Date:28th September 2022 at 9:00am
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Raul Sanllehi, Arsenal’s former head of football, claims the club are making the same ‘mistake’ with Mikel Arteta, as they did with former boss Arsene Wenger.


Sanllehi left his role at Arsenal after Arteta’s appointment in December 2019. The Spaniard is now director general at Real Zaragoza in Spain’s second division.

He played a key role in Arteta’s appointment as ‘head coach’ at Arsenal and was the mastermind behind the club’s new setup, which allowed his compatriot to focus primarily on the first team.

But after Arteta led Arsenal to an FA Cup triumph in his first season in charge, his role title was changed to ‘manager’, and that left him with more influence on the direction of the club and decisions across the board.

Reflecting on that action though, Sanllehi says it was a ‘mistake’ to switch back to the title held by legendary Frenchman and former boss Arsene Wenger, as it speaks against the club’s model.


In a recent interview, the former Arsenal executive talked a lot of topics, including some calls he did not agree with while at Arsenal.

“Arsenal had decided to move on from Arsene Wenger — one boss who did everything,” Sanllehi told The Athletic. “They have betrayed the model a little bit now.”

‘By going back to the manager at the top, that is a mistake, but that is their mistake. I would have not allowed that to happen. But that’s fine, it is working so far for them.

Sanllehi explained his desire for splitting responsibility at the club, citing the “overwhelming” workload as a problem in modern football.

“I do not agree when clubs call the first-team coach ‘the manager’,” he said.

“First-team coach is first-team coach, that is enough. Nowadays, the workload is overwhelming, and I need him to concentrate on the first team.

“Anything that distracts you from that is not your responsibility — travel arrangements, the pitch, salary budget, medical department.

“We will get other people to do that. The first-team coach is short-term oriented — just win tonight’s game.”


If anything at all, giving Arteta more influence seems to have worked for the better, with the Spaniard now having a say on how things are being run and even his preferred transfer targets.

Arsenal’s improvement under Arteta has been slow and steady but the start of the current campaign is the highlight of it all, with the Gunners leading the way at the top of the Premier League after seven games.