Arsene Wenger has dismissed Arsenal needing a major overhaul as “superficial” hot air.
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis told a Supporters’ Forum there needed to be a “catalyst for change” after the club’s disappointing results left them facing the prospect of missing out on the top four for the first time in Wenger’s 21 year reign.
Wenger is expected to sign a new two year contract but is under pressure to change his backroom staff, bring in a new coach and the club want to phase in a new director of football.
But Wenger reacted negatively to questions about Gazidis’ remarks and pointedly said “forums” were unimportant compared to the actual football on the pitch.
Arsenal boss Wenger said: “Football today is a lot of talks and talks and talks. But at the end of the day, good players on the pitch is more important than anything else.
“At the moment you have a lot of money and you spend a lot on things that are superficial but not really important.
“What is important is a good football team on the football pitch who play good football. All the rest is literature and we can debate, speak and organise forums.
“English football invested a lot in structures, creates many jobs but at the end of the day you have to see what is really efficient is the quality of the player on the football pitch, the guy who makes a good fight, is strong to fight. That matters. Let’s focus.
“I love the game, the difficulty of the game. All the rest I can live with. It’s only superficial talks that do not add anything to the beautiful game.”
Wenger’s dismissive remarks about the need for change will be a concern to Gazidis who is trying to drive change as he knows the manager wants to stay despite the club’s worrying slip backwards this season.
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Arsene Wenger speaks ahead of West Ham clash
Arsenal have been redeveloping the training ground, overhauling the Academy and have undertaken a drastic improvement of the medical and fitness set-up.
But there is also a push for Wenger to shake-up the scouting department – long serving Steve Rowley and Dick Law are both in the spotlight – and also his coaches with keeper coach Gerry Peyton under pressure while Boro Primorac has been linked with a move away.
It is unlikely that a director of football would be brought in immediately, more likely that it would be a gradual process over the two years of Wenger’s contract as Arsenal look towards succession planning.
When asked directly about working with a director of football, Wenger replied: “I don’t know. We play tomorrow against West Ham and we speak about 2025. For me what is important is West Ham tomorrow.”