Raul Sanllehi has left Arsenal

Macho

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The disingenuousness is so very strong here... Just leave it mate. It’s clearly not what you’d like it to be... And why does it have to be ? :lol:
I’ve been saying this :lol:

The reality isn’t nearly as entertaining as the fluff I guess.
 

Gooner416

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Kia definitely tipped us off of this move with his comments a few weeks ago when Luiz was working his renewal. David O'Leary joining the board now. Not sure how to feel about this all tbh.
 

Rex Banter

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I will say that Lopez is hardly going to come out and say the Pepe deal was dodgy when:

A) he’s good mates with Raul.
B) he’d be snitching on himself.
C) we’re sorting out another deal and he’d be f*cking with his future money.
 

celestis

Arsenal-Mania Veteran
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The fans though are treated like commercial mushrooms, fed sh!t and kept in the dark. We don't know what potential stars they've unearthed, that might have been rejected by Raul and his greasy agent pals.

There have been lot of players we don't know about , bet very few if any knew Kingsley Coman did a medical here in 2014.
 
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Wryer

Well-Known Member
We are such a irony.

For years we insisted not to spend. And then we decided to go nuts on Özil and Sanchez, who both disappointed for different reasons.

For years we don't want any foreign investors. And then now we are stuck the worst one amongst the big clubs.

For years we said no to DOF or equivalent. And then we had Mslintat, Raul, Edu who have gone one by one.

For years we called for experienced players. And then we become the retirement home for Chelsea.

Can't get anything right, can we?
 

krackpot

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IMG_1344.jpg
 

Ibadan

Thread Bump Police
Explained: Why Sanllehi left Arsenal and what it means for Arteta and Edu

Whole Article:
Two and a half years after joining from Barcelona, Raul Sanllehi has left Arsenal.

Throughout Friday afternoon, what started as a rumour steady solidified into industry gossip. By Saturday morning, Arsenal had put out a statement thanking Sanllehi for his contribution to the club, and wishing him success in his future endeavours.

Sanllehi’s departure was not altogether unexpected but it was dramatic and sudden. It has left Arsenal facing many questions as to what brought them to this point, and where they go from here — questions The Athletic tackles here…

Why has Raul Sanllehi left Arsenal?

The public utterances suggest an amicable parting, but Sanllehi did not wish to leave. This had been brewing for some time. Arsenal have confirmed the decision came from the top-down, citing the ownership and the board.

In some respects, a degree of friction with the hierarchy was inevitable in Sanllehi’s role. He advocated for his coaches with fierce loyalty — in the case of Unai Emery, arguably to a fault — and if that meant pushing the Kroenkes out of their comfort zone, then so be it.

As head of football, Sanllehi was responsible for what he termed the “sporting dimension” of the club. In a sporting sense, his tenure did not indicate significant progress. In his two full seasons in north London, Arsenal finished fifth and eighth — the latter being their lowest league position for 25 years. Contesting three cup finals, winning one, has not masked a steady slide into mid-table.

The statement Arsenal made to announce Sanllehi’s departure does not cite a reason, although The Athletic has been told the club see this as a way of streamlining their executive model in the light of COVID-19. They had already announced their intention to make 55 redundancies and stressed that “all departments” would be subject to scrutiny.

That is made explicit in the messages in English and Spanish that Sanllehi sent out to his contacts, including senior staff at rival clubs, before news of his departure broke on Saturday. “There is no one to blame for this,” he wrote, “other than COVID-19, and the need to adapt and remodel the club’s structure to the new times.”

It was Sanllehi who introduced Emery to the recruitment process to find Wenger’s successor. For some, the first black mark against Sanllehi came in April 2019, when he led high-level discussions about extending Emery’s contract without first receiving approval from owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE). Although Arsenal’s analytics department put paid to the proposal by exposing Emery’s worrying underlying metrics, Sanllehi’s decision to seize the initiative was not well received in Denver.

There was also unease at Sanllehi’s political positioning. The Athletic understands that in recent months, a member of the board sought to have a one-to-one meeting with head coach Mikel Arteta, only to be informed the meeting could only take place in Sanllehi’s presence. Similarly, Sanllehi opposed the proposal to add David O’Leary to the board to provide football oversight. As someone who survived several regime changes at Barcelona, Sanllehi came from a world where jostling for power is simply part of the game. However, that style of management did not always sit right at Arsenal.

Concerns have also surrounded Arsenal’s approach to the transfer market. When Sanllehi arrived from Barcelona, the suggestion was his black book would help open doors and evolve a recruitment process that had arguably fallen behind some of its competitors.

