The one question that was poignantly avoided at Arsenal‘s AGM at the end of October was that of the return of David Dein. The fact that many fans like to throw around is that we haven’t won a trophy since Dein left. But then again we haven’t won a trophy since Pascal Cygan left either – you don’t hear people clamouring for his return. However, the importance of Dein is not to be underestimated. Not only a great friend of Arsene Wenger’s, Dein was the man that not only pushed Wenger to sign more players, but was also the man that could make that sort of thing happen.
Lyon boss and former Gunner Remi Garde was quoted in the papers recently as saying that he thought Wenger was struggling without Dein:
‘He kept an eye on the choice of players, the strategy of the club. He is sorely missed.’
So as we consider the possible, yet unlikely, return of the former maverick board member we have to ask ourselves how much we would be willing to sacrifice to see his return? The situation seems to be that too many bridges have been burned for the former chief executive to return under the current establishment. Yet with ever deepening analysis of Arsenal’s struggles as the barren years roll by Arsenal fans are more and more inclined to desire the return of the former overseer of the club.
One of the main problems that arises when considering his return is the obvious point that his job is already occupied by Gazidis. However, there aren’t many people who would be sad to see the back of the former chief of the MLS. Ivan’s work has been adequate but there a numerous issues with his methods, particularly the sale of Fabregas. Obviously the Barcelona born midfielder was always going to be sold, and obviously the sale was a peculiar one in that there was no competition for his signature, but ultimately to sell one of the world’s greatest players for almost half of what he was worth is a sin by anyone’s standards. Particularly as his contract wasn’t due to run down for another three years.
The second thing standing in the way is our chairman. It is, to say the least, unlikely that Dein would ever return whilst Hill-Wood remains as a figurehead at the club; but frankly nobody is quite sure how much longer he will continue to a be a force at the club. Whilst Kroenke may be indebted to Hill-Wood for giving him a way in to the club the American is a businessman and it is unlikely that the bond between them is anywhere near sacred.