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Gazidis: Arsene Is In Our DNA

Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis has lauded the work of Arsene Wenger and broadly hinted that the manager will be offered a new contract to take him beyond his current deal, which expires in 2014. In an interview with the Telegraph, Gazidis was effusive in his appraisal of Wenger and of the future for Arsenal.

"It`s not a sense of sentimentalism, not a reward for services, it`s a belief that we have an incredible manager who loves this club and is the best man to lead us forward," Gazidis said.

"We`re really confident about the direction that the club is heading. I feel he can keep going for a long time. He`s in fantastic shape and he`s as driven as he`s ever been and excited as ever.

"He played in some staff games recently. When you put him out on the football field, he is still fit, quick and a good footballer. It`s fantastic to see his endless enthusiasm. I really have learnt from Arsène and the players learn from him as well."

When pressed on an eventual successor, Gazidis was expansive, "As a club, we have to make sure that all of the things that Arsène has brought to the club are enshrined in our DNA to make sure that, when Arsène decides it`s time, we are in a position to take his ideas and work forward.

"The values that Arsène has brought to the club together with the values that the club had before Arsène are what will inform us and give us the framework as to who might take over from him in the longer term. He is written into our DNA."

The Gunners Chief Executive also hit back at critics of Arsenal who suggest they are happy to tread water in the top 4 money pool, 'We get accused of a lack of ambition or complacency because apparently the board are only interested in the top four. That is absolute rubbish. To me this is the most ambitious football club I know."

As is pretty much on par with the club line these days, Ivan was also quick to point out the positive effects of Financial Fair Play and the upcoming renewal of sponsorship deals which, he thinks, will propel the club further, 'In terms of the financial impact, it will be as significant a step forward as the stadium was in 2005," Gazidis said. "It does kick us into the top five clubs in the world with separation from the rest. The overall journey that the club embarked on was to make it one of the leading clubs in the world and to do it in a way that would be sustainable.'

"I think there is a perception that Michel Platini devised an evil plan in his bath to go after English football," Gazidis said.

"That`s just simply not the case. They are not rules coming down on high, they are actually rules the clubs themselves developed in conjunction with Uefa. We are seeing very serious discussions within the Premier League about introducing these regulations. It`s going to happen and it is happening faster than people realise."

All well and good, but the additional income is only good to us if we use it effectively. This October, Arsenal are going to announce their half yearly profits and a cash reserve of roughly £70m is going to show in the accounts.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday September 13 2012

