Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has defended the club’s decision to stand by Arsene Wenger, declaring: “You don’t fire world-class people”. Wenger’s new two-year contract at the Emirates was announced yesterday to bring to an end months of uncertainty, after a turbulent campaign.
For the first time in his 21 years at the club, Wenger failed to guide the Gunners into the Premier League’s top four, missing out on the Champions League despite winning nine of their last 10 games.
Their failure to challenge for the Premier League title that they last won in 2004 has led some supporters to call on Wenger to depart – despite winning the FA Cup final against Chelsea on Saturday. However, Gazidis insists that Wenger remains the best man for the job at the Emirates. “When you look at the world of football, and you think about the great candidates that there are – and there are many great coaching candidates in the world and Arsenal is a club that all of them would want to work for because of the things we represent in football,” said Gazidis.
“But when you look around and make that assessment, you don’t find any better candidates than Arsene Wenger.
“I think in football, the judgments are so black and white that often, if you don’t fire your manager, then you’re seen as being unambitious,” he added. “I think that’s ludicrous.”