What is Raul Sanllehi’s role in Aaron Ramsey’s contract withdrawal?

Do You Trust Raul Sanllehi? by Dan Smith

A week ago it was believed it was Unai Emery’s decision for negotiations to be ended with Aaron Ramsey. Yet our manager has since insisted the issue is between the player and the club, he will just worry about events on the pitch and judge Rambo like he would anyone else in the squad.

What we do know is Arsenal’s change of heart coincided with Raul Sanllehi’s promotion from head of football relations to head of football, putting him in charge of contracts. For months the Welshmen’s agent had been finalising a deal which all parties had shaken on. The person he would have been talking to …. Ivan Gazidis. Why was someone, knowing full well he is joining AC Milan, was making decisions that impact our future? This is the same gentlemen who was pictured walking on the Emirates grass telling our new boss how great this new direction would be. So it’s safe to say if our chief executive hadn’t moved to Italy, the Ramsey family would be toasting the birth of their twins with a massive pay rise.

It is kind of fitting to the old regime’s legacy though that as he starts his new role in Serie A, he just had to let one more contract run down to the point of almost no value being left.

Sanellehi was director of football for 10 years at Barcelona, so can handle himself. In one of his first public speeches with select gooners, he said one of his proudest achievements at the Nou Camp, was seeing how many stars graduated
from their academy. He explains this formula works because you then have 4 or 5 of your 11 with Barca in their blood, this infects the love of the badge to everyone else. Going by that criteria, he would much rather promote from our youth set up than put another 200,000 pound on the wage bill. Is this part of his new job description? Is he smartly telling his peers what they want to hear? Either way, it’s music to Stan Kroenke’s ears.

While the Silent One sits in the US counting his money, over in England, one of his most powerful employees has a vision which ensures the American doesn’t need to put his hand in his pocket. His first month in the role and he’s got an action plan where we save money by telling a player he can go and has managed to put a PR spin on it, making supporters think it’s good. He can even sell the commercial opportunities of British kids being promoted to the senior squad – that will sell even more shirts? His formula of course worked in Spain. But when he refers to that generation, it includes a certain Messi, Iniesta, Pique, Fabregas, Xavi, etc. Trust me, he had nothing to do with their development and it doesn’t take a genius to look at a 16 year old Messi and conclude he had talent. Find me a Messi in our under age groups and I’ll rip up our owners cheque book myself.

With the Catalans though Sanllehi was always under pressure to deliver. If he had to spend millions, sack managers, make the brand marketable, he would, or else those around him wouldn’t stand for it. At the great institutions, pressure gets the best out of people. Compared to that, his remit in London is a doddle. No demands to win titles or make impact in Europe, no list of targets you have to sign before certain deadlines. As long as the business is making a profit, he can put his feet up.

So, who is Raul Sanllehi ?
The man who stood up to an overrated midfielder, refusing to pay over the odds?
A visionary for giving the youth a chance?
Or …. Just another suit who knows ways to minimise outgoings on behalf of Mr Kroenke?

Dan Smith


  1. Joe says:

    I guess time will tell if he’s right or wrong and history will then judge him.

    1. Enagic says:

      How many times Sanllehi he needs to prove?
      He did that for over 10 years at Barcelona and Ramsey is just another overrated local boy he needs to go

      1. ozziegunner says:


  2. Sheet head says:

    Somehow, I believe in Sanllehi, Sven and Emery. I perceive that they have objectives and ambitions which relate to both football progress and fans satisfaction. The former combo of Gazidis and Wenger also had ambitions but I don’t think they were related to the fans.

    1. ken1945 says:

      Dan, it’s funny how the real facts emerge only when a person/player leave the club.
      I am talking here of Gazidis, who was seen as the brains behind the ousting of one legend and was being tipped to become one himself.
      What he did do, by all accounts, was to bring in Sven, Raul and Huss (dubbed the three wise men) and of course Unai Emery.
      Now we all have our own personal opinions about Gazidis, but good or bad, that looks to be his only positive legacy for the club.
      BUT it is a positive legacy as we can see.

      If one sits down and thinks about it, Arsenal Football Club is just about the most completely different club as one could imagine compared to last season.
      New owner, new coach, new backroom staff and only the old board minus the CEO to be replaced.
      What other club has EVER gone through this incredible change of personnel in just one close season and with the success that we have seen to date?
      Not one that I can remember.
      Yet here we are, full of optimism, excitement and belief in this new regime.
      Has this AMAZING achievement been recognised by anyone other than our own fanbase? Of course not and why? Because it’s Arsenal.
      The vote is out on Kronkie, time will tell, along with the appointment (if one is made)of a new CEO.
      Whenever anyone leaves a position, the response always seems to be that the business will be better off without that person. There is never any real positivity about any actual achievements made by the individual concerned.
      That’s what I feel about Gazidis, but I have to admit he has set up our club for a really exciting future.

