Ivan Gazidis Leaves Arsenal for AC Milan

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: (2ndL) Departing Arsenal Chief Executive Officer Ivan Gazidis with his successors, (R) Head of Football Raul Sanllehi and (L) Managing Director Vinai Venkatesham. at London Colney on September 18, 2018 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

AC Milan and Arsenal have both confirmed that Ivan Gazidis will join the Rossoneri front office as their new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). His duties in this role will begin on December 1.

Ivan Gazidis Joins AC Milan From Arsenal

Elliott Management Corporation

Milan made splashes in the transfer window this summer, bringing in the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Mattia Caldara. Their main focus, however, was revamping a large portion of the higher power. Milan’s former owner, Li Yonghong, dealt with evident financial issues, allowing the club to fall into the hands of Elliott Management Corporation. Elliott has had a vision of restoring Milan to their former glory, and focused on reinstating the club’s “DNA.” An early move of theirs was to keep manager Gennaro Gattuso at the club. Gattuso is adored by Rossoneri faithful and his results last season proved he deserved more of a chance.

Elliott then brought in Leonardo Araujo as the club’s sporting director. As a former Milan player, in the past, he also served as the club’s technical director and manager. He infamously joined Inter Milan shortly after as their manager. This, at the time, was seen as an unforgivable sin by Milan fans. After his stint at Inter, he joined Paris Saint-Germain as their sporting director. He appointed Milan legend Carlo Ancelotti as the manager and lured Milan superstars Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to the club. Milan, in dire need of help, brought Leonardo back this past summer. Fans quickly forgave him as he swiftly and shrewdly brought Higuain and Caldara to the club as his first moves.

Elliott’s focus then changed to Paolo Maldini. Maldini, of course, is the most decorated player in Milan’s history and an icon in world football. It only made sense that he had to return eventually. He now serves as the sporting strategy and development director for the club.

Ivan Gazidis

Paolo Scaroni, Milan’s Executive Chairman, will now be handing over the CEO duties to Gazidis. According to AC Milan, “In hiring Mr Gazidis as CEO, AC Milan brings on board a world-class football executive with a track record of sporting and commercial success across the globe.”

Gazidis’s success is truly remarkable. Starting in 1994, he played a major role in the development of Major League Soccer (MLS). He was part of the original founding management team. Over the years he also assisted in the promotion of the Mexican Football Federation and the CONCACAF Gold Cup. His legacy for those three live on. The MLS is growing in popularity, the Mexican Football Federation has made strides in producing highly-respected football teams and the Gold Cup has become one of the premiere football tournaments in the Western hemisphere.

Due to his success, Arsenal brought in his services. He officially became the CEO of the club on January 1, 2009. Arsenal remained a mainstay in the Champions League for years to come. Although their momentum has slowed down the last couple of seasons, Gazidis did everything in his power to keep them relevant. A few notable transfers during his time at Arsenal include the arrivals of Alexis Sanchez, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Özil.

Effect on Milan

From Adriano Galliani to Massimo Mirabelli and so on, Milan’s front office has been a mess recently. First and foremost, Gazidis brings stability and reliability. He’s had long tenures in all his posts in football, something Milan has truly lacked. His track record also speaks for itself, so Milan will not have to necessarily bank on hope.

The team already has a solid base. Gattuso is emerging as a respected manager, while the youth system continues to spew out talent. The starting eleven is solid, and the team’s brand has the capability of attracting top players such as Higuain. With a more respected front office, things should only be on the rise.

Gazidis has not only proved that he has a knack for development but can maintain success too. Elliott is building something at Milan and Gazidis is the perfect fit to make the dream become a reality. Although his effect won’t truly be seen until next summer, Milan fans are excited to see experience and wisdom in the club’s hierarchy.

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