Confirmed: Raul Sanllehi joins Arsenal

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Arsenal have confirmed that Raul Sanllehi will join the club as head of football relations in February.

The Spaniard joins the Gunners after 14 years at Barcelona and will lead future player negotiations in a role that effectively fills the gap left by Dick Law.

Arsenal have drawn attention to the fact that Sanllehi will work alongside Arsene Wenger, Ivan Gazidis and Huss Fahmy, who joined in the summer. He’ll also have day-to-day involvement with Sven Mislintat, our new head of player recruitment, who’ll be moving to London in the coming days from Borussia Dortmund.

Speaking about the new appointment, Ivan Gazidis said: “In the past three years we have supplemented our team with more top-class expertise across every aspect of our football operations.

“Raul’s appointment is another important step in developing the infrastructure we need at the club to take everything we do to the next level. Raul has extensive contacts across the football world and has been directly involved in some of the biggest transfers in Europe in recent years. We look forward to him bringing that expertise to Arsenal.”

What this means for Arsene Wenger’s future remains to be seen. Could the boss be pondering an early exit this summer?

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52 Comments on "Confirmed: Raul Sanllehi joins Arsenal"

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Da Boss

Interesting times! I find their wording of ‘work alongside AW’ and also his title of ‘Director of Football Relations’ fairly poignant. Good appointment though by the looks of things.

Connoisseur

I’ve been contemplating this for a while, and it would make a perfect sense for AW to go out on a high if Arsenal were to win Europa league. Not only leaving a winner, but also easier for the new manager to build a team without Alexis and Ozil, rather than rely on Wenger’s immediate solution.
Then again, it would mean that Arsene got to call the shots, and he’s unlikely to leave prematurely if that’s still the case.
It seems to me Gazidis is really gaining influence. Should it get the critical mass, AW’s days at the club may indeed be numbered.

Da Boss

I genuinely can’t see AW leaving before the 2 years, rightly or wrongly.

I think this is paving the way for the long term succession, as Blogs always says, the vacuum when AW does go will be huge, so mitigating that to a certain extent with the appointment of the fella from Dortmund and also this chap – at least this is acknowledgement that the change will happen, if not now then later.

What I will be interested to see is if changes are made closer to home, i.e. any of the first team coaching staff or a Steve Bould replacement. I very much doubt that though.

Dave M

I’ll argue that the vacuum would be huge if the club weren’t ready…and until this season they seemed to not even give it a thought, which showed a complete lack or forsight and poor management. About time people started doing their jobs.

Should Arsenal prepare, like setting up a proper management structure (not just the kind of monarchy structure built around Wenger – for right or wrong), which includes seeking out and discussing with potential candidates, then the transition should be fine. There are a lot of brilliant football minds out there, but the structure at Arsenal has lead to staleness and hasn’t brought the best out of Wenger over arguably the last 5 year (maybe more) because he CANNOT be challenged. He is surrounded by yes men, not opinions and analysts

Arsenal always

Oh here we go again. 3 out of 4 FA cups isn’t good enough. He is absolutely the best thing to have ever happened to our club, but ‘The Scum’ tells us we are rubbish and we, somehow believe it. Everybody bangs on about those shitey (it probably should be a word) old spuds and Liverpool and how great they are. Well they’re not cornering the market in silver polish. This is like watching all that media crap about Jeremy Corbin. I see some of these comments from guys who don’t remember when we were not so good and then good and then leapt to being superb. The latter due to just one man. A trophy every year (almost) is plenty for me. Especially while pinnochio’s boys have nothing.

Da Boss

You’ve basically reiterated what I just said. Fair play for finding different words though.

Ad-O

Wenger’s time is coming to a close, but this could just as much be about the disastrous contract situations our club finds itself in with players. And our chronic failures in recruitment. Even Stan will sit up and take notice when £150mil walks out the door in June.

thw14

There is a decent chance he does leave, if you consider his statement a week or so ago that the Board and him will review the question at the end of the season. It’s certainly different from his previous assertiveness that he stays the length of his contract.

It doesn’t mean that he leaves come what may, but there is a performance level below which it is unlikely he stays (consider no FA Cup or Europa success and a place outside the top 4, for example). This is bound to be an unpopular opinion considering we just broke into the top 4, but that scenario is more likely than not.

So I agree that these are long-term minded appointments, but we’re six months away from a decision point – that is the long term. Talking to other managers on the shortlist with a view to completing the transition in June is the smart thing to.

Dave

Why? He could have left after any of the cup wins. It’s pretty obvious he DOES NOT WANT TO LEAVE. He can’t go out on a high, because the only way he goes is if he’s told to go, and that won’t happen afyer a high. Hell, it hasn’t even happened following a low.

