Arsenal promote Edu to become club’s first sporting director and end speculation over future

Arsenal have promoted technical director Edu Gaspar into a new role as the club’s first-ever sporting director.

Former Brazil and Arsenal midfielder Edu, 44, who became the Gunners’ first technical director in 2019, was last month reported to be a target for a number of European rivals.

An Arsenal statement read: “We are delighted to announce that Edu Gaspar has been appointed as Arsenal’s first-ever sporting director.

“Edu’s promotion sees him assume over-arching responsibility for all our academy activities, in addition to his existing responsibilities across men’s and women’s football.”

Gunners chief executive Vinai Venkatesham added: “We are delighted that Edu is recommitting his future to the club that he so clearly loves, after making such a positive and critical contribution to our progress in his time with us so far.

“Edu’s promotion formalises his already growing influence over our academy operations, and we look forward to (academy manager) Per (Mertesacker) and Edu working together to strengthen the integration between our men’s first-team and academy yet further.”

Edu, who spent four years as a player at Arsenal from 2001-05 and made 15 senior appearances for Brazil, returned to the club as technical director from a similar role at the Brazilian FA in the summer of 2019.

Asked last month about the speculation linking Edu with a move away, Arsenal mamager Mikel Arteta said he hoped the Brazilian would remain for “a long time”.

“I just hope he stays here for a long time because I think it’s going to be a really positive thing for the club,” Arteta told reporters.

“I work with him really well, I think he’s a super important figure at the club who represents all the values and ideas that we want, to do everything in the right way, and hopefully that will be the case.

“There is a lot happening in a football club and he has a huge role and he has a really good way of communicating with people and managing a lot of things that happen daily. For me and for the team he is really important.

“It has to build that relationship. It has to be very well respected, the roles have to be very clear, you have to share the same ideas.

“But at the same time you have to be challenged by each other because sometimes coaches we have all the ideas and we want something right now that is not the best thing for the club and we have the right balance, not only with Edu but with Vinai [Venkatesham] and with Rich [Garlick] and with the ownership.

“It’s really important. We make a decision, it’s all together it’s not your decision or my idea. It’s important in good and difficult moments as well to be together.”

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