Welly welly welly. Wellington wellington wellington. Welbz Welbz Welbz. After much speculation and after the initial scoop by Arseblog on Monday evening, we had confirmation from the club that Ivan Gazidis will depart Arsenal for AC Milan from the end of October and despite the statement from Sir Chips that Ivan isn’t leaving only a couple of months back we find ourselves without the former Major League Soccer man from 1st November.
He takes a whopping £1million extra a year salary on top of his £2.6million a year plus bonus but of course for him, it’s not about money, nor about the opportunity to have a stake in Milan. Oh no, it’s about the ‘football project’.
So after nine years of standing by and watch Arsène take any football-related pelters, after nine years of commercial deals that are generally considered by those who know more than me as ‘about average’, after nine years of spin and line after line about how big Arsenal are going to be (think the ‘Bayern’ example he used), we finally manage to offload a CEO.
I wish I could be bang average for my job for a period of time and then net a 36% pay rise at the end of my tenure. Would certainly help pay for my expensive drinking habit.
As you can probably tell I’m not really that depressed that Gazidis leaves Arsenal and as Harry said on the LoveSport show we did last night, his legacy will be seen as a bit ‘meh’ and in two years time none of us will even give two thoughts to a guy who was supposed to come in with a big reputation, but in reality hasn’t delivered as much as that reputation suggested, in my opinion.
He joined Arsenal at a time when money was – and has continued to – swill around the Premier League and has seen revenues increase because of the environment around him rather than anything he has specifically masterminded.
He has overseen a period in which we’ve had limited success and whilst you can’t pin that on him in the main, again as Harry said last night he is a guy who’s tenure has been littered with high profile contract failures. As the figurehead of the business, as the man who was supposed to steer us in to a new era, he has seen an Arsenal decline and despite his comments yesterday, we find ourselves not in a better position commercially because of his efforts, but because of the natural evolution of English football and the Champions League.
Goodbye Ivan, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
He’s replaced – rather interestingly and tellingly if you ask me – by a ‘Managing Director’ in Vinai Venkatesham who will oversee football operations, and Raul Sanllehi, who will take care of the football side. Ol’ Vinny is, if you believe what some of the rumours say, a man who has overseen the Adidas deal and if that’s true and the numbers reported are right, it’ll be a nice start to his tenure and curry good favour with the fans if and when it’s announced.
From the footballing side it’s now clear who the main man is. Sanllehi will obviously be overseeing the acquisition side with Sven and Huss Famy, and they have a more difficult job to work with Unai to get us back to the top table. That starts now and the hope is that his connections around Europe and Sven’s eye for talent, can unearth the gems from the next level down of elite. Because let’s face it, we’re not picking up the MBappe’s of this world just yet.
It’s one less cook to spoil the broth from that perspective and you have to hope that the relationship that Sven, Raul and Unai have will go from strength to strength. The new team has time; nobody will expect miracles in January and so planning and objectives can be set now for next summer which, depending on how this season goes, could be big or MASSIVE.
I’m optimistic. I think it’s inevitable that at some stage Josh Kroenke gets involved but right now this feels like a decent structure and removes one of the old faces who was a chief ‘catalyst’ in the previous regime. Sure, Ivan managed to move Arsène on and secure a decent infrastructure, but for me he was another part of the problems we have and I am hopeful that we truly can ‘kick on’ now.
More will no doubt come out over the coming weeks but it’s Vorskla tomorrow and Everton on Sunday so from my perspective, it’ll be good to get back to talking to football instead of the boardroom.
Catch you all tomorrow.