Michael Bolton Wanderers
Michael Bolton Wanderers

This makes me hopeful that Wenger’s time is indeed up after this contract. 10 years ago I couldn’t have imagined feeling happy about that

Ad-O

It’s pretty interesting stuff going on behind the scenes. IMHO it was suicide not to cash in on Ozil and Sanchez. Especially considering the number of other guys going into their final year this coming summer. How this plays into Ivan finally growing a pair, I guess we’ll never know.

Martin

It wasn’t suicide not to sell them as it benefits us to keep our best 2 players for the rest of the season and we wouldn’t have got anywhere near what they are worth. They could help us win a trophy and a gain a top 4 place. We are not short of money

Ad-O

Ozil and Sanchez will sign pre-contracts at other clubs in Jan and we’ll both just have to wait and see how motivated they are after that. One good win over Spurs doesn’t make a season. IMO we had to cash in and spend it on players that want to play for Arsenal. Lemar wanted to come and Monaco wanted to sell for half the money we offered on deadline day. That is a fuck up in anyone’s language.

Jimbo Jones

Not exactly sure why people disagree with this? Its quite obvious that this is a highly likely scenario. Its highly unusual for any club to let players run down their contracts, nearly always they are sold unless the player refuses to go. Its just bad business.

“one volunteer is worth ten pressed men.” or something like this….

Nketibag

1. You seriously think Arsene would step down with 1 year left when his team has just won a European trophy.. and the confidence that would bring into the next season?
2. This doesn’t strike me as Wenger’s days are numbered. To ensure a smooth transition from AW to post-AW there needs to be a sufficient overlap of the two eras. These recent acquisitions are clearly being put in place to ensure that, so I would say they would need 1 season minimum with Arsene still in charge to get to grips with the club.

Kampala gooner

All I can say it’s good to see things happening behind the scenes. All this nonsense of the power shift in North London was beginning to turn my insides

Goonerink

Tbh it’s seems to me like the club are cutting wengers(aka the managers) duties ready for when we replace the ‘manager’ with a ‘coach’. Meaning these guys jobs for the next year will mainly be bedding in and getting to grips with everything arsenal. Their real work starting when wenger hands the baton onto Owen coyle or Roberto martinet.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Wenger deserves a documentary when he leaves. Anything less would be uncivilized.

Paul

Sounds good. Let’s hope he works out and we take a step up.

Hereford Gooner

Bonus. Clearly the system has been broken for a few years, I am glad that we are finally being proactive in fixing it

Hereford Gooner

It feels like our dictatorship is becoming more of a democracy, and this is very necessary for our forthcoming “transitional period” when the great man finally decides it’s time to hang up the sleeping bag coat

Badaab

It’s still a silent dictatorship, run by the billionaire with a bad hairpiece.

Benis

Did they check his DNA before signing him?

GunnerdareMKD

DNA all good as he quit barca he was not fiered.

Maybe he will.convinece now ozil or alexos to sign new deal.

Ozenal

on StatsDNA?

Declan M

Looks like AW won’t be ‘moving upstairs’ when he finally does call it a day then, unless it’s to replace Sir Chups.

Declan M

Chips. Mmmmmmm chips.

Chip

Yes?

MTZ

Two very interesting back-room signings. It will be very interesting to see how this turns out. We really should have started this process sooner, but better late than never, as I was fearing that Wenger would leave without anything being in place.

Rebeldispatch

3 months in Costa Rica will soften his cough

Bacary Lasagna

Does this truly mean an early Wenger exit this summer? I wouldn’t Raul it out.

Glocken

It’s taken years and far too long but we seem to be moving in the right direction.

Not having a go at him, but some control has finally been wrestled from Arsene.

For years we moaned at our injury record, how so many players could be out with the same injuries and it took a big push (and investment) to recruit Shad Fosythe & his team, there is no doubt we have improved in this area.

Likewise, relying on Arsene for all football matters was way behind the times, to his credit he got a lot of things right, but there’s no denying his powers have wained in recent years.

Modern forward thinking football clubs need a great infrustrcture, look at Bayern, Madrid, Dortmund, Chelsea etc. We finally seem to be catching up, let’s hope all these additions and infrastructure changes help Arsene this season and the club in the seasons to come.

Rich

I can’t see how being involved in the biggest transfers in world football is going to help us?
We rarely go with a plan… are generally reactionary and aren’t keen on spending the required sums to do the required business.

Coquelin in the new Beckenbauer
Coquelin in the new Beckenbauer

well isn’t the whole point to change that ethos?

