Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis believes “world class” Arsene Wenger remains the club’s best possible manager.
Gazidis has insisted that, even taking into account top candidates from around the world, there are none better than Wenger, whose new two-year contract was announced on Wednesday to end the debate over his future, a subject which had fiercely divided supporters.
The chief executive added that Arsenal’s targets are winning the Premier League and competing for European trophies, despite a campaign that saw the Gunners finish fifth and miss out on the Champions League.
Gazidis told Arsenal Player: “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 Arsene Wenger.
“The ambition is to put this club in a position where we are winning the Premier League, where we are competing to win in Europe and pushing forward.
“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.
“Football is constantly evolving and we need to evolve and move forward and improve with that. That is the objective that the club has, that our owner has, that the board has and that I know Arsene has.
“Arsene 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.”
49 – Under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal went a record 49 consecutive top-flight league games unbeaten from May 2003 to October 2004. Invincibles. pic.twitter.com/RwxIQ94lGU
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 31, 2017
Gazidis felt it was right for Wenger to take his time on deciding whether to stay on, despite the manager’s acknowledgement that the uncertainty had not helped the players.
He said: “That [the contract] is a decision we wanted to think very deeply about: is this the right decision, both for Arsene and for the club, but above all for the club.
“That is the reason we have reached the decision we have, because I think on both sides there is a recommitment to the future and to moving the club forward, to evolving and to improving. We have the right person for that and I know Arsene is committed to that.
“Looking forward this is not a sentimental decision, this is not a backwards-looking decision, this is all about looking forward. Arsene does not look backwards, and neither does this club. We are looking forward and we are confident about the future with Arsene.
“This is a two-year deal so we are looking at at least the next two years. Arsene 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.”
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