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Arsenal manager's job is the best in football and Emery was first choice candidate: Gazidis

By gareth Hanna

New Arsenal manager Unai Emery was the club's first choice to succeed Arsene Wenger, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

In Wednesday afternoon's press conference to unveil the former PSG coach as Arsenal boss, Gazidis explained the process by which the appointment was made.

He confirmed that there was an eight-person shortlist of candidates interviewed and said that Emery was the three-person interview committee's number one target.

Former Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta, currently assistant coach to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, had been the favourite to take over the job before news of Emery's appointment broke earlier this week.

"I know that came as a bit of a surprise but as I said at the beginning, those who know won't speak and those who speak won't know," began Gazidis.

The CEO also claimed that the selection process was approached on the premise that no manager in world football would turn down the opportunity.

"We analaysed on the basis that every coach in the world would be interested," he said. "We don't believe there is a position in world football that is more attractive than that at Arsenal football club.

"We created an eight person list. All of those eight people that we targeted were interested in the position and took part in interviews with us and none of them at any stage withdrew their interest.

"We were in the fortunate position to be able to make our first choice and that's what we did."

Arsenal's priorities for the ideal candidate were a desire for "progressive, entertaining football, a personality that fits with Arsenal's value and a record of developing players through detailed tactical construction and through cultural demands; pushing players."

And with those in mind, Gazidis explained how Emery convinced them he was the man for the job.

"He has a fantastic record of success wherever he has gone," he said. "One of the noteworthy aspects of Unai's team is that they improve over time. He is a superb fit with the criteria that I laid out.

"It was very important to move this on from the paper exercise and into personal meetings. It was there that Unai was very impressive. He came in incredibly well prepared and with a knowledge of Arsenal Football Club. He had an analysis of all of our iundividual players and how he feels he can help them to develop individually and collectively, in detail.

"This wasn't a purely technical exercise. The thing that distinguished Unair above all of the things you can read about him was the chemistry between us and the feeling for football in the room.

"It's that passion for football and will to win that made us feel this was exactly right for Arsenal."

Emery, 46, left Paris St Germain at the end of the season having won the domestic treble. He also won both French cup competitions the previous season and, before moving to PSG, was the boss who led Sevilla to three successive Europa League titles from 2014 to 2016."I'm happy with him, he's a proper manager. He's got a great record, he has won three European trophies.

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