As it has turned out, that has meant Arsenal leaning into a contact-based approach to transfer business. Both the scouting and analytics department felt sidelined as Sanllehi collaborated with a trusted network of intermediaries, leading to questions over whether Arsenal were casting their net sufficiently wide in their recruitment.

Although Arsenal have used the services of many different agents across Sanllehi’s windows at the helm, certain names have occurred more frequently. Three of Arsenal’s last four signings have been represented by Kia Joorabchian. Arturo Canales, a long-time associate of Sanllehi, moved his operation to the UK shortly after Sanllehi’s ascension at Arsenal. It was Canales who represented Emery in talks over his appointment and possible extension. When Arsenal needed a left-sided centre-half in January, they opted for a Canales client in Pablo Mari.

There is also the question of whether transfers overseen by Sanllehi have provided full value. The Athletic understands Arsenal exceeded the asking price for Bernd Leno and paid €5 million above the buyout clause for Lucas Torreira. A year before he joined Arsenal, Nicolas Pepe was available for less than half what Arsenal ultimately agreed to pay Lille, with one Premier League director describing the eventual £72 million price-tag as “crazy”. Of course, sometimes extra costs come into play to get difficult deals done — but at a time when financial restraint is needed because of the post-lockdown fallout, greater efficiency is clearly required.

To some current and former staff, the set-up felt uncomfortably cosy. At one point in his reign, Arsène Wenger was so opposed to the influence of agents that he insisted any meetings with intermediaries be held in London Colney’s media building, away from football matters. Conversely, agents representing Arsenal first-team players have reported seeing Canales on the club’s premises. His proximity to Sanllehi even left some intermediaries feeling compelled to go through Canales when attempting to negotiate contract renewals. Joorabchian and others have been invited into the directors’ box. On the day Cedric Soares and Mari joined on loan, Sanllehi joined contract specialist Huss Fahmy and technical director Edu Gaspar at an informal dinner along with the players, Canales and Joorabchian.

Again, there may be something of a culture clash here. In Spain, that kind of fraternisation with intermediaries is more accepted. At Arsenal, however, some found it deeply uncomfortable.

When Willian joined the club, his official contract signing didn’t take place at Highbury House or the training ground, but at Joorabchian’s home. Sources insisted it was about trying to find a safe, private space with an outdoor area to respect social distancing measures and minimise any risk of spreading COVID-19. “The optics of that would have really bothered the Kroenkes”, one former staff member said.

Even though there is no suggestion of wrongdoing on any of these deals, the mounting speculation and public scrutiny they brought did not sit well with KSE. Had the signings proved uniformly successful — had Pepe and David Luiz been consistent, had Soares not been struck down with injury — perhaps those deals would be less closely scrutinised. Before his first summer in control, Sanllehi claimed that Arsenal would have to “outsmart the market”, but ultimately it is difficult to argue that was achieved.

The owners’ displeasure clearly accelerated in recent days. On August 5, Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham jointly signed a statement announcing the 55 redundancies. Ten days later, Sanllehi’s departure was hurriedly announced.

How is Sanllehi being replaced?

In the short term, at least, he isn’t. Part of the streamlining has come about because in essence Arsenal employed three people to do what not so long ago was the work of one man. At the time of the golden era of Wenger and their last title win, David Dein effectively did the job that more recently was shared out between three senior employees — Sanllehi, Edu and Fahmy. The football marketplace has expanded since then, but Arsenal will be keen to explore whether a more simplified approach can succeed and be efficient today.

It requires Edu as technical director to step up and assume more responsibility for negotiations. Alongside him, Fahmy continues with the contractual work. Crucially, Arteta himself can be much more involved in decisions on players and potential recruits. It is a vital window, so this collaboration needs to gel quickly.

It has been described within the club as “more bandwidth” for Arteta and Edu to overtake football discussions that would previously have been down to Sanllehi. Venkatesham describes the pair as a “formidable team”.

How significant is Tim Lewis to all this?

Sources close to the Arsenal board said there was “no chance” this change would have taken place without the influence of Lewis, who was appointed to the board as a non-executive director on July 1.

A lifelong Arsenal fan, Lewis is a partner at London-based law firm Clifford Chance. He is regarded as one of the leading mergers and acquisitions lawyers in the world and spent four years advising Stan Kroenke on his investment into Arsenal, from his initial share purchase in 2007 to his takeover in 2011.

Lewis’ appointment was intended to give KSE some eyes on the ground in London, The Athletic has been told. Josh Kroenke, who had been a fairly frequent visitor to Arsenal before the pandemic, is understood to have felt frustrated at not being unable to continue overseeing the club’s affairs in person. Lewis was also tasked with helping oversee an audit of Arsenal’s spending across all departments — a process that contributed directly to the redundancies Arsenal have announced.

