Despite the fact that he now appears to be completely entrusted at AC Milan, Arsenal reportedly have no regrets over CEO Ivan Gazidis’ depature.
Today’s edition of il Corriere dello Sport (via MilanLive) explains that Gazidis has always been a number 2 or an assistant during his career. When he worked in Major League Soccer, he was “protected” by Sunil Gulati, and then at Arsenal he was below a board of key decision makers.
The South African executive was deputy commissioner of the MLS, promoting its expansion and increase in revenues through good commercial operations. That resulted in him joinin the Gunners in 2009, where American shareholder Stan Kroenke wanted him.
Gazidis has stayed at Arsenal for almost 10 years, a period in which they won three FA Cups and qualified for the Champions League eight times with a quarter-final being the best result in the competition.
The previous decade has been better with three Premier League title wins, four FA Cups, never finishing below fourth place in the league and appearing five times in the Champions League quarter-finals.
It must be said that Arsène Wenger was with the north London club not only as a manager, but he also had a big say in the transfer window, something which Gazidis had to live with. Unai Emery was chosen to succeed the Frenchman, who at Arsenal was unable to collect the desired results and was sacked after just over a year.
The situation regarding Sven Mislintat was an interesting one too. The former chief scout of Borussia Dortmund was brought in as a sporting director, but there was no harmony between he, Raul Sanllehi and Gazidis.
Gazidis has drawn criticism for the renewal of Mesut Ozil on a huge salary, but also for the Sanchez-Mkhitaryan swap deal and the purchase of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for about €80m.
He did better on the commercial level, raising revenues from £44m pounds (2010) to £117m (2017), but the same levels of growth will be hard given the lack of stadium ownership and the dwindling popularity of Serie A in general.