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Edu named Arsenal’s first-ever technical director

Former Arsenal player Edu Visits Emirates Stadium

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 10: Edu a former Arsenal player and now sporting director of Brazil side Corinthians poses during a visit to Emirates Stadium on October 10, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Edu is back at Arsenal.

The former Brazilian midfielder has been appointed as their first-ever technical director, as the restructuring behind-the-scenes continues in the post-Arsene Wenger era.

Speaking about his appointment, Edu is delighted to be heading back to north London and is flying out with the team for their preseason tour of the USA on Thursday.

“Arsenal has always had a special place in my heart and I’m thrilled to be returning to this great club in this new role,” Edu said. “We have a strong squad and some very talented young players with fantastic people at every level. I’m looking forward to helping make a difference.”

Edu, 41, has recently been working with the Brazilian national team and leaves them after they won their first Copa America title in 12 years on Sunday.

Arsenal say that Edu will “coordinate the work of our first team coaching group, the academy and player scouting and recruitment in order to oversee the constant building up and efficient strengthening of our squad.”

Arsenal have hired a soccer man to oversee all of the soccer facets of the club. This makes sense.

Following the departure of chief executive Ivan Gazidis to AC Milan, Raul Sanllehi has been in the head of football role and Edu’s arrival has long been rumored. Now it has happened he will be a key part in player recruitment and linking everything together alongside head coach Unai Emery.

As a player he spent five seasons with the Gunners, and was a key part of their “Invincibles” squad. Although he only made 79 Premier League appearances across those five campaigns, he was always a reliable central midfielder and kept the likes of Patrick Vieira on their toes. His spells at Valencia and Corinthians yielded more trophies and he won the 2004 Copa America and 2005 Confederations Cup with Brazil, but it is in his post-playing career where he has enjoyed plenty of success. He took over as Corinthians’ director of football in 2011 and oversaw the development of plenty of talented players, while he also worked with Iran’s squad at the 2014 World Cup and most recently the Selecao since 2016.

Buying the right type of players and having a clear plan for youngsters has been a real problem for Arsenal in recent years, but Emery has shown he has changed the Gunners’ playing style pretty quickly after his first season in charge. Now it is down to Edu to unearth some young gems from South America and elsewhere as Arsenal cannot compete with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Man United to sign superstar players for big money, as things stand.

Edu has to get creative, and fast, if Arsenal are going to return to not only the top four but also become genuine title contenders once again. The man from Brazil showed plenty of composure on the ball during his playing days at Arsenal. Now he has to take that poise to boardrooms across the globe on their behalf.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports