In Arsenal legend Gilberto Silva’s weekly podcast, he sits down this time with his former Invincible teammate and current Arsenal technical director, Edu Gaspar. Here are the key takeaways from this interview.
1. Challenges in day to day working due to COVID:
Edu states that he has a lot on his plate, adding that there are ‘so many papers and situations’ to deal with and as a result of the social distancing protocols, he couldn’t use the help of his personal assistants.
This ranged from tasks such as ‘organizing mails, messages, answering all the phones, connecting with the players, staff and the coach all in a similar time.’
Additionally, he also believes that face to face meetings (which have been difficult due to COVID) are ideal for the way he likes ‘to connect’ and to enable him to deliver information in the best possible way.
2. The learning has been huge:
Since his time here being technical director, Edu says that he has ‘learned a lot’ and that his English has also come a long way due to all the conversations which he feels will help him going forward.
3. On Arteta:
Edu is of the view that while the scenario has been difficult for Arteta, he is doing an ‘amazing, amazing job’.
He continues: “To put his ideas, connect with the players straight away and when COVID arrived, he changed the way that he works and makes a lot of improvements in the way to coach players. He surprised me a lot – he found a way to really connect with the players. That makes me so proud because the decision to choose Mikel wasn’t easy.”
Why wasn’t it easy? Edu believes that Arsenal weren’t used to changing managers mid-season and that ‘it isn’t something people at the club are used to intenally.’
4. On being the first club to resume training:
Edu revealed that when he was with his son in the park, he also saw 2 other Arsenal players running around in the park – he felt it was not the best situation as there were people around the park who were taking photos of the players and filming them and that was uncomfortable.
If they took pictures, it would be breaking social distancing rules and if they refused, it will be constituted as rude.
He decided then that its best to give them a better infrastructure, leading to him speaking to the club and using the training ground like what he terms a ‘private park.’
5. On the changing model of Arsenal:
Edu says that the current model is not one the club is used to, it is something new and it is an ‘honour’ for him to be the club’s first technical director, adding that he was the last piece in the puzzle – says that ‘it is a challenge’ but is ‘beautiful’.
He emphasises that he is very close to Arteta, as every technical director needs to be close to the coach. Edu feels that even more than being close, it is important to be aligned with the views of the coach.
Adding to this, he states that his role entails finding the balance in squad building between very short, medium and long term periods, adding that him and Arteta have a similar philosophy and as a result have been well connected till now.
6. Background checks on signings:
Edu reveals that he interviews the players, sees the family, looks at backgrounds, reviews news in the past to see if they have any issues off the pitch – all of this in addition to the technical aspects.
He adds that players these days are becoming more and more expensive, so clubs need to be more thorough with their approach.
7. On the difference between being a sporting director at Brazil and a football club:
Edu is of the view that being a sporting director at a national team entails more of just picking the best players and managing the egos, but whereas at a club, it is complicated due to the squad building process as the club needs to bring in players to suit their style.
If you’d like to know more about Edu’s sporting director work, you can check out our interview with well known UOL and ESPN Brazil journalist, Mauro Cezar from last year.