What does Sanllehi’s departure mean for Arsenal going forward?

Raul Sanllehi has left the building by Konstantin Mitov

Well, well, lovely Arsenal people, hello to you all. Raul Sanllehi has just left the club and it makes me quite happy honestly. All of this happens just a couple of days after we signed Willian, with news coming on that very same day we were investigating our Pepe transfer and the money we paid for him.

It’s really hard not to suggest these things are connected. There are rumours that Sanllehi had connections over at Lille and that this led to us paying more to sign Pepe even though Unai Emery preferred to being in Zaha. Now, I am not a person sitting behind the scenes to know this, but if true it’s a good enough reason to get rid of him.

Also, we brought 3 players from KIA (Joorabchian) recently, which wasn’t really Arsenal’s way of doing things. Sure, we needed a change, and sometimes these super agents can give you an exceptional player, but Cedric, Willian at 32 and Luiz aren’t exactly setting the world alight.

Raul was brought by Ivan Gazidis, three years ago, to be the footballing person in a three-man leadership with Ivan and Sven Mislintat. One left for Milan and the other was forced out by Raul. Funnily enough the German made remarks about Arsenal having too many scouts and how we should move to a more modern data driven approach. With Arsenal making a clear-out in the scouting department and Raul out the door, he is kind of vindicated.

Some rumours also suggest that Raul brought in Unai Emery and that was the reason it took us so long to sack him after he failed us. Again this is just speculation, but he was definitely part of the people making the decision and this set us back another 18 months, because we were interested in Arteta back then and at the last moment we changed our minds.

After all is said and done, we’re left with Edu as the strong footballing person and Vinai V. It’s interesting if Arteta is going to now have a stronger influence of the players we bring in? It’s also interesting if we are moving back to a more similar way of things to the Wenger days.

Ivan Gazidis wanted to implement a new system where power is distributed so we do not see another situation where everything at the club hangs on one person (Wenger at the time). Now, with him and the personnel he employed all gone, we are done with the Gazidis-Wenger era on board level.

The final legacy left are players like Mustafi, Ozil, Xhaka and Bellerin and the soft underbelly of the side. The good news is that we now have a head coach that has shown promise he can turn things around and has united the fans, and delivered us an FA cup in the most difficult of circumstances from all the 4 we won this decade.

If we now back him in the market, sell a few unused players and remove some off-field distractions, I think we can start thinking about only the footballing side of things at Arsenal and head to a brighter future.



  1. Does this mean ozil could possibly get back in the starting line-up since Arteta now has a say in how he wants to run the team, because arteta clearly spoke about the qualities of ozil and what he’s capable of doing, before everything went South during the pandemic because of refusing a pay-cut

    1. Arteta has always picked the team and would not have accepted influence from Raul or anyone else regarding who should or shouldn’t be playing. No self respecting manager would work under those conditions.

      1. Quite right Declan
        This idea that Arteta had to drop Ozil to appease Raul or anyone else is a non starter for me.
        His integrity would be shot to pieces and his decision making from then on would be tarnished

        1. Sue only time would tell, why is the board keen on selling Maitland Niles after arteta said he’s a player he wants, I think the reason why Raul left was to have a clear voice at the top, which means there has been disagreements between Raul, edu and Arteta on how we move forward, now Edu and Arteta would work closely on the technical affairs of the club.

          1. Arteta on ozil

            “I know him really well so I am not surprised. I know the ability [he has], the player we have there. Also, the structure has to help him for him to be able to [use] everything that he has.”

            “On his own he cannot do it. He needs the collective structure, organisation and his team-mates. Nowadays there are only one or two players in the world that can do something on their own.

            “He needs help and the team to play in a certain way to facilitate and take his strengths more and more every time in the games. That is what we are trying to do.”

          2. I have read both of your posts with interest

            I’m thrilled that Arteta and Edu will be coordinating transfers and targets. I’m not convinced it was all about a power struggle with Raul (though that may of course have been going along in tandem) rather that the club were delving into financial mismanagement from Sanllehi. No doubt lots of things going on in the background

            I hope AMN stays but cannot see how Ozil has a future beyond next summer especially if Arteta has to build those types of players around him that could make Ozil flourish. It’s too late in his career I’d have thought for that, but happy to see a rejuvenated Ozil if that is Arteta’s intention.

          3. @Hydrogen, what date is that quote from? Sounds like it was the beginning of his tenure when he gave everyone a clean slate.

          4. AMN will only go now, if Arteta can’t convince him to extend his contract and stay. AMN wants more playing time.
            A head coach must have say in who stays or goes, goes on loan or who is transferred in.
            Hopefully Arteta and Edu are working on strengthening Arsenal’s spine, including a more combative midfield, in which case Ozil’s opportunities will be limited.

