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Arsenal confirm Gazidis departure to Milan

18 September 2018 11:28

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has resigned to join AC Milan, the Premier League club have announced.

The 54-year-old will step down at the end of October, following a decade at Emirates Stadium, and take up the same role at Milan on December 1.

Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham will head up football operations at Arsenal, taking up the head of football and managing director roles respectively.

Sanllehi, a former director of football at Barcelona, joined the Gunners as head of football relations in February, while Venkatesham is currently the club's chief commercial officer.

Gazidis headed up the interview process that lead to Unai Emery's appointment as head coach, succeeding long-serving manager Arsene Wenger.

His overhaul of Arsenal's structure, including the appointments of Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, arguably helped to herald the end of the Wenger era as a degree of power was wrestled away from the veteran Frenchman, and Gazidis has described his pending departure as "the hardest decision of my life".

"For the last 10 years I have been privileged to dedicate myself to this great club. Arsenal is entering a new chapter and I have done everything I can to ensure that it is strongly placed to take on that challenge," he said in a statement on Arsenal's official.

"This includes world-class facilities and outstanding leaders in every sector who carry the values of the club, including, of course, Unai Emery, Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham, in whom I have enormous faith.

"Although it is very hard to do - the hardest decision of my life - I believe that, after 10 years, it is the right time for me to step aside to allow new leadership, energy and ideas to take the club forward into this exciting new era.

"While this is the most difficult and challenging course for me, I am excited to see what the future holds for this great club.

"After so many years at Major League Soccer and Arsenal, I am now looking forward to joining one of the world’s other great clubs, AC Milan, and working to restore it to its rightful place in football. Until then, I will continue to devote absolutely all my energy until my last day to ensure an orderly transition for the benefit of Arsenal Football Club."

Gazidis is the latest addition to the Milan board under new owners Elliott Management, with club great Paolo Maldini working as sporting strategy and development director alongside former team-mate Leonardo, who is sporting director.

"I am very excited to take on this new challenge and will do everything I can to secure AC Milan’s return to the top," Gazidis said in a statement released by Milan.

"I have a head start in this project thanks to the talented players, hard-working staff, and the sporting leadership of Leonardo De Araujo, Paolo Maldini and [head coach] Gennaro Gattuso.

"I am grateful for the trust placed in me by chairman Paolo Scaroni, the AC Milan board, and the club's owners."

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