Some Thoughts on Ivan Gazidis’s Comments

By on January 8, 2010

Arsenal return to action tomorrow afternoon against Everton at the Emirates. With the Bolton match canceled, there hasn’t been much news in the last few days. What is the media’s reaction to slow Arsenal news cycles? Create another Cesc-to-Spain rumour? Correct!

This time, Pep Guardiola has allegedly delayed renewing his contract until he receives a commitment from the Barca brass that they will bring Fabregas to Camp Nou this summer. The headline reads, “Guardiola delivers Fabregas ultimatum,” but, in the article, a “source close to Guardiola” is quoted as saying, “There is no way that Guardiola will not sign a new contract.” So, where’s the supposed “ultimatum,” then?

Tapping-up is always completely obvious while at the same almost completely unprovable. The fact that FIFA and UEFA keep turning a blind eye to the actions of Barca and Madrid only emboldens them even more. Meanwhile, Arsenal and Chelsea are pilloried in the media, at the behest of football’s antichrist, Michel Platini, as child traffickers and kidnappers. All this while Barcelona sign 11 year-olds from other continents…

Ivan Gazidis made a few interesting and reassuring statements today. First, he stated that, despite the recent moving of shares, he doesn’t believe a takeover is imminent from Stan Kroenke or Red & White. Gazidis said he is “relaxed” regarding Arsene’s contract. He made no secret of the fact that the club is hoping Arsene will sign another extension next year as his current deal ends in June 2011.Speaking about the Boss and his contract status, Gazidis said:

It’s difficult for me to imagine anything other than Arsene leading the team forward with this young group of players. There’s a huge amount of ambition left in Arsene and a huge amount of vision and legacy that has yet to be achieved.

Hear Ivan Gazidis speaking on BBC 5 Live about the possibility of a takeover, the Cesc rumours, and trophies as a measurement of success.

Of course, it seems there will always now be that small yet vocal group of anti-Wenger Arsenal fans, but I believe most Gooners would like to see Arsene renew his contract for another 2-3 years.

The Boss has always said that it comes down to hunger for him-that he will retire when he feels his drive and hunger to win begin to subside. This is why Gazidis spoke about the “ambition left in Arsene.” Much like Alan Davies said on 606, I cannot envision a situation in which I would want to see Wenger leave the club. Now some may want to brand me as a blind supporter of Wenger, but that is not the case.

I often question individual decisions regarding tactics, selection, and, even, transfers. However, when I step back and look at the big picture, it is obvious that there is no way to replace the man, let alone find someone better. The Boss is, without doubt, one of the top three managers in the world and, if we let him go, nearly every other side in Europe would be willing to pay him double what we do to bring him to their club.

It is inevitable that when a manager is at a club for as long as Arsene has been at Arsenal that everything the club does will be bound up in the manager’s personality and philosophy. The man’s dedication to the club cannot be questioned. That is what cannot be replaced. But, as a relatively long-time Arsenal supporter, I am still amazed at the short-sighted nature of some of the club’s supporters.

I accepted this youth project as the best option for the club back in 2005-06 with the opening of the Emirates looming. And, as long as progress continues to be made, I don’t see what getting rid of the man would accomplish. We came damn close to winning the league in 2007-08 and, despite the ultimate disappointment of last season, we still saw significant developments on the pitch such as Cesc assuming the captain’s role, Gallas’s re-emergence, Alex Song’s development into the player he’s been this season, as well as the arrivals of Arshavin and Nasri.

If the club had finished out of the Champions League last season and was doing even worse this year, then there would legitimate questions to be asked about going forward. But the club’s progress, both on the pitch and off, is evident for all to see. Last year was necessary to blood new players into the side following the unexpected exits of two key midfielders. This year we are seeing the dividends.

But, most importantly, the future is right before us. I have no doubts in my mind that, if kept together, this team will dominate the Premier League and Europe in 2-3 years’ time. As long as the club is moving forward, I don’t see the sense in abandoning the manager and the players just as they are on the cusp of delivering something great to the club. That would merely make the last few trophy-less seasons a complete waste of time.

In blog news, there is an interesting little piece by 1979Gooner over at Another Arsenal Blog about the relationship between Arsenal and Barcelona. I would also encourage anyone who hasn’t yet checked out Alan Davies’ new Arsenal podcast, It’s Up For Grabs Now, to do so. You can subscribe to the RSS feed here. It may not be as informative as, say, Football Weekly, but it’s funny as hell and definitely worth your time.


  1. Pistolpete

    January 8, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    There have been saying 2-3 years for a while now. When do you say to yourself that this might not be working, and we new to buy one or tow star signings. The kids can learn from top class players to.

  2. chengiskhan

    January 8, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    You have only to look at the ages of the players to know that in 2-3 years most of the team will be near their prime playing age and will have had bags of experience in the EPL. They will truly dominate the domestic and European club scene. We are still a young team and so Wenger’s accomplishments under the club’s circumstances are truly commendable.

