London, Tuesday @PeopleSports11
Arsenal have begun their most significant cull of backroom staff for more than two decades as they prepare for a new era after Arsene Wenger’s departure.
Six long-serving coaches and medical personnel are going, with head of medical Colin Lewin, a close sidekick of Wenger, the biggest casualty.
Lewin has been at the club for 23 years and he was shocked to be told on Monday that his services are no longer required. The others on the way out are first-team coach Neil Banfield, also with more than 20 years’ service, goalkeeping specialist Gerry Peyton, fitness coach Tony Colbert and equipment manager Paul Johnson.
Predictably, Boro Primorac—Wenger’s close friend and trusted lieutenant—has also left. But Steve Bould, Wenger’s assistant since 2012, and goalkeeping coach Jens Lehmann will be offered posts in the new set-up.
Arsenal are clearing the decks for Wenger’s successor to appoint his own staff.
The axe fell on the day chief executive Ivan Gazidis moved to a new office at the training ground, where he is taking the role of kingmaker as the hunt continues for a new manager.
The front-runners remain former players Mikel Arteta—currently right-hand man to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City—and fans’ favourite Patrick Vieira, who is manager at MLS outfit New York City.
Julian Nagelsmann, who has excelled in charge of German club Hoffenheim, is another leading contender.