touch

Agreed and the only thing that makes that more likely to happen is to have no European competition to worry about and to get knocked out of the domestic cups early…and that’s also not the model Arsenal want to emulate

Andy Mack

Whilst what you say is correct, they could only do that when they were very confident, which is the part the officials brought to their season. If the refs hadn’t agreed that Huth was OK playing by MMA rules and that Leicester weren’t allowed to have any penalties against them, then they wouldn’t have been so confident and would not have won the league.
The planets won’t line up that way for them over such a long period ever again.

DB\'s first touch

The refs also agreed to award them a penalty every time Varty took a dive in the box


Every time Gazidis speaks, a little hope inside me dies


He can discuss football in public? A rare event.


Should have been a politician.
Could talk for days without actually saying anything


By being “hopeful in the transfer market” does that mean we are getting a couple new additions and letting go of some deadwood?

I do genuinely think Gazidis wants success at Arsenal and has differed with Wenger and the board. But honestly despite being such a polished speaker, he does himself no favors with some of his statements.

Our whole club in general sometimes gives off the wrong impression. You’d think we’d know how to handle PR better by now. Arsenal has so much potential, huge stadium, excellent facilities, London location, great history, great manager, a good squad, we are in the top 6-7 clubs in the world in terms of our fan base, revenue, and value.

Yet I get a very strong feeling that we aren’t using all our muscle. Or at least that’s the impression that’s given off.


I love Arsene, but it grates me when I hear him say we can’t compete.
Similar wage bills
Similar revenues
Low manageable debt
2x multi billionaire owners with a combined net worth of over $24billion USD
Even if it’s true? I’d rather he just didn’t give out the message to he worlds that we can’t/won’t compete, it just doesn’t do us any favours.


Yes, but don’t forget we suffered a massive hit during the tumultuous years. There wasn’t any continuity formed after Arsenal and Arsene formed a formidable team. That and the fact that there’s been so many sugar daddy clubs ever since has made it very hard for us to mount a serious comeback. Look at how hard we’ve been made trying to offload players that’s deemed as deadwood.


Off topic for the best of reasons, Chelsea 0 – 3 Burnley!


Amazing game so far. Chelsea looks so far off the pace right now you would think they were playing Madrid


Liverpool fucked up as well. Happy days.


And City only managed a draw. 🙂


are you from the future bfollinprm?


Must have been referring to Swansea City.

Coquelin\'s 3rd leg

So we should be looking to also rans in lesser divisions to be our inspiration and model going forward?



The level of defeatism in his comments is mind-blowing. What a joke


Sadly he could have put sp*rs in that list too. Their moneyball system has done much better than ours.


. . . for one season.


We might’ve overtaken them on the last day in 2015, but there were only two teams in the title race that season – Leicester and Sp*rs. Those c*nts have more points than us over the last two seasons. It hurts, but those are the facts.


Gazidis on… eyes close “Zzzzzzzzzz zzzz”


Its not just Leicester.

His point (which you miss) is organic growth can be just as important as spending.

We’ve seen two of our best signings last season and this in Holding and Kolasinac, both free. BUT Bellerin and Iwobi have also been excellent.

We don’t rely on organic alone of course, we have spent on big ticket Lacazette being the latest and good value considering prices paid by other clubs for mediocrity.

We don’t need a “Director of Football” like Comolli and end up with an Andy Caroll with expensive fees.

I think you are missing the point terribly.

Danaery\'s pet dragon
Danaery\'s pet dragon

Choosing to miss the point…


Club’s that can and will spend more money than Arsenal on transfer fees and wages in the foreseeable future (feel free to correct):

Manchesters United and City
Real Madrid
Bayern Munich

Close competition for both:

People pointed to Leicester’s success (“a fluke”) as proof of Arsenal’s and Arsene’s failure, but with three of the top spending teams in the OK ahead of Arsenal, I view every season the team finished above fourth as punching above their weight. The only team to break through in the CL to win other than these big spenders has been Porto more than a decade ago. As the finances in the game has changed the gap to the top has only grown larger. It has far outstripped the increased revenue from the new stadium.

This is the reality: Arsenal is simply not one of the biggest clubs in financial terms. That big name players would consider coming here at all is partly down to the manager. His record in tune game and charisma are too often discounted by some of this club’s own supporters. Just look at the stature of Alexis and Ozil, and even Lacazette compared to Liverpool’s recruits. They were lucky to have Suarez and now they are going to lose Coutinho now he has made a name for himself. If we lose either or both of Alexis and Ozil it also will be for the same reasons we and Liverpool and Sp*rs habe done for 12 or so years now–the team can’t spend as much as its competition on the rest of the squad to better enable our world class players to compete for league and CL titles.

So, when Gazidis name-checks Liepzig, Leicester, Dortmund, et al. he is making the point that Arsenal has to do something else besides try to spent as much as the top echelon, because he knows _that_ ain’t happening, even though he may have thought once upon a time that Arsenal could close that gap or at least come close. I hope we all come to grips with that soon and let the team get on with it in a relatively supportive atmosphere.


Ya know, sometimes autocorrect is a real douche b.


Here’s another take: I don’t want someone telling me what point Gazidis was trying to make – it should be absolutely crystal f*cking clear what point our chief executive is making, or he doesn’t have one.

He’s been at the club since 2008 and now he wants to start talking about “organic growth”?

Look Ivan, don’t earmark Bayern Munich as our model then rock up in 2017 banging on about the “success” stories of RB Leipzig, a club who were in the German 3rd division a few seasons ago, or perennial relegation-candidates Leicester, or Sevilla because they won 3 three Europa League trophies in a row.

