Gilberto wants Dein return

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Gilberto has revealed his shock at vice-chairman David Dein's abrupt departure from Emirates Stadium, whilst holding out hope that the 'Arsenal icon' could yet return to the club in the future.

Dein's exit shocked both fans and players alike on Wednesday as he vacated his position on the Gunners board after apparently clashing with his fellow shareholders over whether to welcome new investment from Stan Kroenke.

The American billionaire has since increased his stake in the club to 12.19 per cent to fuel speculation that he could be preparing a hostile takeover, with rumours circulating that he could unite with Dein and attempt to wrest control of the North London side.

Now Gunners midfielder Gilberto has admitted he would be keen to seen Dein return in an official capacity after becoming such a central figure in the club's success over the past 20 years.

"Arsene [Wenger] and Mr Dein are Arsenal icons," said Gilberto in The Star. "When you mention the club, they are the first two people you think about.

"But maybe the situation can change and Mr Dein can come back.

"Nobody knew anything about this or expected this to happen and everyone was upset.

"It has hurt everyone. Mr Dein loved the club and his heart is still here. He was a massive presence in the dressing room and we will still feel that presence."

Questions have been raised over Wenger's future in the wake of Dein's departure, as it was the former director who recruited the Frenchman in 1996 and helped implement his highly-successful transfer policy.

However, Wenger insisted on Friday that he will see out his current contract, even if he refused to speculate on his position beyond 2008.

Gilberto admits that his fellow team-mates are in the dark over Wenger's future intentions at present.

"It is difficult to know something about Arsene because he never tells the players about what he is going to do," Gilberto added.

"From what I have seen in my five years here, he loves the club and has a very good relationship with other people here, including those on the board.

"He will miss Mr Dein because he had a very good relationship with him."