      In my opinion, we can only really guess as supporters, who is responsible for this or that within the club, as was the case before our “revolution”, but let’s just reflect on the new landscape, and appreciate the new found optimism these changes have made.

      1. jon fox says:

        Nice post Ken. But do you really think the vote(or jury as they say, )is still out on Kroenke)? I found him guilty of gross harm of our club about a decade ago. I can see it no other way, when a filthy rich owner cares nothing for the club he owns, doesn’t even watch games and puts NONE of his own money in. He is a low life multi billionaire scumbag! There are no other kinds, except Bill Gates, who is unique!

        1. ken1945 says:

          Jon, getting ready to listen to Durham, but let’s reply anyway.

          Kronkie is now the 100% owner of Arsenal Football Club (still doesn’t ring true does it) and as such, needs to protect the immense amount of money invested to achieve this.
          We now have the infrastructure in place that has created “the new broom sweeps clean” analogy, with one exception, that of CEO.
          It’s been reported that Gazidis was earning £3,000,000 a year and my feeling is that Kronkie would want to keep that kind of money “in-house” as they say.
          So that points to his son and he, I assume, would have a lot to prove to both himself and his father.
          With that in mind, maybe he will be able to persuade his father to further invest in the club.
          That’s why I think we need to wait, forget his reputation in America (thanks Durand!!) and judge after a reasonable time, maybe the three years generally agreed for Unai Emery, as long as he is still the coach.
          Kronkie must know how much a successful team can make in the English premier league, it’s like a money tree ready for plucking at the moment.
          The new set up for the CL money is like a magnet to him surely?
          He certainly knows what the past years involvement in the competition brought into the club’s coffers!!!
          Furthermore, Kronkie has now lost the two buffers that shielded him from the wrath of the supporters. He needs, in the short term at least, to show the fanbase that he IS committed to the club.
          What better way than to appoint his son, invest in the team, then sit back and watch the money roll in once again via the Champions League?

          OT. Durham is a complete t**t, saying Terry is the best modern day captain. Already been challenged by a chelsea fan about Tony Adams, but still cannot admit it!!
          I’m turning it off again, this time never to return while he spouts such s**te.

          1. David Rusa says:

            I can’t agree with Ken1945 more. I always get surprised that many of our fans behave like people who are not schooled in the working of capitalism. A true capitalist like Kroenke is better off when his investment projects profits over the long term, say 10 years from today. Hence he will be the last person to just keep withdrawing petty cash from his enterprise and run it down to bankruptcy. Kroenke, as a shrewd businessman, knows that his enterprise (Arsenal) makes more money when it is winning trophies and playing in the Champions League. Why then would he turn his investment into a petty cash box which will sooner rather than later lose business and collapse? Nearly all the investors in football today do so as a business and not because they are football fans! How else do you explain stories that Roman Abramovic wanted to pull out of Chelsea and sell to another investor? What of Alisher Usmanov’s pull out from Arsenal? Do you think Sheik Mansoor is a philanthropist at Man City? Whoever invests in a franchise or company does so to make profit not loss. perhaps the seeming difference in approach by football club owners is due to the different backgrounds they come from. Kroenke will not just spend money anyhow knowing fully well that the American tax authorities will be monitoring him. He prefers to let his business grow and generate its own revenue. It is not a common practice among capitalists to divert funds from one enterprise to finance another unless it is a bail out. That would be a failed investment! On the other hand, Abramovic and Usmanov are from a society where capitalism is still in its infancy and many of the rich people there have godfathers in their home Government. They don’t have to play by the standard capitalist rules. Sheik Mansoor and the other oil sheiks are a law unto themselves in their home countries who don’t have to account to anyone. This might not be appreciated by many of our football lovers but that is the truth behind the owners of football clubs today. With time we shall learn that nobody can forever extend hand outs to a football club especially when it can’t generate its own money.

