Why would Ivan leave now?
He finally got what he wanted for some time, be the man at the helm at the Arsenal.
Arsène Wenger has been gently hushed out of the Club and a brand new structure has been built to make the Arsenal a modern, more continental Club.
Ivan Gazidis led the process to interview and hire a new Head of Recruitment, a (Non)Director of Football and a Contract Negotiator, effectively paving the way to a new Head Coach to come in and replace Arsène Wenger on a pure football-based role.
To shake up a big Club like the Arsenal requires a lot of determination and dedication and Ivan Gazidis surely deserves a lot of credit for handling the whole process in a very efficient way.
Ivan Gazidis is now the man under the spotlight, the catalyst for change we heard so much about.
No more of the same old Arsenal, no more of the same old Arsène Wenger and his stubbornness, no more of the well-known tactics, players’ recruitment, results and performances: the Arsenal enters a new era and Ivan Gazidis will be at the heart of it!
So why would Ivan leave now?
Italian media are unanimous in their reports, the South-African business man will be the next CEO at AC Milan, a Club that wasted tons of money in the past two years and spent a fortune on average players – a fortune that the former owner and board didn’t seem to possess, by the way.
AC Milan new owner, Paul Singer, has taken over and revolutionized the whole management, appointing Umberto Gandini as the new CEO and former Brazilian player Leonardo as Director of Football.
Where would Ivan Gazidis fit in here? Well, according to Italian outlets, AC Milan will have two CEOs, one more football-oriented (Gandini) and one more finance-oriented, Gazidis.
At AC Milan, Ivan Gazidis will be in charge of increasing the income, reduce the costs, make a profit of every single resource at the Club and help refunding a business that needs over 150 million euros to get back on track – according to well-informed Italian media.
Also, trustworthy rumors are that Paul Singer isn’t there to stay but only wants to make AC Milan more appealing for a future sale.
Basically, the Club currently is a mess and the current owner is only there to fix some structural issues before jumping the ship.
Again, why would Ivan leave now?
He’d get himself a hell of a challenge, a bit similar to the one he got during our transition from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium: sell expensive, buy cheap and try to restore AC Milan status among the top European Clubs.
In some ways, though, the challenge presents very few risks as it’s very difficult to imagine AC Milan falling further down after the horrendous “Mr. Li” tenure, so Ivan Gazidis will be hailed a hero if he could get the balance right and make AC Milan profitable again.
Does it sound any familiar? Ivan Gazidis at AC Milan will operate in the dark, behind closed doors, and leave all the football to his colleagues Umberto Gandini, Leonardo and the next head coach – who apparently won’t be Gennaro Gattuso.
Ivan Gazidis will start from scratches and leave the Arsenal behind him, a place he transformed very deeply in the past twelve months.
At this moment in time, the Arsenal Football Club is surrounded by enthusiasm and positivity: the new structure seems to work well, the recruitment of new players looks effective, Unai Emery seems the perfect coach and we are entering the new season with a lot of hopes and expectations.
Everything looks so perfect now around the Arsenal that any signing, any press conference, any training session is awesome and incredible.
I could barely hold my laughter at media reporting how Arsenal players were having DOUBLE SESSIONS during the off-season, like it wasn’t the case before.
Fact is, actual football hasn’t started yet and we all know how quickly things usually change once the first ball is kicked: shall things turn ugly – which I hope they won’t – being the man at the helm won’t be the most comfortable position for Ivan Gazidis, after years of Arsène Wenger taking all the blame.
Unai Emery will need time and support to see his ideas implemented in a new country and a new league and players like Stephan Lichtsteiner or Sokratis do not belong to the game-changer category (Lucas Torreira does, though), hence the Spaniard will surely find it difficult, at some point.
I don’t know about you but I don’t expect much about the new season, I only hope we will be in the mix to grab a Champions League spot and hopefully have a good run in the cups.
The question is: shall next season be a carbon-copy of last season in terms of league finish and cups run-ins, how will the fan base take it?
How long will the honeymoon last?
Shall fans get unrested, who will they blame?
Not Unai Emery, of course, as the head coach has just started his journey nor the newly-appointed Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehí.
They will blame the man at the helm, the catalyst for change.
I’m being very cynical here but this might be the perfect moment for Ivan Gazidis to jump the ship and keep his reputation immaculate: he built the “new” Arsenal, he put people in the right places to help the Club’s growth but won’t be held responsible in case the new tenure turns out to be a disaster.
Here’s why Ivan would leave now.
PS: Arsène Wenger is among the coaches being shortlisted to take over from Gennaro Gattuso.
I’d pay good money to see Ivan Gazidis face when he spots Arsène Wenger’s face in the dugout.
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.