By Chris Harris
Ivan Gazidis insists Arsène Wenger is not a "broken" man and has backed him to help the Club fulfil its potential.
Arsenal's Chief Executive attended the Sport Industry Breakfast Club on Tuesday morning and fielded questions on a range of issues from majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and the Club's self-sustainable business model to the recent tour of Asia.
Predictably the first team's below-par form in the Premier League cropped up and it was put to Gazidis that Wenger seemed "exhausted, haggard… and broken" by recent events on the field. The CEO's reply was unequivocal.
"He is not broken," said Gazidis. "That is one of these black and white portrayals - you are either flying high and everything is great or you are a broken failure.
"To see him portrayed, because he is responsible, as some kind of idiot is profoundly damaging, not to Arsenal and not to Arsène, but damaging for the game. We need to think about that.
"Arsène is frustrated, he shares the same frustration as we all do. The frustration of a lot of us in the Club, and a lot of our fans, is that the potential is very, very high. We have found ways, all self-inflicted ways, not to fulfil that full potential. That is what is deeply frustrating.
"If we were looking at the team over the last five years where we haven’t managed to get over the line with a trophy, that didn’t have the potential to do it, in a strange way we might be more accepting. But the potential is there and everyone can see it.
"Last year we played some of the best football in the Premier League and yet we self-destructed at key moments. We have seen that a few times this season again and that is something we have to correct.
"That is the frustration that Arsène is wrestling with, he is absolutely not broken. He is as focused on delivering success to this football club as he has ever been.
"Believe it or not, he didn’t become a bad manager or somebody who is out of touch with the game - it’s absolute nonsense based, I believe, on the need to create crisis and drama. I think we are all complicit in that because it is part of what fuels the success and the interest in the game."
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