By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger was surprised by the news of Keith Edelman's departure and does not know why he has decided to leave.

On Thursday, the Managing Director announced he was heading for "a fresh challenge" after eight successful years with Arsenal. He'll be retained by the Club for another 12 months in order to ease the handover to a new person but it was still an unexpected move.

"It was a surprise because he didn't inform me that he wanted to leave," said Wenger at Friday's press conference. "I don't know why he left. I haven't spoken to him."

Long-serving director Ken Friar will take over on a temporary basis but the Club are now actively pursuing a high-quality successor.

Mr Edelman's departure has prompted suggestions that Wenger might revive the idea of appointing a Director of Football. The position, which deals with contractual and playing matters, was first mooted when former vice-chairman David Dein left the Club a year ago.

"The Chief Executive does not need necessarily to be a football man," said Wenger. "The guy who works with me on the contracts needs to be a football man, to understand things. Whether we have a Director of Football separately, I don't know.

"Ken does both jobs now. As soon as the new guy comes in, Ken will do the other job again. At the moment we do it like that. But maybe the board has to think about restructuring.

"We had a good balance with Keith doing all the financial bits and administration, then Ken doing with me the football side.

"Do we reorganise the whole structure again? I don't know. It's the board who have to decide that."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
Richard Clarke 2 May 2008