  3. gunner17

    January 8, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    pistolpete, you’re wrong mate.
    all the years we’ve waited for these kids to come good will make success taste all the sweeter when it comes. and it will come.

  4. Am

    January 8, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Agreed they did say 2-3 years a few times before, but consider that in those last 5 seasons Wenger had to loose: Henry, Hleb, Flamini, Lehmann, Gilberto, Rosicky, Van Persie and Eduardo (out injured for large parts of this period) then every time we loose a player we will be put back another 2/3 years.

    The key word is if this squad stays together.
    ie: If Fabrigas stays in the summer, we all good to start winning stuff.

    If he goes it will only be pushed back with Ramsay who is slightly less experienced.

    • ArsenalStation

      January 8, 2010 at 9:05 pm

      Wenger did not “have to lose” Gilberto or Lehmann. You try to make it sound like, due to money or the youth project, he was forced to sell Henry, Hleb, and Flamini. Henry was allowed to leave because he had earned the right to leave if he wished but also because he was beginning to hold back the younger players from developing by shouldering too much responsibility. Hleb and Flamini had their heads turned by so-called big foreign clubs and chose to leave.

      With the experience the youngsters have gotten over the last 3 years, it means that we don’t have to start from scratch if we lose a player, especially with the additions of Arshavin and Vermaelen, and Wenger’s buying younger players who are already well-developed like Nasri and Ramsey.

      In 2008-09, we lost 2 of our 4 midfielders, with a 3rd injured for the entire season. Many other teams would not have been able to make the CL after losing 3/4 of their midfield.

      • Lucky

        January 8, 2010 at 11:23 pm

        Don’t you ever lump Flamini with Hleb. They both didn’t have their heads turned by the big clubs as you say. Yes Hleb had his head turned and he has proved to be a total c**t for it but that was not the case with Flamini. We refused to pay Flamini the wages he deserved. We treated him like dogshite!

        We lost Flamini who walked straight into the team and he was followed by Diarra who bemoaned a break in his agreement and lack of 1st team oppourtunities. The season b4, Flamini even played at left back, where he proved how crucial a player he was. Imagine Flamini still here partnering Cesc? I’m sure we would have claimed one of the trophies we pathetically threw away the last few seasons. Hleb on the other hand went for an ice cream with agents the day before a massive game for Arsenal. That is the difference. Get it??

        • ArsenalStation

          January 8, 2010 at 11:51 pm

          That was not the case at all, Lucky. We offered Flamini a deal in the summer of 2007, before he showed himself to be one of the best DM’s in the PL. By December, we all realized his performances were not just temporary, but by then he was determined to listen to offers after January 1st. Also, let’s consider that Flamini knew the club had a wage structure and that he was asking for far more than Arsenal were willing to give to a player who had finally had 4 good months after 3 years. By the time, the end of the season came, the club could only afford to give one huge pay raise and decided that a) a DM would be easier to replace than a 30-goal scorer and b) Adebayor had proved to be more loyal than Flamini. In retrospect, we can all see that the club was wrong on both accounts, but at the time it was completely logical.

          Had Flamini stayed and turned in a similar performance last season, I believe the club would have rewarded him with close to what he was originally asking. But, just like Hleb, he thought he was bigger or beyond the club and belonged at so-called “big club.” And, just like Hleb, it didn’t work out quite as planned. However, unlike Hleb, he hasn’t been big enough yet to admit that leaving the Arsenal was a mistake.

          You sound as if you think I have something against Flamini. But that is absolutely not the case. I loved Flamini as a footballer even before the 2007-08 season for the same reason you state. He was a versatile player that could come on and get the job done no matter what position he was playing, much like Song, and I have great respect for that type of player. Getting the chance to win the DM spot ahead of Gilberto was his reward for that, but it wasn’t enough. He felt he needed to be among the highest paid players at the club. That is unfortunate and I wish Flamini had stayed, but at this point I feel just as confident with Song in that spot now as I did with Flamini in 2007-08. Flamini was missed last season but this season he is not. Even if he had stayed for last season, though, we were much farther than a better DM from winning the league.

  5. Arsenal fan101

    January 8, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Imagine if we moved into the emirates with an owner like Kronke or Usmanov already behind the team we would have had a fighting chance of keeping some of our big players which we had and also buying some very big names.

    It is obvious that the youth project although very very interesting (might work), would not have been Wengers plan to continue our domination of the prem.

    If he had serious monney he would have spent like his early days.

    • ArsenalStation

      January 8, 2010 at 9:08 pm

      You are presupposing that if, or when, Kroenke takes over the club that he will spend money like Usmanov has claimed he will. Kroenke is NOT a sugar-daddy. Don’t expect big money to be thrown around if he takes over the club because you will be disappointed. Besides, it’s not about having money to spend… Arsene had at least 25-30m to spend of the 40 we got for Toure and Adebayor, and he hasn’t spent it.

      Even in the early days, Wenger didn’t spend ridiculous amounts of money and when he did it it was funded by ridiculous sale prices of players like Anelka and Overmars. Besides, Arsene was burned a few times when he spent big money (i.e., Wiltord, Jeffers, etc…) in the early days and so has learned his lesson.

