Ivan Gazidis leaves Arsenal for AC Milan

PUBLISHED: 10:58 18 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:19 18 September 2018

Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis with then manager Arsene Wenger at the Emirates. PA

Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis with then manager Arsene Wenger at the Emirates. PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Ivan Gazidis has left Arsenal to join AC Milan.

Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis with journalist Layth Yousif. CREDIT @basilisagoonerArsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis with journalist Layth Yousif. CREDIT @basilisagooner

Gazidis, who installed head coach Unai Emery at the club, had been agonising over the Serie A giants offer to quit the Emirates.

Gazidis remained tight-lipped about his Gunners future when interviewed by the Islington Gazette earlier this month but the club ended months of uncertainty around the Johannesburg-born former law graduate, who turned 54 the day before Arsenal beat Newcastle United 2-1 on Saturday, by annoucning his departure on Tuesday morning.

The Rossoneri have been taken over by US hedge fund Elliot Management after former owner Li Yonghong defaulted on a debt owed to the American business.

The company, which was founded in 1977 by Paul Singer, a Harvard graduate worth nearly $3 billion, has approximately $35bn in assets under its management.

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.

Singer who has been described as a ‘vulture’ capitalist as well as one of the smartest and toughest money managers in the cut-throat world of the hedge fund industry has prompted Milan to actively court Gazidis.

A City hedge fund source told the Islington Gazette that Gazidis – who is an associate of the powerful Singer – has been specifically headhunted by Elliot Management on behalf of the 74-year-old billionaire, who has admired his work at Arsenal.

The delay in Gazidis’ decision is said to have been due to the Arsenal bigwig seeking assurances from Singer and his company that they are willing to back the Italian club with hard cash in order for the Rossoneri to compete against Juventus and city rivals Inter.

The San Siro outfit are also prepared to hand Gazidis an extra £1 million a year on his £2.6m salary.

Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis is being courted by AC MilanArsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis is being courted by AC Milan

Gazidis will leave by the end of October and becomes chief executive at AC Milan on December 1.

He said: “For the last ten years I have been privileged to dedicate myself to this great club.

“Arsenal is entering a new chapter and I have done everything I can to ensure that it is strongly placed to take on that challenge.

“We have been building on the club’s progressive social values, leading the way on the women’s game, diversity and inclusion, and establishing the Arsenal Foundation. This will remain central to the club’s philosophy.

“Although it is very hard to do - the hardest decision of my life - I believe that, after ten years, it is the right time for me to step aside to allow new leadership, energy and ideas to take the club forward into this exciting new era.

“I believe in the positive force of change, both for me and for the club. I am excited to see what the future holds for this great club and I am energised by a new personal challenge with AC Milan.

Follow Arsenal reporter, former City specialist and MBA, Layth, on Twitter @laythy29

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