Some Thoughts on Ivan Gazidis’s Comments

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.