      • ArsenalStation

        January 9, 2010 at 11:24 pm

        Also, to say “if he had serious money” is misleading. He does have serious money. Part of the refinancing of the club’s stadium debt requires 70% of all money generated from player transfers be reinvested into the playing squad, according to the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust. Now, that does not mean the money goes simply on transfers… before you say he doesn’t spend big, consider that we have renegotiated and/or extended 15 first-team contracts in since May, each one involving pay rises, some being very significant raises.

  6. Anon

    January 8, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Good balanced article, mate.
    Echoes a lot of my thoughts.

  7. LB

    January 9, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Well-written. And I applaud you for being rational in the age of madness. Just look at Man U and Liverpool, buckling under the yoke of takeover debt. And guess what? Thay have no money to spend. We do! That’s success.

    • ArsenalStation

      January 9, 2010 at 8:57 am

      It’s funny you say that, LB. I was just commenting on something I read on F365 which completely placed United’s financial troubles at the feet of the Glazers. Now, of course, their putting the loans incurred in the buy-out on the club’s books, like at Liverpool, was the major source of debt. However, despite knowing his club’s increasingly precarious financial position, Ferguson continued to spend 40+m pounds every summer. Because, unlike Wenger, Ferguson seems to care only about his own personal legacy and not the future of the club after he leaves. He could have done something similar to what Wenger has done when Arsenal were forced to incur large debts due to the stadium. Wenger was willing to sacrifice his own personal reputation to secure a better future for the club, while Ferguson tried to use every last dime that could be squeezed out of the club before he retires. Now with financial reality slapping him in the face, I imagine he will retire at the end of next season and leave someone else to deal with the mess that both the Glazers and Ferguson created at United.

      And, of course, when this happens… our entire side will just be entering it’s prime.

  8. The New invincibles

    January 9, 2010 at 3:23 am

    Excellent article! I’m always glad to read rational articles written by fellow gooners cos I’m fed up with the ‘cup half empty’ mob. Well done sir!

    To butress your well made points I’d like to draw attention to the fact that we have actually now got strength in depth; we have GOOD QUALITY cover in most positions and just need to strengthen the strikers dept and maybe DM/CB. Just a bit of fine tuning required chaps…. No major overhaul!

    Oh.. And for the naysayers… why don’t u go support the spuds or the chavs! There you can partake in “throwing away baby with bathwater”.

    • ArsenalStation

      January 9, 2010 at 9:01 am

      I have been saying since the beginning of the season that we have more depth overall than Chelsea or United. I also firmly believe that we have the best midfield in the country.

  9. since55

    January 9, 2010 at 3:51 am

    Good article and agree with ArsenalStation re Flamini. Kroenke is not a sugar daddy, but despite IGs comments, I’m sure that he wants majority control and will gain this within the next year.

  10. ClockEndRider

    January 9, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Some of you continue to need a lesson in basic finance and, frankly, a reality check. There is absolutely no evidence that a new owner, either the preferred Kroenke or Usmanov would put a single penny into the club. In fact, the evidence from Usmanov’s own lips is that on taking over he would issue a dividend. For those of you not financially well versed, this means a payment per share to shareholders from company funds. As sole shareholder, this means cash out of the club to Usmanov. Hence, he would be taking money out of the club in order to balance his expenditure in purchasing the shares in the first place, not a penny of which went into the club.
    Secondly, you may have noticed recently that in common with other areas of the economy, football clubs generally are in dire straits. Portsmouth and West Ham are essentially looking at administration. Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City have posted huge losses. You may have noticed also that Arsenal buck this trend and last year posted profits of £35m. You may also have noticed that Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United have not been active in purchasing players. This is because in the case of the Scousers and the Mancs that the debt put onto the club in purchasing it has resulted in difficulties in maintaining repayments. In United’s case, this resulted in the sale of their best player with very little reinvested to make up for it. Even Abramovich has put his chequebook away. The lesson here is that you don’t hock the future to provide a better today. Conversely Arsenal have signed new contracts with 15 players the majority of whom are in their early twenties since May 2009 ensuring continuity of players and resale value if they are sold. Compare and contrast with Chelsea and Man U squads containing players who are at or past their peak (Fat Frank, Terry, Deco, Ballack, Carvalho, Ferreira, Giggs, Scholes, Neville, Ferdinand, Van der Sar) and who will have little or no resale value. Bear in mind also that these players will need to be replaced, which costs money. Perhaps when you understand this, you will see that throwing money at the problem only serves to appease the press and the gullible. The smart path is to develop a busines splan and deliver on it.
    Here endeth the lesson.

    • ArsenalStation

      January 9, 2010 at 8:49 am

      Spot on, CER. It also appears that UEFA are finally buckling down on clubs posting large losses and have said that clubs have until 2013 to turn it around, at which time clubs who are operating at huge losses will not be allowed to participate in UEFA competitions, i.e. the Champions League.

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