Archive for November 27th, 2008

Just one question: can Gazidis play defensive midfield?

1 comment November 27th, 2008

It is remarkable to think that David Dein left Arsenal as long ago as April 2007, and yet only yesterday was his replacement announced.  A long recruitment process that included rebuffed approaches for Nicky Hammond of Reading and Peter Lawwell of Celtic finally drew to a conclusion with the announcement that Ivan Gazidis will take up the position of CEO in January.

Here’s a bit more info about the South Africa-born former Oxford Blue:

  • Gazidis was part of the founding management team of the MLS, playing a key part in its creation as well as serving as Deputy Comissioner for fourteen years.
  • He should be fairly clued up on transfers and contract negotiations, having overseen the negotiation and administration of all centralised MLS contracts.  He is also one of the ten men FIFA have selected for their Dispute Resolution Chamber, which settles all International contractual disputes.
  • He has plenty of experience in marketing, having worked on promotional strategies for the Mexican Soccer Federation and the CONCACAF Gold Cup, aswell as helping to organise tours of America for Barcelona, Real Madrid, and the England national team.
  • He has acted as a spokesperson for the MLS on many occasions, and has a wealth of experience in dealing with the media.

I have to say that on paper it looks like an excellent appointment.  Gazidis may not have been first-choice, but it’s clear he’s a competent man with the required combination of football and business backgrounds.  With the MLS link being so strong, it’s not hard to imagine that new board member Stan Kroenke had something to do with Gazidis’s CV landing on the board-room’s oak table.

Whilst I’d envisage that the odd US tour is looking increasingly likely, Gazidis himself is quick to point out that this is no there is no ‘Americanisation’ taking place:

“This is not going to be an American coming in with no understanding of Arsenal looking to make it into a ‘Disneyfied’ version of Arsenal Football Club.  This is an Englishman who grew up with the game, has a deep understanding of Arsenal Football Club and is looking to provide modern sports business practices, but at the same time providing custodianship for the traditions of the club for the benefit of the entire club.”

It’s a similar rhetoric to what we heard from Kroenke when he was appointed to the board, and shows an appropriate level of deference and respect for the way in which the club has been run and will continue to run.

Gazidis begins work in earnest on January 1st, and hopefully it’s not just coincidence that a man so experienced in contractual matters arrives just as the transfer window opens.  With a signing or three urgently required, he’ll hopefully be put straight to work in helping Arsene snare his principal targets.  The arrival of Gazidis and the appointment of Fabregas solve two of the major components of the clubs recent ‘crisis’.  The biggest piece in that particular jigsaw remains the on-field issues, which can only be resolved with additions of the appropriate quality.  For now, we can but hope.  Meanwhile, click here to watch Gazidis’s first interview.

Football365 have exlusive details of a typical day in the life of William Gallas.  A very enjoyable read.

As you may have seen yesterday, there’s a fancy Cesc We Can wallpaper available for download.

Today eyes will inevitably begin to turn to Sunday’s clash with Chelsea.  Emmanuel Adebayor, Bacary Sagna and Samir Nasri are each thought to have a 50% chance of returning – we should hear some early news on that trio at some point this afternoon.

A demain, mes amis.

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