Some interesting quotes re Arsenal’s first new technical director, Edu Gaspar who has been given a massive task.
Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) president Rogerio Caboclo said: “Edu built a story inside the CBF, helped to elaborate a methodology of work and also leaves a winner,”.
An Arsenal statement said: “In his role as technical director, Edu will coordinate the work of our first-team coaching group, the academy and player scouting and recruitment in order to oversee the constant building up and efficient strengthening of our squad.”
Edu said: “Arsenal has always had a special place in my heart and I’m thrilled to be returning to this great club in this new role. We have a strong squad and some very talented young players with fantastic people at every level. I’m looking forward to helping make a difference.”
Edu played for Arsenal between 2001 and 2005, was part of the Invincibles team and went on to Valencia to play under Unai Emery in 2008.
Raul Sanllehi, Arsenal’s head of football describes the position: “The technical director has to bring the sporting philosophy of the club. The head coach is more the short-term position. The technical director has to safeguard the medium and the long-term vision of the club.
“That person needs to be in very close contact with the head coach, and have the total trust of the head coach, know the first team inside out, know what’s coming from the academy. In a particular position, if he knows a big talent is coming from the academy, he can already prepare the head coach and prepare that path.
“And also he needs to take care of the market, of the scouting. He needs to coordinate that and have the perfect knowledge. First team, weaknesses and strengths, what’s coming from the academy and what’s coming from the outside.”
The Telegraph reckons Edu’s reputation in the transfer market is strong, and his record at Corinthians was good. “Our idea is to be careful in the search for players,” Edu told Gazeta Esportiva in 2016.
“It is not a question of a player’s name but the characteristics that they bring.” The paper points out that signings of Renato Augusto, Gil, Jadson, Vagner Love, Fagner and Fabian Balbuena were all successful for the Brazilian side, who won two domestic league titles, the FIFA Club World Cup and the Copa Libertadores during Edu’s time as technical director.
It concludes: If Edu can help Arsenal to achieve Champions League football and increase financial firepower, and create a structure which will prevent Arsenal from ever again falling back into the cycle of mismanagement that defined the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign, it will be viewed as a job well done.
Meanwhile, it looks like Sanllehi, Emery and Edu are on the same page when it comes to promoting talent from the academy and youth teams. Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock have been promoted to the first-team this season, lowering the average age considerably.
And more youth to come, as the Guardian reports Arsenal will sign the St Etienne defender William Saliba for €30m (£27m) and loan him back to the French club for the 2019-20 season. The 18-year-old has agreed a five-year deal with only minor details before the transfer is concluded.
The linking of a compatriot of PEA, Mario Lemina triggers the Sun into a what- could-have-been piece if Wenger hadn’t been such a disastrous ditherer when it came to transfers. Southampton snapped him up for £18m two years ago – and now he’s valued around £30m.
Dave Fraser comes up with a list of the ones that got away following trials, meetings, offers and other botched attempts including: Mane, Buffon, Pique, Varane, Kante, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk.
Finally some realism and some pre-season match schedules feature heavily in some of today’ news outlets.
* 15 July v Colorado Rapids (Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Colorado)
* 17 July v Bayern Munich (Dignity Health Sports Park, Los Angeles)
* 20 July v Roma (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte)
* 23 July v Real Madrid (FedExField, Washington DC)
* 28 July v Olympique Lyonnais (H)
* 31 July v Angers (A)
* 4 August v Barcelona (A)
They are being televised on the Premier Sports 1 channel in the UK.