Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis to depart the Gunners
The majority of Arsenal fans will likely be happy to see the back of Gazidis | Photo: DSanchez17 - Flickr.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis to depart the Gunners

Gazidis will leave to join AC Milan next month.

Matt Dawson

Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis has announced that he is to resign from his position at the end of October.

The confirmation from the Gunners ends a period of speculation surrounding Gazidis' future who will now join Italian giants AC Milan.

In his place, current head of football, Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham, chief commercial officer, will take over.

Gazidis seeks his own change

In the past, Gazidis spoke of a 'catalyst for change' within Arsenal. This is something that has been slowly unveiling itself in the past 12 months with numerous staff changes at the top end of the club.

Amongst them were head of recruitment Sven Mislintat and indeed Sanllehi who was previously director of football at Barcelona.

However, the main change was Arsene Wenger. There had been a feeling for a while that Gazidis wanted the Frenchman gone which leaves his decision to depart the football club a strange one.

The timing is incredibly bizarre that as soon as he gains more power he leaves, but perhaps Gazidis himself was also a part of the great change he's spoken about so much.

Despite the weird circumstances and time in which he walks away from North London, he does leave the Gunners in a fairly strong position.

Arsenal already have their replacements ready to take over, they have a new manager and there is finally an element of progression.

It's ironic, therefore, that Gazidis leaves with the club appearing to be the most ambitious that it's been since he arrived in 2009.

Since then, he has directed the club through rather troubling times, without much sign of progression.

Gazidis was meanwhile one of the key names at the forefront in bringing Unai Emery to Arsenal. It's odd to think that he won't be around to see through a project that he started. 

Gazidis himself acknowledged the awkward timing of the announcement: "I know many will think this is a strange time to be leaving but I believe it is the right time for me and for the club. Change and succession is not only inevitable for a club like Arsenal, it is necessary if it is continually to keep moving forward."

Sentimental words don't cloud over unsuccessful period

At the top of Gazidis' message to the fans, it read: "For the last 10 years I have been privileged to dedicate myself to this great club. Arsenal is entering a new chapter and I have done everything I can to ensure that it is strongly placed to take on that challenge."

Gazidis commitment to the club has been questionable, things haven't progressed as much as Arsenal fans and even he probably would have liked, ultimately leading to a relationship with supporters which has been far from cordial. 

However, he isn't wrong about setting Arsenal up in a strong position. He's brought in new faces and for the first time in a long period it does feel like the Gunners are progressing.

"We lived through many emotions together, the highs and the lows of football, and I am proud to be able to say that I gave this club and its fantastic people everything that I had in me." Gazidis added.

He isn't incorrect either about the sheer number of emotions Arsenal fans have been through in the last decade. Unlike David Dein, who was at the club through the good times, it is difficult to see what Gazidis' legacy will be.

He issued a host of proud thought words on the club's official website, but they will do little to earn many thanks from Gunners around the world.

All in all, there has been a transition, but it has been too little too late. Gazidis, among others, have led Arsenal on a downward spiral. Perhaps with him departing, the real change can start now.