Sanllehi blames Covid for his sudden departure from Arsenal

There have been very many theories put forward as to the reasons for Raul Sanllehi’s sudden departure from Arsenal, from the overpaying of the transfer of Pepe from Lille, to his too-chummy relationship with Kia Joorabchian, but it looks now like it is being portrayed by Sanllehi as simply more cost-cutting from the Gunners after the loss of revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had massive repercussions all over the world including the football sphere.

In this short statement, which he released to Chris Wheatley at Goonertalk he admits to being “frustrated and powerless” but he seems to harbour no ill-feeling towards the club and doesn’t blame anyone for forcing him out.

Here is Sanllehi’s statement in full….

He talks about restructuring and remodeling in the new reality of Covid, so I am guessing that there will be a lot more changes to come (or downsizing may be the more correct word) on top of the scouts and the other 55 redundancies being discussed

So, what do you think of that? Does that mean he wasn’t forced out, but merely a victim of circumstances?


  1. It’s a smokescreen. I said yesterday he was on his way out. He wasn’t made redundant. AdPat had all the reasons in the article.

  2. OT.. Congrats to KDB (PL pots)… wonderful player!

    Henry is one of several candidates to replace Setien… reckon Pep will end up back there??

      1. Declan, because of Ponchettino’s close connection as a player and coach at Espanyol, he once declared he would never coach/manage their fiercest rivals Barcelona.
        Time will tell.

        1. ozzie TBH, I could not care less WHO manages Barca or Real Madrid. No manager ever stays long at either club and in both the Presidents hold all the power and both clubs are deeply unhealthily owned and run, despite the brilliant -normally- football. BARCA try to call themselves a club where fans matter but I have never bought into that myth! I loathe both clubs equally. CANT STAND ATLETICO OR THEIR UNPLEASANT MANAGER OR BORING STYLE EITHER.

  3. Every single goddamned year we are restructuring FFS!!! How long before they sack Vinai too?
    Get Ralf Rangnick FFS!!
    This club! Aaaaargh!

      1. Dude Ralf Rangnick has been Leipzig’s & Salzburg’s Director of Football since 2012… I don’t know which of the Rangnick you’re talking about. isn’t Julian Nagelsmann Leipzig’s coach?

  4. Here are 3 little sentences from Sanllehi’s statement yesterday.
    “I will continue a Gooner for the rest of my days, and I will be celebrating every goal and every title they (WE) achieve in the coming years.”


    “I said I had many contradictory feelings at this time, MANY, but I can assure you one that I DON’T have in anger.”

    And lastly

    “There is no one to blame for this, other than Covid, and the need to adapt and remodel the club’s structure to the new times.”

    Here are 2 parts of his statement when he left Barca.

    “Life goes in cycles and mine at Barcelona came to an end with the new structure of the club behind the scenes,”

    “We analysed it objectively at the club and the conclusion was that my profile didn’t fit in, which is perfectly respectable. And I say that without any acrimony — the opposite, in fact. I say it with a lot of affection for the club. I have been, I am and I always will be a Barca fan and when they play I will still say ‘we’. Always.”

    In both statements he uses restructuring as a reason. A structure is only as strong on the foundations it’s built on!
    In my opinion the the person at the top should be the one to lay the foundations and to strengthen them when they start to wobble because the person at the top has the furthest to fall.
    Kroenke is the person at the top. He is the one that appointed Sanllehi and his son Josh to look after the running of the club. Josh failed to notice what was going on (if there is anything) with Sanllehi.
    Although we would all like to see the back of Kroenke and for him to sell up I think he did what was right with Sanllehi but his son should get part of the blame (if there is any blame) to.
    Now lets get someone in to tell him he needs to put his hand in his pockets to build the foundations back up.

    1. Kroenke finally acted like a competent owner/manager, brought Tim Lewis onto the Arsenal Board to carry out an audit.
      The findings of Lewis’ audit/investigation may never see the light of day, but it was fatal for Raul Sanheili.
      As for the press releases from Sanheili, I haven’t seen such BS, since I mucked out the concrete yards at my uncle’s dairy farm. 🐂

      1. Around a month ago Sanllehi’s pal Kia Joorabchian went on Talksport and said structural changes were coming to Arsenal. 3 weeks later the club made 55 structural redundancies.
        The board must of been fuming that an outside source not only has inside knowledge on their business plans but goes onto public radio and announces it to the world.
        This was probably on Tim Lewis’s audit to bring up with Sanllehi.

        1. Dan, That is a reasonable assertion. In today’s world, organisations, whether public (govt) or private, strictly control who is allowed to talk to the media.

      2. I bet it was Josh who told his father someone was stealing from the cookie jar. The only thing to make Stan care.

  5. The club is a mess and there is no way you lose a top guy like Sanllehi in the middle of a crucial transfer window without something unplanned having occurred and I am not talking about Covid.

