Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis came out in support of the club's embattled manager Arsene Wenger today, speaking at the Sport Industry Breakfast Club in London, FIFA.com reports. The manager has been in charge of the North London club for 15 years and is in the midst of his toughest ever period at the club.
"Arsene is not a broken man." Gazidis said. "He did not suddenly become a bad manager or somebody who became out of touch with the game. It is complete nonsense.
"[Sacking him] is a route we are not going to go down. To see him portrayed as some kind of idiot is profoundly damaging, not to Arsenal or Arsene, but for the game."
Arsenal is in the midst of its worst start to a season in 58 years. It has one win in five league games and suffered setbacks to rivals Liverpool (a 2-0 home loss) and Manchester United (8-2 away). This, coupled with last season's disastrous run, has placed unprecedented pressure on the club and its beleaguered manager.
Some are calling for Wenger's firing. Others believe he should spend some of the club's sizeable revenue on experienced stars. For over a decade, Wenger has preferred to buy younger players and develop them into top performers. But more than six years have passed since the Gunners last won a trophy and many are calling for a change of strategy regarding player development and recruitment.
"The potential is very high but we have found self-inflicted ways not to achieve that full potential, and that is why he is deeply frustrated. If you look at the last six years when we haven't quite got over the line for a trophy, if we hadn't had the potential to do it.
"That is something we need to correct because the potential is there. That is the frustration I think Arsene is wrestling with but he is absolutely not broken. He is as focused on delivering success to this football club as he has ever been."
These sound more like words of encouragement rather than the dreaded, "vote of confidence," but things change quickly in the world of soccer. One or two more negative results for Arsenal could see Gazidis making a different kind of statement in the next month or two. See the video below for his statement.
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