When I first heard the news, I thought it was a joke.
Wenger going to AC Milan….with Gazidis ?
The pair were barely on speaking terms towards the end of Wenger’s reign and could only manage brief acknowledgements that the other was breathing.
One can only imagine the pain of smiling and maintaining a dignified silence, whilst appearing to be polite. It must have been like the Womens institute inviting Donald Trump for tea and scones before he gives a talk on the positive role of the female species in society. Wakey, wakey !!
The main issue between them was that Gazidis wanted all the power to become the new David Dein and Wenger, who seemed to have total control of everything that went on in the club, was usually resistant to the CEO’s requests or ideas, in particular, a director of football.
As we all know, Wenger was a victim of results, especially away results and his two season extension was cut short by mutual agreement, which basically meant that Wenger was dismissed with the full backing of the board.
Gazidis accelerated his plans, the next manager would have control of the first team and very little else.
Wenger’s powers were dissolved and redistributed across a new exciting management infrastructure.
Everyone would answer to Gazidis in the Kingdom of Arsenal and in the absence of its owner.
It was a personal triumph for Gazidis but like a bizarre fairy tale, there was an unforeseen twist behind the scenes.
It appears, and this is only based on speculation and conversations, that another major change is coming.
Josh Kroenke, the owners son, will take up a full time position with the club within 18 months.
We can assume it’s one where he has nearly as much influence as his father and more than the CEO.
Suddenly, Gazidis had everything he wanted, only to lose it in favour of a family member.
It was quite predictable that Gazidis would leave and his connection to AC Milan was obvious due to his association with owners Paul and Gordon Singer but Wenger’s introduction into the proceedings was one of surprise.
Not because of the choice of club, AC Milan have an immense global following and although they have floundered in recent years, they are still regarded as a giant in football circles.
Wenger was never going to come back to the premier league after establishing such a lasting attachment to Arsenal and suggestions that he may even go to Manchester United in the event of Mourinho being sacked were even more implausible than him rejoining Gazidis.
One can only assume that he has been offered a huge financial package and the promise of huge transfer funds and if successful, Gazidis will bask in his own masterstroke.
I’m hoping that somewhere in Arsene’s heart, he does the right thing and leaves Gazidis at the altar, with the words “ it’s not you, it’s me “ whirling around his brain but it’s such a tempting proposition, a high profile club requiring a high profile manager, that the Frenchman may already have his pen poised inches above the contract.
Football it appears is a mistress where financial incentive can outweigh fundamental differences and lasting grudges but I may well be violently sick when I see pictures of them both schmoozing, followed by a press conference full of mutual admiration.
I have always admired Arsene Wenger, his philosophy’s and principles but I feel more than slightly uncomfortable at the prospect of these divorcees trying to rekindle a passion that never existed.
It’s like Professor Brian Cox striking up a romantic liaison with Katie Price or Donald Trump (him again) wearing a dress and sombrero, snuggling up to a Russian diplomat.
Unedifying and impossible to comprehend but hey, this is football. A sport where Jose Mourinho gets sacked by Chelsea, only to become
re employed, so that they could sack him again.
It’s a game where Sam Allardyce was disgraced on camera for trying to take money from a man in fancy dress, then loses the England managers job, doesn’t receive a ban and is re employed in the premier league as if he had stolen a sweet from a pensioners handbag.
You can never predict in football, perhaps Wenger will run into the arms of Gazidis, we’ll have to wait and see.
I’ll leave you with a good summation of these events with the lyrics of Stephen Sondheim.
Isn’t it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air,
Where are the clowns?
Don’t bother they’re here.