    I always thought Edu didn’t have the track record or experience to be technical director of a club as big as Arsenal but in the coming weeks a lot will rest on is the ability to close some key transfers.

    On the plus side hopefully, this will allow Arteta more say and that can only be a good thing in my mind.

    What a farce.


    If something fishy occurred why were the club an owner so complimentary towards Raul instead of neutral? And if nothing fishy occurred why let him quit or why fire him in the middle of a crucial transfer window?

    1. I agree with Jon below
      He was fired but allowed to walk away with a friendly wave. Nothing more awkward than having to admit that you’ve been had over.

  6. Most fans are lovely people , passionate, loyal and possessing many other good qualities too. But many lack life experience and are naive. Anyone who honestly thinks that Sanllehi was sacked, NOW, in the middle of new seasons planning , having only JUST finished last season, needs to learn how life works.

    “Restructuring” is a euphemism for sacked for misconduct; almost certainly involving misuse of funds. To think otherwise shows clear lack of knowledge of how life works. I am almost 70 and know very well how life works and I know why a director of football is suddenly gone from the club AND in the present timing too. Nothing whatever to do with Covid or saving Sanllehi’s wage! Get real, PLEASE!
    TO AVOID ALL ROUND EMBARRASSMENT, it is often done to issue a face saving but false reasoned statement for the sacking.

    1. I’ve just replied to ozziegunner’s reply to my post but it applies to yours also.
      Around a month ago Sanllehi’s pal Kia Joorabchian went on Talksport and said structural changes were coming to Arsenal. 3 weeks later the club made 55 structural redundancies.
      The board must of been fuming that an outside source not only has inside knowledge on their business plans but goes onto public radio and announces it to the world.
      This was probably on Tim Lewis’s audit to bring up with Sanllehi along with why we do so many big deals with his super agent pals.

      1. NWL DAN, yes I listen to Talksport and heard that interview. There HAS been restructuring BUT Sanllehi’s was not included. It was a sacking and it will come out soon hopefully, even though the club will as ever, try to cover its tracks and fool the fans into thinking it was part of the general restructuring . Why would the club and Kroenke publicly admit taking their eye off the ball and thus admit to all their clear gross incompetence in not identifying Rauls ahem, cough, cough, splutter, “incompetence” far sooner!

        It is quite clearly far more than accidental incompetence, unless one is either naive or thinks, like Mary Poppins, that all are sweet, sugary and nice. In the real world, life is not like that at top level Restructuring and RAUL ARE TWO ENTIRELY SEPARATE MATTERS. You are of course free to disagree, as are we all.

        1. I’m not disagreeing. I think it was that Talksport interview that started the ball rolling for Sanllehi’s dismissal. The fact that Sanllehi and Joorabchian are so close the only source for Joorabchian to get that information must of come from Sanllehi.
          Although they are good friends Sanllehi found out at his expense he had no control over what his friends say.
          That ultimately led to the Kroenkes bringing in Tim Lewis to investigate what else he was up to which also uncovered the collusion with super agents and the gross over payment for Pepe which led to his termination.
          Of course this is all speculation. It could off been someone else with loose lips who passed on the information. I suspect we will never find out the real reason.

          1. NWL Dan. So please to now know that on Raul we totally agree. I am sure the reason is as I wrote but I also am almost 100% certain the factual truth will never come out. Certainly not from the club, even if it were to eventually come out. To be fait how many of us personally would broadcast to tyhrworld our worst mistakes. Not me for sure! Clubs are no different and it would be naive to expect them to be.

            I have studied human nature and behaviour very intensely for most of my life and being in theatre I have come to know a great deal about how people are in various situations.

            Even though we are all different, thank God, we humans all share many more traits than some will ever admit .

    2. Completely right. He was allowed to keep his reputation, and Arsenal dont get embarrassed. Told to release a very nice statement about his time at Arsenal as well. 100% sacked for something dodgy.

      1. Tim Lewis a lawyer and life long Arsenal fan joined the Arsenal Board as a non executive director on 1 July 2020.. The Pepe deal, asset value losses and Sanheili’s relationship with Joorabchian (including the media leaking) probably were the red flags to KS&E.
        Sanheili didn’t walk, he got sacked and shown the door.

    1. Loose Cannon. Yes. I’ll volunteer willingly. The one condition is that you first supply me with £18 million a year until next June to use in my quest and I WILL GLADLY WORK FOR NOTHING!

  7. I think Raul has to be one our biggest letdowns!………………………he just was not as good for us as he was at Real Madrid banging in the goals !

    1. He banked plenty of those euphemistically termed “goals” into his own bank account I’d say! Each “goal” was signed by the Governor of the Bank of England, How strange, eh!

      1. 👍 jon and people have consigned George Graham to “infamy” because like many managers in his day took a “bung”. At this, poor George was an amateur compared to Sanheili and certainly did more to earn his money.

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