Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis has admitted that the Arsenal board considered replacing Arsene Wenger last season before eventually backing the Frenchman with a two year contract.
Wenger oversaw one of his worst Premier League campaigns last season as the Gunners finished fifth and was under pressure for most of the season, with his contract unresolved.
However, the former Monaco manager led his side to the FA Cup title and signed a new year contract at the end of the season, something that was inevitable according to Gazidis.
Speaking to Sky Sports, as reported by the Daily Star, Gazidis said,
Arsenal News: Ivan Gazidis admits board considered replacing Arsene Wenger last season https://t.co/lAyliGh1hK— Simön Gaunt (@GoonerGaunty73) August 12, 2017
“When we thought about the key qualities, they were the experience, the gravitas for a club like this, a record of success in the game. Also we wanted someone who could represent our values as a club, what we stand for in the world of football and with our fans," he added.
However, Gazidis claims that Wenger's legacy at the club along with his style of football and willingness to promote youth players made him the best candidate for the job.
Not sure what I expected from an Ivan Gazidis interview, but it wasn’t that. Thought he spoke very well on Wenger + transfer market. #AFC— Stephen Long (@Stephen_Long) August 11, 2017
“We wanted someone who would play attacking, attractive football, that is a core part of this football club, and finally someone who would give young players a chance.
“If you look across the world of football this is a plum position, people want to be manager of Arsenal," Gazidis said.
“If you look across the world of football, you don’t find better candidates than Arsene Wenger. We kept coming back to Arsene.
Not a bad interview there with Gazidis. Disagree with reasons for keeping Wenger but agree with comments about money in football. #arsenal— Craig Emery (@CraigyEmery) August 11, 2017
“It wasn’t a decision made out of loyalty, but out of the qualities the club has and what we feel we need over the next two years to take this club forward,” he added.
Arsenal won the Community Shield last week and began their Premier League season last night with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Leicester City as they look to win their first title since 2004.