Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is entering his 20th season in charge of the Gunners, an unheard of number in today’s game.
His boss, chief executive Ivan Gazidis, says there’s no reason why that number can’t continue to increase.
“He’s been incredibly important for us,” Gazidis said to Singapore publication The Strait Times of the 65-year-old manager. “You never know but he’s in great health and he’s doing incredibly well. He’s full of energy and enthusiasm, his hunger is still there, and I’d never put an end-date on it.”
By far the most tenured manager in the English football league and one of the longest in the European game, Wenger is often knocked for his inability to win titles recently, having won three Premier League championships but none since 2004. Wenger has also never won a Champions League title. All these piling up have seen some fans start to rumble and grumble in recent months.
Despite this, Gazidis is fully behind his French manager. “We believe we have the right man in the club and we’re very pleased that he’s full of health and willing to carry us forward.”
He also said, while they aren’t on the financial level yet of teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona, the club is able to make significant moves. However, it’s the famous youth system that Gazidis is most proud of.
“We’re not able to compete at that [financial] level yet,” said the 50-year-old executive. “It’s true now we also have the ability to add some players [at] the top. But what’s more important to us is that we’re able to continue our [youth] development philosophy and then hold on to the players. That’s the most exciting story, that’s what the success of Arsenal is built on and is going to be built on. And if you look at all the most successful football clubs over time, they all have that at their heart.”
Wenger last year brought young players Francis Coquelin and Hector Bellerin into significant first-team duty, able to squeeze the best out of such inexperienced youngsters. However, the team still finished third, 12 points adrift of Chelsea at the top.