Time: 8:11AM

Your Comments

One quote from Gazidis which was striking was “When you look at what Arsene has done, within the overall constraints, he has outperformed our spending every single year he has been manager. It is extraordinary.” Gazidis is confirming that the standard club line about "money being available to the manager" atleast between 2006-2009 was not really true. Wenger was pragmatic in his spending on established (but not at the time top) players when he arrived and he only changed tack when he dismantled the invincibles with the new stadium move in mind. With greater resources available to the manager from 2014, I would love to see Wenger use some of that money because it is stastically a fact that no manager is as efficient with his transfer spend as him. Despite some mistakes he has made along the way, I strongly support a new contract for AW.
Delta - the only thing is, as Arseblogger points out today, if we haven't won a trophy by 2014, that will be 10 years for Wenger without one and which other top club would that be accepted by? I understand the context, but if Wenger does outperform others when it comes to spend vs PL position, why not speculate to accumulate and spend some more money (that we have) so that we can nudge up from 3rd to 1st.
Thing is, I think the money has been and is available to AW. It's not gone anywhere, it all still shows in the accounts. I think it's pretty clear he's just chosen not to spend it. We've had constraints, we now only have constraints relatively speaking compared to infinitely resourced clubs. But we don't use what we have, so I'm not sure I'm convinced we're suddenly going to start when the coffers get even bigger. They're already pretty damn big.
Little Dutch
LD - i think that's right. Wenger will only spend on super quality (at the right price) and whether we have 20m or 100m in the bank won't change his opinion on whether it's available or worth pursuing. Perhaps it will help with rewarding our best players when it comes to renegotiating, but even then you can't see us competing with the wages of Man City (and nor should we). So the only thing our strategy really hinges on is FFP and the extent to which that's implemented. You know, I wonder how much we paid for Cazorla though. I have a feeling it was more than what's been mentioned in the press, coz it would be in Arsenal's interest for that to be perceived as not too high.
The money is there, that's a cast iron fact, you only need to look at the accounts that are published on the website. He just wants to balance the books every year so we don't get into debt, when he feels we can still get champions league football every year - although win nothing.
"He just wants to balance the books every year... - although win nothing." - do you genuinely believe that?
I think he'd definitely take top 4 for the next 5 years without a trophy, yes.
I also see Wenger as a man who has his views about just how much to pay for footballers, including wages and just chooses to stick to his beliefs, irrespective of what the others do. It is incredible at times that a man can willfully take the flak for the club's failings when he is certain to receive a favorable response from the board, should he make a demand for more money for a top player. Make of it what you like but I feel that takes some doing.
What has Wenger done to deserve a new contract? Why are people scared of change? This makes little sense to me.
I respect Arsene. But he has not proven to do anythign different or do anything to suggest that he can get us back to glory. Without that offereing him yet another new deal is pure madness.
The fact he has kept us in the top 4 under financial restrictions while the stadium debt is reduced is more than enough imo, others may beg to differ. the only 2 trophies really worth winning are the CL and PL and he can't be blamed for not wining either of those when our rivals have much much greater spending power and even then we've come close a few times. It will be a sad day when he retires. Our fans have become very spoilt under his tenure. It will become easier to compete in the future and I can see us winning trophies again if AW is allowed to continue in his job.
FA cup is definitely worth winning, as is the Carling Cup. But the FA Cup is a great competition, ridiculous to say it's not worth bothering with.
Wenger has done nothing. Absolutely nothing. to suggest that he can win trophies again at Arsenal. How can you determine whether PL and CL are the only trophies worth winning? Perhaps other fans (like me) beg to differ. We have a group of unhappy players who have nothing to show for their years at Arsenal and leaving in droves.
So wait, how far away from 'success' are we, then? Is being much better than Chelsea last year - that team that completely fluked the CL in the worst way possible (really, they should be ashamed!) - failure? Is losing the carling cup to Birmingham complete failure? if we'd won that game, is Wenger the most successful manager in our history, and because we didn't win it he's not worth having?
Whatever way you cut it it's failure to win a trophy, why are you just using one season as an example? Chelsea won the FA cup last season as well, they've had a far more successful few years than us. We've been more successful for a longer time though.
So we've been successful for a longer time than Chelsea; is that the same as 'more successful'? Call it even?
Wenger has NOTHING to prove that he can get us back to successful and glory days again. End of story. DT
Sajit, how blinkered - why not question him constructively when he don't win anything year on year? Is he completely beyond challenge then? Like a dictator perhaps? Or like Brian Clough? Damiano, yeah sure, why not.
Sajit - i've read your post above your previous one, either I misread your last one, or it's saying he doesn't need to prove anything again, either way, apologies ;)
shewore - heh..Im sure the AKB will come up with excuses but Im saying Wenger has done nothing to convince me that persisting with him will change anything at Arsenal. If all the AKBs want is 4th place fine.. but I nd a better ROI for the $700 odd I spend every year on Arsenal related expenses.
