Arsenal’s ‘catalyst of change’, which is intended to prepare for life after Arsene Wenger, has received fresh impetus with Josh Kroenke, son of owner Stan, moving to London to conduct an in-depth review of all the club activities.
Kroenke, 37, has taken a flat in London for three months and is visiting every section of the club in an attempt to gain a better understanding of how they are run.
It represents a significant change in the Kroenke ownership model, which has previously been criticised for being too remote.
The club insist Kroenke’s visit is not in anticipation of a managerial change this summer, though it is acknowledged that they need to prepare for a future without Wenger.
Club sources say that Kroenke will not be intervening in the running of Arsenal, but wants to gain a deeper understanding of all aspects of the club.
He is also said to be bringing his expertise in the development of an e-sports strategy, comprising the rise of professional gamers and YouTubers, who can now attract 1.5million viewers to their clashes.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis promised discontented fans last year that there would be ‘catalyst of change’ at Arsenal and he is now assembling a management team to provide an infrastructure once Wenger leaves.
The manager’s future remains unclear with the club unlikely to want to start next season with the situation unresolved.
Wenger has conceded that the constant speculation about his future did affect performances last season.
Josh Kroenke is president and governor of the family’s Denver Nuggets basketball team and Colorado Avalanche ice hockey team. He is by far the youngest member of the Arsenal board, which comprises his father, who is 70, Sir Chips Keswick, 78, Ken Friar, 83, Lord Harris, 75, and Gazidis, 53.
His extended visit to London comes as Raul Sanllehi has joined as director of football relations, with Sven Mislintat, head of recruitment, Huss Fahmy, contract negotiator, and Darren Burgess, head of high performance, all having been recruited since last summer.
With Arsenal’s seemingly only hope of making the Champions League next season being via the Europa League, this season could be their worst since Wenger arrived in 1996. Conversely, if Wenger wins the Carabao Cup a week today, it will be his fourth major trophy in five years.