    2. Don’t know how Raul’s sacking may affect our transfers this summer, but one thing I keep saying is Raul wanted to get rid of AMN in order to sanction probably a 45mln+ pound for 17yr old Joelson. He fought Arteta on the sale of AMN and if he had stayed, one of our brightest young stars would have gone for sure. He’s going may just mean AMN stays coz Arteta wants him to stay. I want Coutinho to come to the Emirates but if it means we are paying more than we should like we did with Pepe, I’d rather not have him, Raul would have made us pay even 50mln for a years loan. So far, the transfer window is going okay, only thing remaining is getting Ozil out the window with his bloated salary especially if he is not even going to play a minute of football, h might as well leave and let us use that money on more transfers and ensuring that the players who want to play play and get their deserved salaries. Oh yeah he should also take Guendouzi with him while he’s still at it

        1. It will be interesting to see exactly what happens regarding Ozil now.
          Perhaps the “dark forces” he referred to, was actually Sanllehi?
          That makes sense, especially if one considers that Sanllehi wanted any criticism directed away from him.

          As for the quote, MA certainly backed up his words and thoughts, right up to the corona virus and pay cut saga.
          As he has only been in the hot seat for seven months, three of which were virus affected, it really should be viewed as a current view.

          Let’s just see what pans out for all of our players, AMN – Guendozi – Ozil Leno/Martinez plus any transfers both in and out.

          I think we will know see EXACTLY what MA wants to do, without the agenda of Sanllehi. affecting him.

  2. Okay…I called Unai Emery, I called Raul, I got both on point. Like it or not, I’m telling you right now Vinai V is worse, he’s a complete clown, Clueless human being. Just in case you don’t know, Vinai was our chief commercial officer from 2010, when we were nakig UCL. The clown couldn’t get us good external deals, sponsorship. We were losing up to 20 million pounds every year from deals alone, Liverpool who were in the Europa were made the said 20milllion pounds by partnering with Standard Chartered. We were in the UCL and this fraud couldn’t get good commercial deals. Tottenham were making £8.5 million with Europa.
    Arsenal’s yearly was £6 million.
    Schalke 04 made £17.5 million per year from their Gazprom deal.
    FFS we were in the UCL and this man with Masters degree in Economics got us shîtty deals.
    He has not football knowledge. He’s a clown, he was Raul’s best friend and second hand man. How TF did all of these shady deals slipped pass Vinai? Is he that incompetent or he was working with Raul.
    If only Arsenal are serious enough and want to properly turn this club around from the top.
    They should go buy out Ralf Rangnick from Leipzig.
    That man is one of the smartest and competent DOF out there, bit knowing Arsenal, we are stuck with a clown, from Gazidis to a fraud, to an even worse fraud/clown.
    Why TF you think they’re leaving all the technical decisions with Edu and Arteta now?

    1. If you look at the club’s list of non playing staff it is horrendous, as well as almost 100 players on the payroll for just 3 teams.

      More departures are required at all levels.

    2. Isn’t he also the one who fell for the fake car sponsorship? I’ve also heard he is a clown and not very good at his job. Hoping for the best and that he just lets Edu and Arteta go about their business.

  3. Good Article. Things are starting to look abit clearer as to what Arsenal are doing behind the scenes. It does look like we are going in the direction again, like Wenger with Mikel now, as to who HE wants to play in his team or who can make an impact from the get go in his system. Raul telling Unai or Arteta who he will be coaching does not work.

    The next few dealings with players leaving is crucial to what money we have to spend. Only business we have done is loan Miki & Dino out to free wages up for Willian coming on a free transfer. I think good business, Also Saliba is here to shore up the back.

    We also have Saka/Martinelli on new deals and Auba close to a new deal so signs are looking positive on that front of keeping the players who make a difference and will take us forward. Martinez & Leno going to be a hard one for Mikel to decide but a nice problem to have.

    We need a beast of a Defensive Midfielder and I believe that Partey is that man but if we are priced out then a swap deal involving Torreira for Diarra from Roma (gossip) and maybe that’ll fill the gap until we get more funds for next summer and hopefully a Top4 Finish Or we sell Lucas plus Matteo and go straight for Partey.

    Cabellos should be bought also or loaned to a permanent deal next summer.

    I think that’s the sort of business we will be doing now Mikel gets to decide who he wants and doesnt want.

    Exciting times… next thing I want to read is when Dagote is buying Arsenal. Hopeful wishing.