Ozenal

Ivan mentioned transfers. Good to see that the club identified the increased percentage of failed transfers in last few seasons and shambolic handling of contracts when Ozil and Sanchez signed until 2018.

Not sure if it needs a genius to work out you should sign Ozil to 2017 and Sanchez to 2018 to avoid being put over a barrel when it comes to renegotiating a contract. Or only having two star players rather than several.

Let’s hope he changes this ethos in the club and the board actually change their profit based confirmation bias.

ramgooner

Finally! feels like we have plugged the HUGE gap left by David Dein.
First objective: Renew Alexis and Ozil contracts.

Hope....

Could these guys bring some weight into negotiations with Ozil and Alexis and convince them to stay?

ramgooner

At the very least i expect them to call their agents’ bluff. Dick Law, Wenger and Steve Rowley were probably on the same wavelength and probably agents had it easy but now these guys will surely bring in a new dynamic.
Dortmund have made some fantastic VFM signings in the past and a guy like Sanllehi would probably add finishing touches to a deal.
Pretty sure we won’t be seeing another 40 million+1 pound bid. Haha.

Gus Caesar

Unlikely i’d say, given that Sanllehi won’t be joining until February when both can already sign pre-contracts elsewhere. But you never know – i’m never sure whether these stories are true or not but Dick Law was said to have knocked the Ozil contract of course so maybe someone new might change relations.

Jacob

7amKickOff has predicted Wenger will leave in the summer for a while. Appointments like this make that seem more likely. Either way, we’re in a much, much better position now than we were when we signed Arsene for another 2 years in the summer. Things are looking up.

Paul Washika

Raul, here you will be abused forever no matter what good you do (ask Ramsey) praised no matter how bad you are( ask wilshere) the media will brand you names and we will agree with them (ask ozil) but others fans are lovely, friendly and supportive. You must hate Mike Dean, Jose Mourinho and that shit club across the street (sp*rs), and that’s why this is a unique and the best football club on earth. Welcome to The Arsenal.

dr Strange

The thing is. If Arsene could give his full attention to the footballing side of his job, managing players, tactics, training, preparation and skip the contracts, economy, scouting it might mean that Wenger stays on longer.

I’ve long felt he’s taking on way to much work and that it’s seariously affecting his ability to get the most out of his squad. I wan’t a change in management but I do like and respect Wenger immensely and if he takes advantage of the changes being made it might give him the energy to get 100 % out of the team.

Is this something that I wan’t? No. I wan’t a new manager, a reboot of the club that can unite the fanbase and take us to the “next” level where we should be.

Is it something I would be against? No not really if the correct changes are made. But that also means a big overhaul of the coaching staff with new ideas and that Wenger does a Alex Ferguson and evolve with the game and thats something that won’t happen.

ramgooner

If Wenger calls Mourinho asking for United’s best player then Wenger will have evolved into Ferguson.
Wenger>Ferguson.
Wenger is the real Godfather, the original gangster.

Ad-O

Well, well, well. Shad Forsythe, Mislintat and now a DOF. Seems Ivan isn’t totally useless after all.

Gus Caesar

I’m not going to claim that this is a good appointment because I just don’t know. Some people read where he’s come from and automatically assume that he must be good at his job and that this must be a good appointment but Barcelona have hardly been the wisest in the transfer market down the years (Song, Hleb, Vermaelen – need I say any more?). It’s certainly exciting though as it’s the first time since Wenger was in charge that there has been so much change to club personnel.

Goonerink

Suarez, neymar, ter stegen.

Gus Caesar

You ran out of top signings after 2 players then?! Spending over the odds on two players at one of the biggest clubs in the world is hardly testament to great work. Besides, neither of us know what his actual involvement was in any of these deals.

I’m not saying he won’t be great but it’s funny how quickly people fight for someone they’d barely heard of a week ago because of, let’s face it, simple excitement.

shokim

Will this be the first time that Arsene will not be honouring his contract? Maybe not seeing eye to eye with Ivan Gazidis is finally taking its toll. Interesting times…

Andrew

I’m about to put a sizeable bet on Wenger stepping down as manager at the end of this season. ?

Sal

I don’t want Arsene to leave ever… feeling really sad at the prospect. Love the man. Don’t care about shiny pots, “bragging rights”, or reflected glory ?

Arsenal always

Yes . He is proper Arsenal. The only man to have loved Arsenal more than Tony Adams. And he deserves so much more than our poor fans (with just the three trophies in 4 years ) give him.

Girouds Lovely Locks

Catalyst for change?