Gazidis: I am dread­ing hunt for new Weng

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By JON WEST

ARSE­NAL big­wig Ivan Gazidis has re­vealed he is plan­ning for life with­out Arsene Wenger.

Wenger, who is 65 later this month, signed a new three-year deal in May.

And that gives Gun­ners chief ex­ec­u­tive Gazidis just enough time to make sure his club don’t go the same way as Manch­ester United.

The Red Devils plunged into medi­ocrity the mo­ment Sir Alex Fer­gu­son stepped down last year.

The Emi­rates faith­ful are des­per­ate to avoid a flop ap­point­ment like David Moyes – or one need­ing lu­di­crous amounts of cash like Louis van Gaal.

Gazidis said: “The big­gest chal­lenge we are go­ing to face as a club is the tran­si­tion from Arsene to the next man­ager.

“I don’t know when that’s go­ing to be, but we have to come through it strongly.

“So much of the at­ten­tion on a foot­ball club is around an has been so very frus­trat­ing not be­ing able to be where we want to th­ese last few years.

“But, un­like the sit­u­a­tion two or three years ago when we were re­ally fi­nan­cially chal­lenged and los­ing our top play­ers, we are now ty­ing our top play­ers to long-term deals – guys like Jack Wil­shere and Aaron Ram­sey.”

And Gazidis is des­per­ate for Arse­nal to join the world’s elite.

He added: “I wouldn’t be do­ing this job if I didn’t be­lieve we could com­pete at the very top level. I know Arsene feels ex­actly the same way.

“Where we are cur­rently is just off the shoul­der of the world’s top teams.

“The best teams in the world are in Europe. You think about the truly great names in world foot­ball – teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bay­ern Mu­nich.

“I don’t think we’re at that level yet, but that’s where we’re aim­ing to get to.

“It’s one thing to say that, but it’s another to be able to ac­tu­ally de­liver it.”

IV GOT A BIG PROB­LEM: Gazidis isn’t look­ing for­ward to re­plac­ing Wenger BIG MONEY BUYS: Arse­nal can now af­ford to splash out on play­ers like Ozil and Sanchez

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