Date: 1st June 2017 at 12:20am
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Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis has explained the ambitions for the next two years under Arsene Wenger.

With it confirmed on Tuesday that Wenger would be remaining at the club following the signing of the new two year deal that sat on the table for much of the second half of the year, whilst Wenger didn’t meet with the press, neither did Gazidis, instead releasing the following interview with the in house Official Site to outline the ambitions for the year and it’s fair to say some fans will remain sceptical.

Explaining the thinking behind the reason to stick with our long serving manager.

‘I will start by stating what the ambition is. The ambition is to put this club in a position where we are winning the Premier League, where we are competing to win in Europe and pushing forward. Football is constantly evolving and we need to evolve and move forward and improve with that. That is the objective that the club has, that our owner has, that the board has and that I know Arsène has. Arsène is somebody I have worked with for over eight years now, and I know the quality of the man, I know the quality of him as a football person and I know the quality of him as a human being as well. Those values that he has, those qualities, are world class in every respect. His DNA is the same DNA as this club.’

Gazidis went on to add.

‘He is driven to move forward, he is driven to evolve and he is driven to achieve those objectives of winning for this club and making those fans proud. 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 – but when you look around and make that assessment, you don`t find any better candidates than Arsène Wenger.’

With it known the two year contract was there but unsigned and all the instability that caused – which Wenger pointed to himself – Gazidis went on to say that it wasn’t about contracts or negotiations, it was always what’s best for Arsenal and all parties took the decision to hold off until we were clear of the season.

‘That is a decision we wanted to think very deeply about: is this the right decision, both for Arsène and for the club, but above all for the club. That is the reason we have reached the decision we have, because I think on both sides there is a recommitment to the future and to moving the club forward, to evolving and to improving. We have the right person for that and I know Arsène is committed to that.’

Gazidis went on to say it wasn’t a ‘sentimental’ decision, nobody was looking backwards the focus was on looking forward clearly with aims and targets.

He also wouldn’t be drawn if two years would be Wenger’s full time in charge, he wouldn’t predict the future but obviously at some point we will look for a transition from Wenger to somebody new.

‘This is a two-year deal so we are looking at at least the next two years. Again, at some point of course we will have to transition to the era beyond Arsène and that is not a sentimental connection that we have, that is a connection that is driven by what is best for the football club. I will say this, this is not just the club not being sentimental, this is Arsène not being sentimental either. Arsène would not make this commitment if he did not believe he could push this club forward. That is an assessment we continue to make as we move into the future, and who knows what the future holds.’

So to those ambitions – top four is not enough.

‘I think that`s just absolutely not true. The objective is not just to finish in the top four. I know people will jump to that conclusion because we`ve done that so consistently for so long, but that`s not what where we`re moving to. If we think about where we finished last year, we finished in second place, invested over £100m in the transfer market, the biggest investment this club has ever made. It was made to push ourselves forward. There`s a lot of things happening under the surface that are not public. The new facilities we`re building, the new improvements we`re making all around our support staff, as well as on the field. All of this is driven towards the ambition of winning the Premier League. Does it mean you can win the Premier League every year? Of course nobody can guarantee that but that is the ambition.’

As for a message to the fans given the protests and unrest last season.

‘I would say that what we want to deliver is pride to our fans, the kind of pride that we had at Wembley Stadium this weekend. Those are magnificent moments that live in the memories and the history of the football club forever. To me, that feeling of unity that we had at Wembley, that support that we had from our fanbase, made a massive difference to that performance and the way the players were able to respond. We`ve had a tremendously strong end to the season where we`ve seen some of the divisions that we`ve had put on the side for the sake of the football club. Again, I would say let`s put the football club above everything else. Let`s get behind this team because they deserve our fans` support. Together, we can achieve great things. Remember, the motto of this football club is ‘Victoria Concordia Crescit`, victory through harmony. We need to restore that harmony by getting behind the team to achieve success together. That`s where we have a chance.’

He’s of course clearly aware the best way to end the criticism is for Arsenal to make a strong start to the new season.

‘We have to deliver performances to get the fans behind this team. We`re very conscious of that. It`s up to us to lead through the commitment we have on and off the pitch. We need to show that to the fans and we will. I`m convinced that our fanbase will put the football club at the top of their priorities and will get behind this team. Together, we are much, much stronger than we are when we are arguing and trying to prove who`s right and who`s wrong. Let`s get behind the team, let`s get behind the club. We`ve seen progression at this football club in the last few years and Arsène`s seen us through a very difficult period where financially we didn`t have the kind of capabilities that we have today. In the last three or four years, we`ve seen an era where we can sign players like Mesut Ozil or Alexis or Granit Xhaka and others. We`ve seen the club move forward and we`ve seen vast improvements across all our support operations underneath the surface as well. All of this had led to three FA Cups in four years. I don`t say that to say that`s our ultimate ambition and we`re satisfied and feeling self-satisfied about that, but I do think that the environment we`ve been in at times has been very difficult. Again, I would say that we can achieve a lot more together so let`s come together and push this team forward.’

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