Report: Arsenal to hire former midfielder Edu as sporting director

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Arsenal looks set to bring back an old club favorite to fill a key front office opening.

According to reports out of Brazil, Arsenal are set to hire former midfielder Edu Gaspar, commonly referred to as Edu, as the team’s new sporting director. The position had been open since the departure of Sven Mislintat earlier this season. Edu is currently the technical coordinator for the Brazilian Men’s National Team, and reportedly in the past has worked as a sporting director for his boyhood club, Corinthians.

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Edu played four seasons at Arsenal, from 2001 through 2005, and played a key role in Arsenal’s Invincibles era, especially the undefeated 2003-2004 season.

On its face, the move is a smart one for Arsenal. The Gunners are desperate to return to its old glory and there’s nothing better than bringing in a person who understands what it means to play for the club. In addition, with Edu’s long career in England and Spain, he’s surely developed plenty of contacts that can help him in making new signings and scouting potential new stars.

Additionally, he still speaks English and along with Spanish from his time in Valencia and his native Portuguese, he can cover a large swath of potential talent.

On the down side, Edu has reportedly said he won’t take over at Arsenal until after the Copa America. The Copa America is scheduled to run from June 14 through July 7, meaning that Edu likely wouldn’t join Arsenal officially until after the transfer window would open, giving him precious few weeks to make signings this summer.

Additionally, Brazil is considered one of the favorites for the Copa America on home soil, and anything short of a title will be a disappointment. As such, there is plenty of pressure on him and the coaching staff to make sure they pick the right 23-man squad.

With Edu not joining until late, it could mean that Arsenal manager Unai Emery may have to make many early summer transfer moves on his own.