The real reason Raul Sanllehi decided to leave Arsenal after sending warning to board

The real reason Raul Sanllehi decided to leave Arsenal after sending warning to board
The former head of football’s departure was announced by Arsenal on Saturday (Picture: Getty)

It was Raul Sanllehi’s decision to leave Arsenal with the club’s former head of football sensing that his influence over transfers had been greatly diminished, according to reports.

The Spaniard, who was previously Barcelona’s director of football, was brought in by Ivan Gazidis in 2017 to create a structure that took control of transfers away from then manager Arsene Wenger.

But less than three years later, Sanllehi has parted ways with the Gunners to redistribute the balance of power back to current head coach Mikel Arteta, who now has the final say over all incomings and outgoings.

Mikel Arteta and Edu Arsenal v Chelsea - FA Cup Final
Arteta and Edu now hold the axis of power over Arsenal’s transfers (Picture: Getty)

Although there have been reports that it was the decision to overpay for Nicolas Pepe that brought about Sanllehi’s exit, The Telegraph claim he walked away of his own accord.

Whether he walked before he was pushed is a different matter, but the report says Sanllehi felt control of transfers had been taken out of his hands and put in those of Arteta and technical director Edu.

The former Barca chief is also said to have become ‘disillusioned’ by the club’s decision to make 55 members of staff redundant and had warned the board against doing so.

Sanllehi felt the departures of a number of important members of the recruitment and scouting teams – including Francis Cagigao, who unearthed Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin – would significantly compromise the club’s ability to make signings this summer.

However, Arsenal themselves had felt their structure behind-the-scenes had become bloated and in need of streamlining, appointing corporate lawyer Tim Lewis to oversee a review, and Sanllehi was likely to be axed in favour of an axis of Edu and Arteta to decide transfers.

Brazilian technical director Edu will now take on a bigger role in speaking to clubs and agents, while the duo will report to Vinai Venkatesham for transfer and wage budgets, with the managing director absorbing Sanllehi’s other responsibilities.

Raul Sanllehi Mikel Arteta Edu Arsenal Unveil New Head Coach Mikel Arteta
Sanllehi opposed the massive wave of staff cuts Arsenal announced recently (Picture: Getty)

Speaking after his exit, the Spaniard said: ‘I’m proud and pleased with the contribution I’ve made at Arsenal over the past three years, and look forward to enjoying the club’s future success. Arsenal is a true footballing institution.

‘I am proud to have been part of its history and I thank Stan and Josh Kroenke for this opportunity. Working with Vinai, we have built a top team for the future. Mikel has made an extremely positive impact since his arrival and has formed a strong team with our technical director, Edu.

‘The academy is in very safe hands with Per, and Huss Fahmy is a talented and highly-capable leader of our football operations. Personally, I now look forward to taking some time off and spending time with family and friends before setting to work on a new challenge and cheering Arsenal on to great things.’

MORE: Vinai Venkatesham makes statement on Arsenal transfers after Raul Sanllehi exit

MORE: Ian Wright sends message to Arsenal board over Mikel Arteta following Raul Sanllehi’s departure

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

No comments