Lewis’ connection to the Kroenkes has strengthened the authority of Arsenal’s board. In recent years, the concentration of power had been with Sanllehi and the executive committee. That led to Sir Chips Keswick’s decision to step down as chairman in May. Keswick had grown frustrated at taking criticism for how the club was governed while fulfilling what had become principally a ceremonial role.

The fact that Lewis has the ear of the Kroenkes meant that the concerns of the remaining board members, such as Lord Harris of Peckham, were heard at an ownership level.

What does this mean for Arsenal’s transfer and contract negotiations in this window?

When Arsenal dispensed with the vast majority of their scouting network earlier this month, they insisted that disruption in this window would be minimal as targets had largely already been identified and negotiations were underway.

Sanllehi, however, was a central figure in those talks. The Athletic understands he was the club’s sole negotiator in contract renewal discussions with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and that he was holding talks with Lille regarding the signing of Brazilian centre-half Gabriel Magalhaes — a signing recommended by departing chief scout Francis Cagigao — and working on a move for Atletico Madrid’s midfielder Thomas Partey. The timing of Sanllehi’s departure in this regard, in the thick of discussions during a vital transfer window, certainly raised some eyebrows in the game.

Fortunately, Arsenal have the personnel to inherit those talks relatively easily. Edu and contract specialist Fahmy have picked up the Aubameyang discussion. Sanllehi structured the deal, but the transition is expected to be smooth and there’s no indication the situation will not continue moving in the right direction — despite Aubameyang’s somewhat cryptic social media post on Sunday. As for Gabriel, his representatives at Elenko Sport are likely to be known to Edu given his extensive connections in Brazil.



There remains a huge amount of work to do. Setting aside recruitment, Arsenal have 14 players whose contracts are due to expire in the next two years. Sanllehi had spoken strongly about the need to sign or sell players with two years remaining, but he actually left the club with a lot of players in that position.

This group includes first-team stars Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, hard-to-shift players such as Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and the complicated case of Mesut Özil. Edu and Fahmy must quickly get a grip on those situations to avoid those squad members running down their deals to leave below market value or on a free transfer, as Aaron Ramsey did in the end.

One situation that requires a resolution centres on Emiliano Martinez. The goalkeeper would like a significant improvement on his current deal, which expires in 2022, to remain at the club, or for Arsenal to reduce Sanllehi’s valuation for a transfer away to help him achieve regular football elsewhere.

What does it all mean for Mikel Arteta?

His position is strengthening all the time. Given the impetus he has injected since his appointment, it’s hard to see that as in any way a bad thing. These developments inevitably present him with an even more powerful say on football matters. He is also hoping to add to his staff ahead of the start of next season.



The key is that Arteta-Edu connection, something both men spoke about as a fairly instant meeting of minds from their initial conversations about the young coach joining Arsenal. They forged a bond very quickly. Will their understanding now grow and develop without Sanllehi making it more of a crowd? Can they combine to succeed in decisions and chats with players, clubs and intermediaries? Edu is the kind of guy who wants people to feel comfortable. Arteta has a likeable human touch but is also extremely single-minded.

It is fascinating how Arsenal as a club felt they needed to move away from a structure built around the power of the manager post-Wenger. Yet they are slipping back into a situation where Arteta feels infinitely more important to the bigger picture than Emery ever was. There are fewer football voices around the table, with the cuts in the scouting network and the departure of senior personnel from the data business in addition to Sanllehi’s cohort of contacts being squeezed out.

It is not the case that Arsenal are operating without input from scouts, data or contacts, but it is certainly slimmed down. As someone close to the club observed, “After what Arsenal said, that is everything they didn’t want — another Wenger situation when everything revolves around the coach.” But it speaks volumes that the other situation didn’t work out either. It reflects how much trust KSE have in Arteta that they want to try out this middle way, with plenty of onus on their young coach but with people to help and oversight in place.

What does it all mean for Edu?

Out of the shadows and into the spotlight. There is no longer any hiding place.

Edu has been able to operate in the background since returning to the club 13 months ago. As an ally of Arteta and a figure of support to the players, he has not been under much scrutiny. Now the buck stops with him and he will be more accountable for the football decisions made to support squad renovations. His job is to be more active with people outside the club and internally provide a lot of assistance to Arteta.

How will he fare in this advanced role? There is not enough evidence of his work at the club so far to judge as yet. The other question concerns his association with Joorabchian and whether his clients continue to move to Arsenal at the current rate, or if the club seek to fish in the biggest available pool. As one source close to the club pointedly put it, albeit tongue in cheek: “Batman is gone but Robin is still there.”