  4. Questions should have been asked when Raul bought in Emery ,Bringing in a sub par coach when the club was already in Turmoil with the fans because of the last 12 months on Arsenes reign.
    It was quite obvious at the time that this was Rauls appointment,In the interview process No one but Raul could speak Spanish but all of them came out and said they were inspired by Emery ,how could that be when Raul was translating to them ?.
    Then it took a run of 7 winless games to actually get rid of Emery again because this came down to Raul but he should have been sacked way way before all this happened .
    A very dodgy bloke who oversaw Barca’s most productive years but left that club in a state behind the scenes .
    Hopefully now we can get in someone who is in touch with the Arsenal way like some others have said the way Liverpool go about their business.

    1. Even after we missed out on CL in the league and were thrashed in the EL final.. Raul wanted to give Emery another contract!!!
      Very dodgy goings on, Dan, let’s hope this is an end to it

      1. Apparently sue they wanted him gone 4weeks before we finally got rid but RAul had final say .
        Your right in the contract extension which was a joke aswell missing out on CL football was more embarrassing than that final .
        I saw a interview where Raul said that Emery painted beautiful football 😂I mean if conceding 30 shots a games is beautiful then I’m lost for words .

        1. Bloody hell, Dan!! Was gonna say maybe he needed to get down to specsavers, but he already wears glasses 😂
          I’m so glad conceding 30 shots is a thing of the past… that was a spell where I didn’t enjoy watching us at all and prayed we’d be put out of our misery!!

    2. I AM WONDRING IF Gazidis and Sanllehi were two corrupt twins separated at birth. So many similarities!

  5. There’s something nasty in the woodshed at Arsenal and I’m not convinced this will have changed. Just who are the ‘dark forces’ Ozil talks about?
    Have all the clique who seem to have let agents in to run Arsenal’s transfer policy now been removed?
    I fear there may be more to be discovered which will make George Graham’s brown paper envelopes look like pocket money.

  6. Should investigate all the money we have wasted. Should also investigate the people that were involved in the £350,000 a week con game.
    But paying £70 million for Pepe was curious.
    And paying a 32 year old £200,000 a week for 3 years?

    Something went completely wrong.

  7. If we had hired Arteta at the time Unai took over,he too would have failed.The extra one season and half season that MA got under Pep was immensely important.And i beleive even in himself,he must have remained with the belief that soon arsenal would come calling again.

    1. Then we should have keep Wenger on till Arteta was ready ,a very odd choice at the time and now an event odder one ,that appointment as now set us back even more ,weird how some fans still back Emery to this day but would never give the same backing to Wenger ,like they don’t want to admit they were wrong .

      1. It was a case of damned if you do it,damned if you dont.Wenger was past his sale-by date.Fans had stopped coming to the stadium and you have to remember that those fans bring in atleast 7Million pounds gross per game day.So he had to go.But at that point who among the managers who were out of jobs could have taken on Arsenal and bring on immediate success?Henry wouldnt have,Viera wouldnt have,Arteta wasnt ready,Mourhino isnt doing any better with the Hei Hei.Me i beleive Unai was a good place-holder

        1. Nice one knight. See the same fans complaining now where the same once that chanted “we’ve got our arsenal back” when we came from behind and beat the spuds 4-2. Including a 22 game unbeaten run for your first season. Beating the likes of napoli and valencia both home and away. I’m not of the opinion that emery was a bad choice. He just somehow lost the dressing room. Injury wasn’t also his best friend. He didn’t manage the ozil situation as good as Arteta is handling it now. Maybe it was all down to the language barrier. But don’t tell me someone who won the europa league 3 times in a row was a bad choice. He was darn good and he’ll prove it with villa real. If wenger had stayed on, we would be worse off.

          1. Hi Kstix

            Emery did start well but things did unravel in the spring, culminating in the poor showing in Baku and poor form to lose out on CL. In my mind, he did lose the dressing room which speaks volumes to me. Maybe it was the language, but surely there must have been interpreters. Bellerin is Spanish. I agree with you that AW had lost his way after such great service to the club, and whilst Emery was a success in the EL he didn’t do so well in Paris. Perhaps Spain is where he is best suited.
            Oh well, that part of our history is behind us and I really do think that Arteta is the real deal

          2. Emery was and will prove, he still is a good coach. It was ridiculous to bring in a head coach to Arsenal, who was unable to communicate well in the English language, with the requirements of communication with multi lingual players, staff, the fans and media responsibilities.
            As for Arteta coming in earlier, he would have faced the same issues that Emery did with lack of support in the transfer market to get the players he wanted; no Partey, no Zaha, no decent CB for that season. Prior to Sanheili leaving Arteta apparently had the same issue with the proposed sale of AMN against Arteta’s wishes.
            Plus Arteta would have faced the same problems with injuries impacting availability for selection.

