Press conference

‘For all of us, having clarity sooner is better'

Ivan Gazidis spoke for 25 minutes in the press conference room at Emirates Stadium on the day the club announce that Arsene Wenger’s tenure was drawing to a close.

We’ve got the full transcript for you, and it continues here with the CEO’s comments about the process of choosing the boss’ successor, and why the decision was made now.

on how Wenger came to his decision…
I don’t want to get into the private conversations. I don’t think today is the day for that. I want to respect the privacy of the conversations that were had around the decision. Arsène will speak on Sunday, but from my part today, it’s really about paying tribute to a great man and talking about the club as we look forward.

on how difficult it will be to replace him…
We’re not going to find a replacement for Arsène Wenger. For a variety of reasons Arsène is an extraordinary manager and an extraordinary person. He came into the game 22 years ago, when the game was very different. It’s evolved in so many ways and Arsène has evolved with it. When we look forward, the football club is in a very different place to what it was 22 years ago. It’s unthinkable to me that we’re going to have another manager in the Premier League, let alone at Arsenal, who will be 22 years in tenure and have the run of consistent success that Arsène had over those years.

on if it will be a ‘clean break’…
Arsène will always have a place at the club. Today it’s too early to talk about what that might look like down the road. I think for today we’re dealing with the announcement that was made this morning and the immediate reaction to that.

on if Wenger will have a say in picking his successor…
We’re going to have a process around that. The process begins today but I want to keep that process in-house. I don’t want to be making public comments about it. We’ll go through a respectful process. In accordance with Arsenal values and our respect for this man, we haven’t had any discussions today regarding that. That process begins today. I’ve said I don’t underestimate the challenge of that. This club has to rise to the challenge. I’m confident we can do it. As you started by saying, and as I started by saying, you don’t find a replacement for Arsène Wenger, you find a new path forward.

on if Wenger will carry on as a manager…
He is somebody who is in great shape. He has a competitive edge in the same way he always had. But that’s really a question for him now.

on why it’s happened now…
I would say two things. One, that the Arsenal family could come together and express the affection and our gratitude to this great man. That meant providing an opportunity for that to happen. I think you’re going to see some fantastic atmospheres and a coming together of the Arsenal family in the three home games that we have remaining this season. Secondly, Arsène and the club need time to prepare. It’s going to be a condensed summer, with the World Cup right in the middle of it, a shortened transfer window. I think for all of us, having the clarity sooner is better. I think from the reaction at the training ground today, what I’ve felt is an incredible amount of passion, a coming together and urgency, a desire to give Arsène the send-off that he deserves. I’m convinced that our players and fans will get behind that very strongly for the remainder of the season with the goals that we have left.

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