In terms of comparing us with Dortmund, Monaco and Atletico Madrid, they’ve employed some of the most tactically innovative young managers in Europe. They’ve also employed Technical Directors or Directors of Football so what Gazidis is saying is; we admire their level of “success” but stop short at actually employing their model. It underlines how farcical some of the rhetoric during the new contract announcement was. In his defence, Gazidis might be signaling that he (and other board members) wanted to move to that model, and got sidelined by Kroenke.

The main thing is we’ve just spent 20 years in the Champions League. Gazidis needs to slow down with the revisionism. He will never resonate with fans because he’s achieved nothing of note in nearly 10 years with the club and his version of bland, CEO-speak always needs to be re-interpreted and discussed, even though it’s devoid of real substance.

El Niño

Nailed it


Gary Neville is a pundit who has been chasten by his experience as a manager however short lived.

Unlike other know it all pundits, he actually talks sense and he put his momeny where his mouth is.

Its not as easy managing a club as some may think.

We are dealing with humans not widgets.

Statistics won’t help, it isn’t FIFA.

Andy Mack

He still talks bollocks MOST of the time, especially with Carragher, where they try to out-drivel each other (Carragher has a head start as he’s a fuck-wit as well as a cunt).


Stop talking mate

Aleksander Włodarz

we can forget about many things but playing an experimental back three in the opening match once again – yeah i know the reasons but still – makes Arsenal a bit seriousless


Not a word, but should be!

Andy Mack

Didn’t he give the interview before the game.
So probably not a wise idea to discuss the team due to play in a few hours time then…


We’re the in the top ten richest clubs in the world. I don’t think anyone will expects us to spend Neymar level money, but I don’t think consistent investment into the team is an unreasonable expectation. We’ve seen that for the last two seasons, but we need to keep that going for another 5 years at least. If we so that and spend what we have well, we’ll close the gap.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

That’s the bit people always get wrong.

We are in the top ten most valuable clubs in the world.

It doesn’t mean the same thing as richest.

We can’t spend buildings on players.

Original Paul

We could get a lodger?? 🙂

Tasmanian Jesus

I actually do think we can compare to Bayern when it comes to transfers.
They dont have the kind of silly money being spent these days either. Whats their most expensive buy?

The ones who are now jacking the prices and paying extremely silly money seems to be pretty much PSG, Man City, Man Utd…and maybe Chelsea.
And of course Real Madrid, when theres someone they want.
I hate Bayern as much as any Arsenal fan, but they wouldnt have paid what these other clubs have paid for Neymar, Lukaku, Pogba and etc.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

What Bayern Munich DO have is the absolute unchallenged Number One spot in the minds of all German players. They are THE German team to aspire to play for. If you want to play at the top club in Germany then you just have to be at Bayern. That makes it easier for them to attract the best German players, and managers.

In England Arsenal don’t have that. We were the Bank of England Club in the 1930s, but that was well and truly shafted by WWII. We’ve never been the top dog since, despite some short periods of success, United have held the top dog slot for a couple of decades, and still do. It gives them a distinct advantage over us in terms of pulling power. Obviously the massive money Chelsea and Citeh have been gifted have made them choice targets for footballers too. Our biggest asset in the player market is Arsene Wenger. They guy so many people want shot of.

I don’t care how big Arsenal fans think we are, its the world’s top players who matter when it comes to deciding who they want to play for. United have that top dog cachet to their name, Bayern have the same, we have to work harder than those or Real, Barca, PSG, Citeh, Chelsea, or Juventus do to attract top talent, and any of them can scupper any deal we may be planning if they choose to. Our more immediate rivals in the transfer market are indeed Sp*rs, Liverpool, the Milans, Atletico. and numerous other well known teams throughout the top leagues in Europe.

We do win the FA Cup a lot and that still means a lot in England, to my thinking, but its just a “nice thing” for the top players to win, not something that will cement their place as one of footballs “Greats”. Sadly we are just not viewed as an elite club by elite players.


Exactly. The elite tier is probably Real, Barca, Bayern, Juventus and maybe Athletico. Then close to them are teams like PSG, City, Chelsea and United because they pay so high wages. These are probably the first options for players who are world class or aspire to be.

Arsenal is in the second tier with teams like Dortmund, Liverpool, Napoli, Monaco, Sevilla, Spurs and maybe Roma who don’t have the same success in recent years or amount of money but still are traditional clubs that can at times challenge the best clubs. These clubs can’t expect to lure the best talents and must often focus on finding underrated players who could become world class or players who have been sitting on the bench of big clubs and hope to release their full potential.

I feel Wenger is one of the reasons we have succeeded to buy players like Lacazette, Alexis, Mustafi in recent times. We would need to win the PL or challenge for the CL for conscutive years to enter the highest tier.


Noticed now that I basically repeated the comment above…. well, seem to agree


You have to be the club you supported as a kid, or love the manager and the way he plays or be paid ridiculous wages. Two out of 3 for Arsene.


They buy the officials instead


This guy and Wenger. When can you tell they are lying? When their mouth is open.

David Hillier\'s luggage
David Hillier\'s luggage

RB Leipzig? Aren’t they just a low rent PSG/City/Chelsea who’ve just bought success?

Andy Mack

Whilst it’s true that Red Bull have invested in them, the numbers are tiny compared to the PL clubs. Probably more like a very successful Fulham but with less money than Al-Fayed spent…