Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis could be on his way out of the club this summer after informing the board that he was considering a move to AC Milan. According to the Telegraph, Gazidis is seriously considering joining the Rossoneri, leaving Arsenal to scramble around for his replacement. The Gunners are desperate to have an appointment lined up to ensure for a smooth transition, but they may go into the new season in uncertainty.
The timing could be better with the upcoming campaign less than two weeks away, but Gazidis leaving now is odd given the overhaul in staff he’s overseen. Arsene Wenger stepped down as manager this summer and was replaced by Unai Emery. Arsenal have made a number of backroom changes to the squad too, with Sven Mislintat joining as Head of Recruitment and Raul Sanllehi becoming the club’s Sporting Director.
Huss Fahmy joined as Arsenal’s chief negotiator while Darren Burgess will be the Head of High Performance. Per Mertesacker is Head of Academy and Freddie Ljungberg returned to manage the u23s. It’s the first time since the mid-90s that Arsenal will have a new head coach, so why wouldn’t Gazidis want to be part of that?
Milan’s summer project might be the reason, however. The Italian giants are strengthening the side for a push at the Serie A title this season and their lofty ambition may have convinced Gazidis to leave Arsenal. It will be a blow for the club given his years of hard work, but many fans might be happy to see the back of the 53-year-old.
He wasn’t the most popular at Arsenal but did finally deliver on his “catalyst for change” comments. Gazidis has welcomed in a post-Wenger era and has rebuilt the club in the last 12 months. Instead of the manager having such an influence, the role has changed to that of a head coach.
There is a team to work with who identify and sign players, in addition to a negotiator who focuses on the contracts of existing players. Gazidis could well be leaving before seeing how it all pans out at Arsenal. There is a lot of optimism ahead of the new season, partly down to his hard work in overseeing such a big change in staff, but clearly Milan made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Gazidis joined the Gunners as chief executive in 2009, succeeding former managing director Keith Edelman and acted as David Dein’s replacement. His legacy will be the outcome of Arsenal’s 2018/19 season.