Ivan Gazidis has dropped the biggest hint yet that this season could be Arsene Wenger's last as the Arsenal manager after making it clear that the legacy of the north London club is not defined by the French manager. The Gunners chief admitted that the club are in no hurry to sort the manager's future as they have always been clear on that front. He had earlier admitted that the club have a plan in place for when Wenger decides to end his tenure.
Wenger has admitted that he still has the passion to continue to work and chase wins and trophies, but is aware that his relationship with Arsenal will come to an end someday. But the Frenchman was non-committal with regards to his future plans despite coming to the end of his contract with the club.
Gazidis admits that the 66-year-old manager has transformed the club during his 20-year reign, but said that the values of Arsenal as a club were present before the Frenchman's arrival in north London.
"Arsenal is not Arsene Wenger. They're not one in the same thing. He's been clear and we've always been clear, that's a mutual decision as to how long he'll continue. Both need to be on the same page on that," Gazidis said while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Vatican conference for peace and sport, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
"In a football sense, he has transformed the club. But I think from a value standpoint, we've been doing work in our local community for 30 years, before Arsene Wenger came to the club," the CEO added.
Wenger was heavily linked with the England managerial post in the wake of Sam Allardyce's departure. The Arsenal boss had admitted that he could accept the offer if he is free one day and does not have club commitments, but has since retracted and now feels that the next Three Lions boss should be an Englishman.
"There has been no contact. There is nothing really to add. Personally I want England to do well," Wenger said, as quoted by ESPN FC.
"It is very important [that the manager is an Englishman], I have always said that,'' the Gunners boss added. "A country like England, with a huge football passion, and as well the structure of the national team, [it] looks to me [that it] demands a guy from your own nation as the leader.
"If you think that tomorrow you are the coach of France and you play against England, when the national anthem is played of England, you cannot sing it and you cannot sing as well the anthem of the team you are leading. It looks to me a bit strange. That is why I like what is logical. I think it is better [to have an Englishman]," he explained.
Gareth Southgate has been named interim boss for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia and the former Middlesbrough manager could be given the permanent job if his team impress in the coming months.