Getty Images

Edu named Arsenal’s first-ever technical director

Leave a comment

Edu is back at Arsenal.

The former Brazilian midfielder has been appointed as their first-ever technical director, as the restructuring behind-the-scenes continues in the post-Arsene Wenger era.

Speaking about his appointment, Edu is delighted to be heading back to north London and is flying out with the team for their preseason tour of the USA on Thursday.

“Arsenal has always had a special place in my heart and I’m thrilled to be returning to this great club in this new role,” Edu said. “We have a strong squad and some very talented young players with fantastic people at every level. I’m looking forward to helping make a difference.”

Edu, 41, has recently been working with the Brazilian national team and leaves them after they won their first Copa America title in 12 years on Sunday.

Arsenal say that Edu will “coordinate the work of our first team coaching group, the academy and player scouting and recruitment in order to oversee the constant building up and efficient strengthening of our squad.”

Arsenal have hired a soccer man to oversee all of the soccer facets of the club. This makes sense.

Following the departure of chief executive Ivan Gazidis to AC Milan, Raul Sanllehi has been in the head of football role and Edu’s arrival has long been rumored. Now it has happened he will be a key part in player recruitment and linking everything together alongside head coach Unai Emery.

As a player he spent five seasons with the Gunners, and was a key part of their “Invincibles” squad. Although he only made 79 Premier League appearances across those five campaigns, he was always a reliable central midfielder and kept the likes of Patrick Vieira on their toes. His spells at Valencia and Corinthians yielded more trophies and he won the 2004 Copa America and 2005 Confederations Cup with Brazil, but it is in his post-playing career where he has enjoyed plenty of success. He took over as Corinthians’ director of football in 2011 and oversaw the development of plenty of talented players, while he also worked with Iran’s squad at the 2014 World Cup and most recently the Selecao since 2016.

Buying the right type of players and having a clear plan for youngsters has been a real problem for Arsenal in recent years, but Emery has shown he has changed the Gunners’ playing style pretty quickly after his first season in charge. Now it is down to Edu to unearth some young gems from South America and elsewhere as Arsenal cannot compete with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Man United to sign superstar players for big money, as things stand.

Edu has to get creative, and fast, if Arsenal are going to return to not only the top four but also become genuine title contenders once again. The man from Brazil showed plenty of composure on the ball during his playing days at Arsenal. Now he has to take that poise to boardrooms across the globe on their behalf.

Report: Arsenal to hire former midfielder Edu as sporting director

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

[READ: Pochettino could leave Spurs if they win UCL]

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.