4th Place Not Good Enough – Gazidis
When Arsenal appointed Ivan Gazidis as Chief Executive Officer in January there were many who questioned what this South African born MLS trained executive could bring to Arsenal.
Gazidis jumped straight in at the deep end and was embroiled in contract talks with Walcott and van Persie as well as being heavily involved in negotiations to bring Arshavin to Arsenal.
The initial thoughts were the Gazidis was a Wenger “yes-man”. This myth was blown out of the water this week where Gazidis in a series of interviews dared to talk against the current strategy of Arsene and to state publicly for the first time that a 4th place finish was acceptable.
Gazidis stated, “I am not happy where we ended up.”
Furthermore, Gazidis even further and when pushed on transfers; he said that there was a need for experienced midfield players and centre backs. No other member of the board in the 11 years since Arsene was appointed has gone so far as Gazidis has; the board has been subservient to Wenger and his transfer dealings. We have for the first time a member of the board who is prepared to talk openly about our achievements (or lack of them) and to even go further and try to dictate transfer policy.
It is no surprise that Gazidis feels free to talk like this; his main ally on the board is Stan Kroenke who is busy buying more and more of the club every day. Kroenke is no fool and realises that Arsenal need to spend money on experienced players.
The battle lines have been drawn in the board-room, Kroenke and Gazidis are prepared to give Wenger the money he needs to strengthen the squad, whilst Hill-Wood and Fiszmann are more conservative and reluctant to release money especially with the massive debt hanging over the club.