  8. The sacking of Raul Sanllehi, is the first step for Arsenal in the right direction. Arteta must now be allowed to decide which players arsenal need to buy or sell and the board job should be to facilitate the transfer swiftly. I was always suspicious of the way arsenal transfers were done recently, in particular with Raul and super agent Joorabchian, who, seemed to be imposing himself on arsenal at will with his clients. Like, the coach had no say. Throughout all that transpired, Arteta was very diplomatic and has remained focused on the needs of the team. In our quest to get back competing for major silverware again, the board and owners must splash the cash and get the players, Arteta desire asap. Arsenal deals take too long to complete. That has to change. Please just give us Gabriel(cb-27m),Aouar(cm-44m)Carlos (cb-44m)and Diawara (dm-20m)=125m pounds and Arteta’s Arsenal will win the 2020-21 EPL. If,Stan Kroenke, put this money up for the transfers, he will recoup all of it from(10) players sale =147m pounds.

    1. Apparently we offered 44m plus Guendouzi for Aouar – rejected!
      I bet they’ll want to keep hold of him after that performance last night!

      1. Sue even de bruyne was impressed by him. Bet his price just sky rocketed. That’s the consequence of dilly dallying. Imagine we got him before now.

          1. Sue and kstix, given the financial fallout from Covid19, clubs want to sell players for money so they can bring in other players they need.

  9. I think this can only be a good thing. Arteta (any manager) needs to be able to control everything involved in running a team even transfers

    This will also reveal how good Arteta is by seeing who he gets and who he offloads

    Still buzzing after FA Cup win. Really saved our season

    1. Completely agree with your point about a manger/coach must be able to say who he wants or not, after all he is the one picking the team. Can’t understand why any club would want to force a player on the manager if he doesn’t think he will fit in with his plans. The manager/coach must have the sole decision on who the club buys.

  10. Konstantine, a very good article – perhaps you and I see light at the end of the tunnel at long last?

    Two points to add, that I think are relevant to the discussion.

    First of all, there was never a hint of wrong doing under AW, something we should all remember.
    If that means we go back to that way under MA, I’m all for it.

    Secondly, the players you mention are all under the wing of MA and we HAVE to get behind him and his decisions.

    I urge everyone to read Eddie’s post and what he states and implies – I agree with his views completely.

    Once again Konstantine, an excellent article, thanks.

  11. All what is going on at Arsenal is restructuring and streamlining, it an American thing that you act as quick as possible and a lot of American business is run like that. Im not saying its a good thing, i know first hand how Americans run business but it is typical American. They pay people off and with idea they are leaner and ready to go for the next stage of running, in this case Arsenal. It isn’t necessarily good but it is a way of getting rid of staff that are deemed excess at this moment. Next year, we will look different again, over the last three years, it has been like a revolving door or appointments and releases. I have said it before, we wont be the only club to trim down but we are the first. This next few months will see similar at other clubs but we may not be so aware because they will do it their way and we aren’t really interested in other clubs. It is the times we are in that is fuelling it, nothing else.

    1. Plus remember, revenues are going to be hit hard next season, probably no crowds, or reduced, we rely on that revenue more than most. There will be no money in football next year and probably the year after. Spuds are right in the doo doo, big style.

      1. Reggie
        You don’t not buy into the rumour that he was sacked for discrepancies over the Pepe transfer?

        1. Sue, im not in any opinion about that, it is all a rumour, nothing more at this stage. Im not saying that Sanlehi wasn’t involved in bad deals, he obviously was but i also think he is in a position that he can be easily got rid of. American business men dont like “non producers” and they become targets when it gets tight, i just think he was a target that got shot.

          1. Reggie, it wasn’t just the Pepe transfer. I have given my detailed. opinion on previous articles.
            Tim Lewis was only appointed to the Board on 1 July 2020; six weeks later Sanheili is gone.
            In support of ken1945, the one thing you could say about Arsene Wenger is that he is an honest man. Unfortunately his wife may argue.

          2. Ozzie very true, his style was a problem, using super agents and paying over the odds for bad deals.


    I am so certain that RS was sacked for misusing our funds that I am prepared to break my usual habit of never accusing someone without firm evidence, on a public forum.


    Far more importantly though, is the likelhood that now MA and Edu will have far more direct control of all ins and outs. For sure RS was conducting agent led business for his own ends, above the clubs needs. That is now gone and so better days lie ahead. The fact that , albeit far too late, Kroenke senior has taken action to clean up this financial mess is a rare hopeful sign from him.

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