AC Milan hunts Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis with £1mn pay hike, equity stake

Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis

Premier League club Arsenal’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis is reportedly undergoing negotiations to move to Italian football giants AC Milan who are offering a hike of $1.32 million (£1m) over his current salary of $3.42 million (£2.6m) paid by the English club.

Speculations were rife towards July end about Gazidis’ plans to join the Serie A club. However, Arsenal had denied all the reports stating that 54-year-old is fully committed with the club.

Now the London daily tabloid Evening Standard has claimed that US hedge fund Elliot Management Corporation which assumed control of AC Milan at the start of July, has offered Gazidis a £1 million increase on his current £2.6 million annual salary, along with an equity stake in the club.

EMC, led by American billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer took the reins of the club after the incumbent owner and Chinese businessman Yonghong Li who defaulted on its debt payments to the hedge fund company.

Li bought the club from the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in April 2017 for $926 million. The New York hedge fund helped finance the team, ending three decades of ownership under Berlusconi.

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AC Milan president Paolo Scaroni said last week that negotiations with Gazidis “are ongoing”, adding that “the process of selecting a chief executive must be done well and calmly”.

The Johannesburg, South Africa-born Gazidis accepted the post of Arsenal’s chief executive in January 2009 succeeding former managing director Keith Edelman. He was also expected to take over many of the roles formerly undertaken by ex-vice-chairman David Dein.

Gazidis, during the 2017-18 season, oversaw significant personnel changes at the top of the club in preparation for then manager Arsene Wenger’s departure, announced in April 2018, after 22 years, including the appointment of manager Unai Emery.

Gazidis news comes as yet another major transition in Arsenal off-pitch after majority shareholder Stan Kroenke took the full ownership of the club, purchasing the 30 per cent stake held by Russian Billionaire Alisher Usmanov. The deal, reportedly worth $700 million, was completed last month.

Also Read: Stan Kroenke set for full Arsenal ownership in $700 million deal