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Arsenal’s respected and trusted doctor, Gary O’Driscoll, will apparently not be leaving the club to join Liverpool as had been expected.
O’Driscoll was expected to replace Andy Massey, who has taken up a position with FIFA, at Anfield, but David Ornstein is now reporting that O’Driscoll will now be staying at Arsenal despite the agreement in place to join Liverpool.
“The Athletic understands a late change of heart from O’Driscoll means he will now be staying in London and Liverpool have had to resume a process that was almost complete,” Ornstein wrote on Monday.
“With a doctor from another Premier League side known to have turned down an approach for talks, the European champions will continue meeting candidates for the position.
“In the interim, academy doctor Jim Moxon has stepped up to the first team and immediately finds himself responsible for coordinating Liverpool’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak. He is supported by other medical staff including Philipp Jacobsen and Sarah Lindsay, who is Massey’s wife.”
Having formerly worked with the Ireland and British Lions rugby teams, O’Driscoll has been with Arsenal since the start of 2009. It’s not hard, though, to see why Liverpool would have been a much more attractive proposition at present, what with them being the best team in Europe.
Ornstein also added, “O’Driscoll’s decision to remain with Arsenal comes as a surprise after the Englishman submitted his resignation in January and the club advertised for a successor and conducted interviews.
“Impassioned pleas by technical director Edu and head coach Mikel Arteta, in particular, helped convince the former Ireland rugby union medic not to leave. The development is seen across the industry as something of a coup, given the regard in which O’Driscoll is held.
“His role in charge of Arsenal’s preparations for — and handling of — coronavirus have been lauded internally and, although Arteta’s positive test last week contributed to the suspension of English football, there have been no further cases reported among club employees to date.”
In their exclusive report at the start of January, the Daily Mail claimed that a number of staff who remained at Arsenal after the great post-Wenger cull of 2018 were less than impressed with how their sacked colleagues were treated.
They didn’t state directly that was why O’Driscoll was considering leaving, but you can read below it’s what they wanted you to believe:
The 49-year-old, from Northern Ireland, was heavily involved in helping to design Arsenal’s medical facilities.
O’Driscoll is also considered an anti-doping expert and his loss would have been a big blow to Arsenal.
Managing to convince him to stay following Unai Emery’s departure, however, is huge.