Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis says the research Unai Emery had done on the club’s young talent was one of the reasons for his appointment as the club’s new head coach.
Emery replaces Arsene Wenger, whose near 22-year stay at the club ended with a second successive finish outside the Premier League’s top four.
The former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla coach beat out competition from seven other shortlisted candidates to earn the chance to take over from the departed Frenchman.
And Gazidis feels the depth of knowledge displayed by Emery during the interview process means the Spaniard earned the right to lead the Gunners.
“What was really impressive was when you scratched the surface to go deeper and deeper and deeper,” Gazidis told the Arsenal website.
“If we were speaking about one of our young players, if we targeted Ainsley Maitland-Niles for example, Unai knows Ainsley. He’s watched him, he’s familiar with his patterns of play, his capabilities, he’s very excited about his potential and was able to talk about how excited he was to work with Ainsley, to develop him as a player.
“Very specifically, when you asked the follow-up question and the follow-up question and the follow-up question, you’d get more and more depth about how exactly he would do that, exactly how him and his team would work with an individual player to develop them into the best player they can possibly be and also within the team dynamic.
“There are a lot of platitudes in the game of football, a lot, and people can speak at a surface level very easily to sound confident and impressive. What’s impressive to me is when you scratch through that and you get deeply involved in what exactly they mean.”
So @UnaiEmery_, what did you make of the training ground?#WelcomeUnai pic.twitter.com/OvRd2FJUyp
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 24, 2018
Gazidis, however, is under no illusions about the size of the task facing Emery, who won a domestic treble before leaving PSG.
“The hard work starts right now,” Gazidis added. “We are right into the transfer window of course, but we’re also into many other things such as how we’re going to integrate his team, how we think about pre-season planning, how the teams are going to work together.
“There’s a lot of work to be done now to integrate this new team into our existing team. I know that we can do that successfully but it’s going to take hard work through the summer. There’s been obviously a lot of question marks as we’ve gone through this period of transition over recent weeks but now it’s really time to look forward as a football club.
“I am really excited about Unai’s appointment. I feel he’s a great fit for our football club. His value set, the way he conducts himself is really Arsenal class. Underneath that, you’ve got all of the technical side that he brings to the table and then on top of it all, which our fans will connect with, is this passion for the game and this energy. Once he brings that into the Emirates and into the Premier League, our fans are going to feel electrified by it.
“We don’t know what the journey will hold exactly, and there will certainly be ups and downs, but I think our fans will appreciate the commitment and the passion that we’re bringing to this effort and I think they’ll be behind us on this journey.”