Another former member of staff believes Arteta’s connection with Edu is potentially crucial: “I don’t think Mikel could have saved Raul, but he can certainly save Edu. Because I think if he walks in and says, ‘Listen, I’ve got a good working relationship with this guy, he knows the mechanics of a football department…’ that carries weight. What people don’t pay much attention to is that a football department is a pretty big staff and you’ve got a lot of people coming and going. A lot of details have to be managed.”

It is significant that Fahmy, or somebody with his expertise, remains in place. Separating the football side and financial side in the world of deals and contracts is a preferred way of working now.

What does it all mean for Vinai Venkatesham?

While there was a certain sense in splitting the traditional CEO role into two, Arsenal have concluded that one leader means more coherence and efficiency. For clarity of the organisation, knowing there is one person in charge became a more obvious route to take.

Venkatesham now steps into bigger shoes at the club. He has steadily progressed up the ladder in the decade he has spent at Arsenal and is a very popular and respected figure. He has a reputation for treating situations with calmness and composure.

In the old partnership, Sanllehi was the one with charisma. Venkatesham had a reputation for integrity. Even though he is not a natural for the centre stage, he carries himself with some of that class that Arsenal like to regard as part of their heritage.

Venkatesham’s expanded role is about leading the organisation, reporting to the board, overseeing all non-football activity, being the face of Arsenal and representing the club at major events. He is tasked with making sure they run a tighter ship on and off the pitch. He has experience of running an organisation — albeit a commercial organisation — and has the ability to pull people together and work with the board.

Sanllehi’s seat on the board of the European Club Association (ECA) is not automatically inherited by someone else at the club, so Venkatesham will need to stand for election or risk Arsenal losing influence at European football’s top table. Having previously liaised closely with the ECA on various working groups, he is known in those circles, even if he does not yet have the kind of clout Sanllehi had.

He is a clear thinker and under no illusions about the work ahead. “I have been at this club for 10 years but I feel just as hungry as I did on the first day,” he told the club’s website on Sunday. “We have a huge responsibility here.”

That responsibility is shared, with Arteta and Edu in particular, over the coming weeks and beyond.


Just for @HairSprayGooners

Sanllehi, however, was a central figure in those talks. The Athletic understands he was the club’s sole negotiator in contract renewal discussions with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and that he was holding talks with Lille regarding the signing of Brazilian centre-half Gabriel Magalhaes — a signing recommended by departing chief scout Francis Cagigao — and working on a move for Atletico Madrid’s midfielder Thomas Partey. The timing of Sanllehi’s departure in this regard, in the thick of discussions during a vital transfer window, certainly raised some eyebrows in the game.
 

Macho

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When Willian joined the club, his official contract signing didn’t take place at Highbury House or the training ground, but at Joorabchian’s home. Sources insisted it was about trying to find a safe, private space with an outdoor area to respect social distancing measures and minimise any risk of spreading COVID-19. “The optics of that would have really bothered the Kroenkes”, one former staff member said.
Ayo wtf :lol:
 

Macho

Has Trust Issues With Processes
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As I had expected, Edu‘s job isn‘t completely safe either. Let‘s hope he distances himself from Kia a bit and works on creating a bigger network with other agents too.
Pretty sure he was brought on as Raul's gimp though so I am a little bit befuddled. In any case, like the article says its show and prove time for him - seems he was stealing a living a bit.

Our structure at that level is so flipping bloated man - this club is all over the place. Imagine we experienced the last 3 years just to return to the Wenger and Dick Law type set up anyways - very bizarre.
 

Makingtrax

Planes, Trains & Social Media Rants
Pretty much what some of us were saying. The Kroenkes are not stupid and these recent transfers down the Raul Kia pipeline smell of 'cosiness' rather than intelligent transfers. 3yrs for 32 yr old Willian . . . crazy, Luiz, Mari and Cedric . . waste of money.

We need a good solid CB to partner Saliba, one that is calm and keeps mistakes to a minimum, we already have a mountain of rash back up CBs.
 
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scytheavatar

Established Member
What does it all mean for Mikel Arteta?

His position is strengthening all the time. Given the impetus he has injected since his appointment, it’s hard to see that as in any way a bad thing.

It is an unsustainable thing, Arteta should have been well aware before taking the job that we ****ed up and are in our current state due to the nonsense that happened with Sanchez and Ramsey. Selling players to raise cash is something every club, big and small, does. And our inability to play the selling game as well as Liverpool/Chelsea/Sp**s does is why we are lagging behind them.
 
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