The lone survivor of the botched process that led to hiring Unai Emery last year cannot afford another mistake

When Ivan Gazidis sat down alongside Unai Emery at the latter’s unveiling in May 2018 he openly acknowledged he was not presenting the man who, until the very last moment of the recruitment process, everyone else had been expecting. It had all been pretty surprising to Mikel Arteta, too, given the former Arsenal midfielder had been in advanced talks about taking the head coach role. In a rhetorical flourish typical of the now-departed chief executive, Gazidis suggested anyone following the story until this point had been several steps behind all along, saying: “Those who know won’t speak and those who speak won’t know.”

It was all a little self-congratulatory and now feels fruitless, too, because Emery’s subsequent demise means there will be an even steelier gaze on the selection of his successor. Gazidis works for Milan these days and another of the three-man panel that recommended Emery to the club’s owners, the head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat, controversially moved on in February.

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