LONDON — Unai Emery is confident that Arsenal can cope with the departure of chief executive Ivan Gazidis, and said his outgoing boss has put the right people in place “to continue doing a good work.”
Arsenal confirmed on Tuesday that Gazidis will leave his post to take up the same job at AC Milan, less than four months after he led the process to hire Emery as Arsene Wenger’s successor.
His job will now be divided by head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham, who were both promoted into new roles.
And Emery he doesn’t expect his own situation to change much as a result.
“I know Ivan is giving us the best next people to take the responsibility to continue doing a good work,” Emery told a news conference on Wednesday.
“[Spending] three months with Ivan for me is very important and I know he’s a big person, a big professional person also. The relationship between us in three months is very close. And we spoke, and I’ll continue speaking [with him] a lot about football … and our responsibility. But this decision is a very private decision, and I respect it.”
Emery was speaking ahead of Thursday’s Europa League opener against Ukrainian side FC Vorskla, where summer signing Stephan Lichtsteiner is set to get his first start for the club. Lichtsteiner, like fellow newcomers Bernd Leno and Lucas Torreira, have had to settle for a place on the bench so far.
But the right-back, who joined on a free transfer from Juventus, is hoping to use Thursday’s game as was a way of proving to Emery he should play more.
“I’m not frustrated but of course I’m not used to being on the bench more than three times in a row. It’s also a new situation for me and I’m curious how I’ll manage it,” he said.
“I’m trying to start more and for that I have to work, that’s the only thing I can do in this moment, to show the coach that I’m ready to play.”
Bringing in Lichtsteiner, 34, was seen as an attempt by the club to add more leadership figures to the dressing room, but the Switzerland captain insisted that there were already plenty of leaders in place.
“I’ve already seen good personalities in this team,” he said. “I don’t see that, what they wrote or what they said [about a lack of leaders]. I think of course if you have experienced players in the team, it’s good for young players who can use you as an example of how to work.
“I don’t feel that there’s not a big personality in this team. I see a very good team with a lot of quality, a lot of good players and characters. I don’t see a problem.”