Wenger has been very pragmatic in his responses; he will consider his age and performance to determine if he should call time on his stay. He has not made himself out as an "unmoveable" dictator type, rather he has shown he is an Arsenal man with the best possible for the club at heart. Reading between the lines, I dare to suggest he is prepared to hand over to an insider (change from within- say Steve Bould) rather than the club hiring a big coach from outside the club. That will be the correct thing as I am not sure the club has much need to rock the boat.
Sajit, you have just said the same thing three times but that doesnt make it a fact. The competition for the PL and the CL is higher than ever but we have been close to trophies in the last 6 years on multiple occasions - in 2006 in Paris (in a game I was unfortunate enough to experience in person) we were 14 minutes from winning the CL with 10 men against Barcelona. In 2007-2008 a magnificent young team led the league till February till Eduardo's injury derailed them and they finished 4 points off the top of the table not to mention the two milk cup finals in detail because its not very significant in this discussion. In any case, who would you have as Arsenal manager? Any ideas?
Okay, maybe it's a bit to much to say the FA cup and carling cup aren't bothering with. With our squad size we have to prioritise, and finishing in the top 4 is more important than winning either of those 2 trophies imo. I think most clubs would prefer to finish in the top 4 and play CL football rather than win the FA cup and play in the europa. We need the CL money to stay financially strong. Of course he has made mistakes, which manager hasn't. I don't think there is any manager out there who would have done any better than him under the restrictions he has had to work with. Who would we replace him with that could do a better job? AW has spent big on players and brought us trophies when there was more of a level playing field. Even in those day Man Utd. had bigger spending power than us but it's not as difficult as it is now with Chelsea and Citeh and their botttomless pit of money. If we've managed to stay close to the top clubs in tough times, surely there is a great chance he will be able to get us trophies now thing are going to get easier again.
Sajit surely AKB is a term better used on other illustrious and highly balanced 'Arsenal' blogs! Also didn't know that supporters expected a ROI on their 'investment' in following the club - imagine the day when our magnificent away fans start demanding a ROI on their far greater than $ 700 spending on following the club.
Thats my personal opinion Deltaforce..based on my income and how much I can afford to spend. It may be a pittance for you, but not for me. I can point out to you so many fans who have been priced out of following Arsenal every week. So those guys arent real fans anymore? Ridiculous argument.
DF - I could easily name 10 managers out there who could do a better job than Wenger (starting with Klopp) but I dare not. Coz we have TGMTEL at Arsenal.
LOL, Gazidis really did say DNA.. LOL.
I'm not asking you to change your opinion Sajit, just asking for the rationale (if any) behind the opinion. Also, I am not saying that what you spend on the club is a pittance (you are putting words in my mouth). What I'm saying is supporters cant expect a ROI on what they spend on the club.
What makes you think Klopp would do a better job than Wenger? PL is much more competitive than the Bundesliga or any other league. AVB had an amazing record at Porto, Chelsea spent a lot of money to bring him to their club and look how that turned out. In fact Chelsea and Spuds have hired numerous foreign managers between them that had great records in other leagues but have flopped in the premier league. Sure it's possible Klopp may do a better job but it's far from guaranteed. Anyone could list 10 managers without any explanation as to why they would do better than Wenger.
Ok so are you convinced that Wenger has done everything in his power to win things at Arsenal? Or has he used it only to keep Arsenal in the race for top 4? That is where I beg to differ. I am not convinced that he has used all his resources to win stuff. He is much happier balancing books and qualifying for Champions League. Of course he wont say anything to the contrary - but the records speak for themselves.
Yes I think Wenger always tries his best for the club. The guy loves Arsenal and lives and breathes football. I don't think there is a more knowledgeable manager out there. If he was motivated by money and easy trophies he would have moved to Real Madrid many years ago when they wanted him. I don't think you appreciate how difficult and complicated his job is.
I agree that I shouldnt expect a ROI because there is an intangible element of love and loyalty to the club. But Im angry and frustrated that the club, while using the money it gets from its fans is not doing everything it can to win sliverware. Im angry that the past 5-6 years have seen lifelong gooners unable to afford season tickets. I cannot expect an ROI but I have the right to question and criticize when I feel that money I put in (as well as other supporters) which indirectly pays for Wenger's wages is not being put to use fully.
Of course he would prefer to win the leasgue rather than just top 4, but finishing top 4 every season is still a great achievement. We can't afford the best players so he has done very well with what he has to work with. You just have to see how upset he gets when we drop points or lose games to realize how passionate and ambitous he is. He has got a reputation as a bad loser because of it. If he wasn't bothered and wanted an easy stress free job he wouldn't still be managing the club. All fans get frustrated at bad results and get angry at the manager but when you look at the bigger picture you have to say he has done an excellent job and is worth every penny that we pay him.
