Arsenal kingmaker Ivan Gazidis – the details behind Unai Emery’s appointment

PUBLISHED: 01:22 24 May 2018

Unai Emery - the new Arsenal coach at the Emirates. CREDIT: @laythy29

Unai Emery - the new Arsenal coach at the Emirates. CREDIT: @laythy29


Arsenal’s new head coach Unai Emery hit the ground running after being officially unveiled at the Emirates on Wednesday – which was unsurprising given how he had so impressed Ivan Gazidis and others during the interview process.

New Arsenal manager Unai Emery (right) with chief executive Ivan Gazidis on the pitch after a press conference at the Emirates Stadium, London.New Arsenal manager Unai Emery (right) with chief executive Ivan Gazidis on the pitch after a press conference at the Emirates Stadium, London.

The 46-year-old Basque had impressed after initially being in a long-list of eight candidates.

But during an exhaustive search, led by chief executive Ivan Gazidis, for a successor to previous manager Arsene Wenger, the former PSG and Sevilla boss shone through.

Speaking at the announcement of the new man, the influential Gazidis explained the club interviewed eight candidates and none of them withdrew.

He revealed the first interview was conducted on April 25 – only five days after the announcement that Wenger was to leave the North London giants.

Kingmaker Gazidis shared that the final interview was on May 15, 48 hours after the long-serving Frenchan’s emotional send-off during his final game at Huddersfield, while adding that he met Emery on May 10 as part of the recruitment process.

He also revealed his recommendation was made on May 18, supported by a 100 page dossier.

Emery hailed the “fantastic chemistry” he shared with Gazidis, Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi in their initial meetings about the head coach role.

He said: “They analysed me as a person and as a coach, and they thought I could be an option for this team. I have to say that, after a three-hour meeting, there was fantastic chemistry between us. To be honest, that chemistry came simply from the fact that it was Arsenal because they have a wonderful history.

“I hoped that there could be a new future for the club. The second meeting was with the chairman and owners. They are the heart of the club and they transmitted what the fans wanted. I really felt positive energy in terms of what they felt about Arsenal.”

The Spaniard and Gazidis then flew to Atlanta to meet ‘Silent’ Stan Kroenke and his son Josh.

They too were impressed by Emery’s passion and eye for detail as well as his playing style which he said would be high tempo pressing.

The pair led by Kroenke senior gave the seal of approval to Gazidis to hire the former Valencia boss – thereby commencing a new era at the North London giants.

Emery confirmed: “My third meeting was with the owner in Atlanta. Again there, we had a fantastic feeling in terms of the way we spoke to each other about the project. I think every step leading up to today has been very positive in terms of what I want after Spain and France, in terms of Arsenal, in terms of the challenge of coming to Arsenal.

“It’s something that makes me very proud and it’s a great opportunity for me to grow.

“All the meetings with the people, with Ivan, Raul and Sven, the first meeting, the most important thing to me was the connection.

“We spoke at this moment about how they want to work and how we have a responsibility at this club together.

“To know my ambition, to know my passion, to know how I want to improve this team in the project at Arsenal. It’s a big responsibility but I think this feeling is very important.”

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