Arsenal confirmed on Friday that Edu Gaspar had been appointed as their first-ever sporting director. Edu was already working for the club as a technical director, but his new role will see him taking on additional responsibility with the academy.
According to chief executive Vinai Venkatesham’s statement on the matter, the promotion simply “formalises his already growing influence over our academy operations”.
However, this doesn’t mean Per Mertesacker will no longer be working with the academy. Edu’s new position will have him work alongside Mertesacker, he isn’t replacing him.
“I’m delighted to have this new role which I see as an evolution and consolidation of the way we’ve been working,” Edu said.
“We are making good progress in all areas of our men’s, women’s, and academy and we are all excited about what can be achieved.
“I look forward to building on the hard work of so many people and helping all of us grow together and enjoy more success, and am thankful for the trust the club has put in me. We move forward together.”
James Benge points out that this is essentially as close to a contract extension as Arsenal could give Edu, given he’s a permanent member of staff and therefore doesn’t have a deal lasting until a certain date like a player would.
There had been recent talk of outside interest in Edu and Arsenal holding talks to ‘renew’ his contract, and this is clearly what that meant.
The Mail wrote that Edu is developing a reputation as one of the best football administrators around and he’s drawn interest from at least two European clubs.
That report followed claims from Fabrizio Romano that more than two European clubs were showing interest in Edu, discussing his name internally as a potential target for their clubs.
Edu was always reported to be happy and focused at Arsenal, and agreeing to take on this new position should be proof of that. Now he needs to work on player contract extensions and the club’s January transfer business!