Edu: The final piece of Arsenal’s managerial jigsaw?

By on July 13, 2019

Eduardo César Daude Gaspar, or more commonly known as, Edu, has become the first ever Technical Director of Arsenal Football Club. Since Ivan Gazidis became Chief Executive in 2009, there’s been whisperings of the club hoping to employ an individual in this role; however, Arsene Wenger remained resistant to anyone interfering in his transfers and vision and nothing ever happened.

Then, in 2018 when it was announced that Wenger was due to depart, it appeared that Ivan Gazidis had carved a version of the role for himself. Sitting in Wenger’s chair, Gazidis asserted himself as the man spearheading Arsenal’s future. Yet, after leading the team that appointed Unai Emery, Gazidis surprised everyone and chose to join A.C. Milan. With Arsenal already intending to appoint a Technical Director, they now had two gaps to fill.

Raúl Sanllehí had been appointed Director of Football in 2018, and Vinai Venkatesham was appointed Managing Director taking parts of Gazidis’s role. However, there was still a void in arguably the most integral part of the clubs structure; the link between the team and the management.

Arsenal were keen to make an immediate appointment, and after it became apparent Sven Mislintant wouldn’t be offered the role (which led to his subsequent departure), the club targeted ex (and now current) Sevilla Director of Football, Monchi, as well as Arsenal legend and current Ajax Director of Football, Marc Overmars. Neither were persuaded to take the position and Arsenal were forced to leave the role empty.

That takes us to now, where it was finally announced that Edu would join after the deal was supposedly wrapped up months ago. The club treated the appointment like a major signing and say the role involves ‘’coordinating the work of the first team coaching group, academy..scouting..and recruitment.’’ It’s a long list of responsibilities and one that needs immediate impact.

Edu’s coming off the back of winning the Copa America but was denied a holiday, as he flies with the team to the US on Thursday. There’s no doubt he’ll be having in depth conversations with Unai Emery and Stan and Josh Kronke regarding how he’ll work to implement his ideas. He’ll also have to spend time analysing the current squad.

Having finished his career as a neat and effective centre midfielder, Edu moved in to a Director’s role and has shown himself to be capable, implementing clear visions bringing success to both Corinthians and Brazil’s national team.

However, as well as having his own ideas, Edu will need to work closely with Head Coach, Unai Emery. Emery managed Edu for one season in Valencia, and one can only assume welcomes Edu’s appointment. As someone who’s spent most of his managerial career working alongside a Technical Director, Emery will be hoping Edu’s appointment will be the tipping point needed to secure a top 4 finish and subsequently secure third year as Head Coach.

Regardless of Emery’s future, it seems the club hope Edu will be around for the long haul. While there’s no mention of his contract length, Edu’s appointment is one that promotes ‘the Arsenal identity.’ With many fans becoming disillusioned with the club’s progression and Kronke’s ambition, with Edu, the club welcomes back an invincible who Sallenhi describes as ‘a true Arsenal man.’ While Edu is of course more than a PR stunt, there’s no doubt an assumption that he’ll drum up a positive spirit towards the club’s management. 

So far this summer Raúl Sanllehí and Vinai Venkatesham have been unable to implement the ‘very good plan’ they spoke of two months ago and in future years they may blame Edu’s absence as a reason. Many believe Edu played a part in Arsenal’s first and only singing of Gabriel Martinelli, but he’ll need to deliver first team quality to guarantee the clubs aims.  

Being described as the ‘final and very important part of the jigsaw’, Edu needs to oversee a style of football that is currently non-existent at Arsenal, ensure the club utilises its limited transfer and help Emery ensure the club get back into the top four. It’s a big task and one Edu seems ready to tackle. Will he prove to be the final piece of the jigsaw? Every Arsenal fan desperately hopes so.

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