I agree that Wenger has not used all the financial resources at his disposal from 2010 onwards when our cash reserves have been quite healthy even budgeting for the stadium mortgage payments. To me the primary reason AW does not spend all the financial resources available to him is that he targets only a few players every summer transfer window or winter transfer window (barring a crisis like last summer). The players he targets fit the manager's criteria of an Arsenal player. However, if those players are not available for whatever reason, AW prefers to promote from within than buy a player he does not rate sufficiently. There is a case to be made about having a broader list of players as targets for every position that needs to be strengthened but the way we play demands a special skill set. This new 4th team under the manager gives me more hope than the 3rd team thats for sure! It seems moe mature, stable and strong. There are signs of the manager being more pragmatic like when he first arrived and while we can park the issue of his new contract for later, I'd be happy to support him for the two years that remain on his contract.
I have to say I do regard the "who would you replace AW with?" argument slightly null and void because, chances are, none of us would have opted for Arsene Wenger ourselves in the summer of 96. But of course the club should only ever replace a manager unless they have good reason to believe their replacement is better.
Little Dutch
One needs only look at his record of signings when the playing field was more level and the exciting players he has shown interest in, right before the clubs with moneybags pick up the scent and move in: Mata, Hazard, Ozil, Balotelli, Yaya, etc. and even many more he has expressed interest in with the clubs not playing ball, including Mario Goetze. One thing he has done well is having a laser beam focus on his man till he gets him, whenever he has really intended to get a good player for a bargain (of course). It is not as if one is insisting Arsene Knows all, but I still think he is the best man for the job, for the transitional period the club is in. He will leave when the time is right and not until we have won some significant trophies, hopefully.
Thats a good argument LD but on the flipside, information on managers around the world is more readily available to clubs, journalists and fans today than back then. In 1996, the choice of Arsene Wenger was an immensely far sighted and offbeat one but now, a manager of Wenger's qualifications (before he joined Arsenal) would be noted far more in the English and world media as a Ligue 1 winning manager.
All I have to say is look at Liverpool! Once you start to panic about not winning trophies for too long and just "hanging in" the top four you start spending 35m on Andy Carrol, Downing, Henderson etc. just for the sake of it and hiring whatever manager applies for the job (or just phoning up a drunkard on a cruise ship to come take over your club) just for the sake of change. Where are they now? Still hanging in the top 4? I don't think so! We're still up there and as long as we're still up there we'll have a chance of winning something every season and that's all you can ask for as a football fan. Wenger is the man!
Liverpool and Newcastle are kind of worst case scenarios, but that doesn't mean it's the only possible outcome. Newcastle sacked Hughton to some consternation and Pardew has proved to be better. Would City have won the league with Mark Hughes, who didn't do a terrible job at City? You have to look at it both ways.
Little Dutch
While the examples of City and Newcastle are pertinent, Arsenal's case is more like United's - a manager whose willpower, style of management, philosophy and ethos runs through the fabric of the club. Replacing a manager with this level of impact on the club is more difficult than normal. I understand completely why many fans think we wont challenge under AW ever again with the chief reason being that AW loves to tie one hand behind his back by choice! If on his current net transfer spend profit he is 3rd, mathematical extrapolation would seem to suggest that AW can do better if he spent 10-20 million more but then he is a stubborn man about the players that can play for the club. May be in a minority here but I'm going to wager that the club will challenge for the title again under the manager.
I think we'll challenge, i'm just hoping we have what it takes to win the damn thing.
It is no coincidence that the trophys have dried up since the new stadium. We have been treading water in this new era of steroid clubs, added to our own stadium.....wenger may not have lifted a cup in the last few years, but the legacy he will leave this club with is worth more then a quick fix trophy win from a new manager.....spunking money like its going out of fashion. Unfortunately sajit......some arsenal fans will only realise wengers real importance after he has left. To me the man is a genius, and to say he is not interested in winning is a serious insult to the fella, he is probably the worse loser in the prem. He has famously said that a good loser in this job won't get very far.....he breathes football and arsenal. His mission in life is to make arsenal football club the best in the world, on and off the field. I feel he is a man ahead of his time when in this era the press feed off of managers that pay 80 million pounds for a player and slate a manager as a skin flint who doesn't. Rangers must be kicking themselves they never signed wenger all those years ago. There is much to be said about winning silverware, but I don't want that at all costs. I want my kids and kids kids to be able to go and support the club I have all my life.....not some spin off club from a once powerhouse that was brought to its knees by the disease of instant success. Rant over.
Quite a balanced debate this one for which much applause is due. The argument against seems to be that someone other than Wenger would have spent more money but overlooks the fact that they wouldn't have had the money to spend if they hadn't first been able to make it. The other part of that argument is that if we had spent just a little bit more that we would have been more successful but that neglects the fact that we are currently the fourth biggest spenders on player budgets and if we had spent our entire cash reserves over the last 5 years we would still have been only the 4th biggest spenders in that period. Spending another £10 or £20m a year on transfers would have changed little.

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