Unai Emery has admitted he is uncertain whether Arsenal’s chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, will stay at the club amid reports he is set to take up a position with Milan.
Gazidis has been at Arsenal since January 2009 and played a pivotal role in reshaping the club, most notably by overseeing the departure of Arsène Wenger as manager and the installation of a team around him that includes Raul Sanllehi as head of football relations, Sven Mislintat as head of recruitment and Emery as head coach.
Arsenal released a statement from the chairman, Sir Chips Keswick, on Wednesday saying Gazidis remains fully committed to the club but reports in Italy continue to claim he is set to be appointed to a similar role at San Siro following the takeover of Milan by the US hedge fund Elliot Management.
“Every day we are doing meetings together, speaking about the Arsenal project, speaking about how we can improve, how we can work together and move forward as a club,” Emery said after Arsenal’s defeat against Atlético Madrid in their pre-season friendly here on Thursday. “Ivan, when I arrived, the first meeting was with him. He’s a very good person, a very good professional. He has lots of experience in the football world. I don’t know what he is going to do because I only speak with him on the Arsenal project.”
On the field Arsenal are battling to keep hold of Aaron Ramsey, who is into the final year of his contract. The Wales international said on Wednesday that talks are taking place with the club, who want to tie him down to a new long-term deal.
Emery is a fan of Ramsey’s and believes the 27-year-old midfielder will still be an Arsenal player when the transfer window shuts on 9 August.
“Football changes every day. I think about the match today first, then training tomorrow, the match on Saturday to continue our preparation,” the Spaniard said. “Aaron is an important player for us. The contract is one thing for the club and the player. For me, I want him to stay with us, to work with us, to give the team the big performances with his quality. I think he is going to stay here with us.”
Ramsey captained Arsenal against Atlético, with the match finishing 1-1 in normal time before the La Liga club won 3-1 on penalties. It is the second time the Welshman has captained the side in pre-season, after also wearing the armband in the win against Borehamwood this month.
Emery’s current plan is to have five Arsenal captains, with the players ranked in order of who is first-choice captain to the fifth option. The club’s previous captain, Per Mertesacker, retired in the summer so the position is vacant, and Emery believes Ramsey has the credentials to be a contender for one of the five roles on offer.
“This is not yet official, this decision,” Emery said. “I said to you I want five captains in the team. Aaron has the condition to be one of the captains.”
Despite Arsenal’s loss here there were positives for Emery, with the performance of Emile Smith Rowe a particular highlight. The 17-year-old scored his side’s only goal of the game.
“He is starting today because his performances are good in each training session,” said Emery.