          2. ozziegunner says:

            Sheet head, ken, jon and David, thank you all for such well reasoned discussion. The one thing I thank Gazidis for is the bringing in of Raul, Huss, Sven and Unai, all total professionals with proven track records for success at previous high profile clubs. Unlike elsewhere the change from a manager controlling most aspects of the club to the present “gang of four” has been seamless. This is a major credit to the Arsenal.
            With respect to Raul’s comments, I agree that the development of home grown players through the academy does indoctrinate team and club spirit if these players graduate to the first team squad and has considerable financial benefits. With Raul and Sven, Arsenal now has highly competent staff to identify potential unpolished gems in the Americas and Europe in particular for Huss to sign and Unai to train. So far in Torreira and Guendouzi Arsenal have picked up two good ones, while hopefully Holding, Mavropanos, Nelson, Nketiah, Smith-Rowe, Bielik, Perez, Greenwood et al will continue to develop.

    2. Ingleby says:

      Agreed. Fans were Wenger’s third concern – well behind the Board and the players.

  3. Phrase Sanllehi we need Ramsey as arsenal captain.
    Don’t let Him lève the club ! Please

    1. WINSTON says:


      1. ozziegunner says:

        Aaron Ramsey has dragged out his contract negotiations for almost 18 months. He has tried to bluff the club and has lost, when the offer was withdrawn by Arsenal.
        Arsenal made a mistake with Mesut Ozil and they won’t make the same mistake again with Aaron Ramsey. If you look at the wages being paid to comparable midfielders, there is better value in the market. Aaron Ramsey will price himself out of the team at Arsenal to sit on the bench at a comparable club or struggle with a lesser team. His other issue, like Oxlade Chamberlain and Wilshere, will be to stay injury free.

  4. Charles Veritie says:

    Kronke forever kronking up the Arsenal fan’s money and as much as he can from all other Arsenal income.
    Directors of this…… directors of that. Managers, trainers will come and go. Their salaries will go low and low and down we will go.

    All thanks to who directors who sold the show, when they had finished their go.

  5. ThirdManJW says:

    Hopefully he just looked at the simple facts: Ramsey is NOT a WC player, thus not deserving of a huge pay raise. We made a HUGE mistake with Ozil’s contact, and it looks like they’re learning from their mistakes quickly.

    Hopefully we can get something for Ramsey in January, but if not, then I am sure Ramsey will be trying to performance at his best to secure a lucrative contract elsewhere.

    1. Enagic says:

      We need to cut our loss and let Ozil go next summer he doesn’t suit Emery style and Arsenal as a whole we will be better off even keep Welbeck than ozil and Ramsey can go we need some close to Carzola which is Banega

  6. Lucia says:

    It’s been a while I commented on the platform.
    It baffles me that no one has noticed emery tactics, there is no favorism for him. He says he selects his starting 11 based on how well you train/play. During matches if you are not playing well be it ozil,auba,laca,Ramsey you are off immediately even if the time is 45 50 mins he doesn’t care. What he cares about is result. I for once is enjoying arsenal, the team spirit is visible to everybody to see. I like what emery has done, he has giving responsibility to certain players, gone are the days when players play with no passion and get away with it in our team. Iwobi in his interview said emery gave them a piece during half time.that says a lot about the man, he watches the game, analyses it and make changes as soon as possible. He is not afraid to twick his system. We were unlucky against Chelsea everybody knew that. We deserved more from that game and our second half against city was better.
    Am not carried away yet but boy do I love the cohesion, how direct we have been this season. And yea bellerin hasn’t put a wrong cross this season. Coyg upwards and onwards

    1. stubill says:

      It baffles me how you’ve not noticed the various times on here, that people have mentioned Emery’s tactical and form substitutions, of which no one is exempt. It’s also be mentioned on here about his changing tactics both before and during matches.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Spot on, stubill?

    2. jon fox says:

      What ever are you talking about? There are constant posts praising Emerys lack of favourites and awareness to change things as soon as necessary. No slave to the 70th minute is our Unai! Amazed YOU are so conceited as to think you are the only one who has noticed. You also say it is a long time since you commmented on here. And since you read OTHERS posts too, it seems. Wake up man! Many dozens of posts across a wide spectrum of us fans have said EXACTLY that!!!

    3. Abel says:

      It baffles me that you haven’t seen Bellerin put in some poor crosses this season as well as being a very poor defender.

  7. Grandad says:

    Arsenal, under Wenger made a rod for its back by agreeing to pay Ozil £350m per week.I said at the time that this decision would come back to haunt the Club and this is what has happened viz a viz the breakdown in negotiations with the Ramsay camp. Arsenal is not funded and never will be by the current owner.In that respect Spurs are in a similar situation being saddled with considerable debt for their new stadium.Both these clubs are dependent on cash being generated through ticket sales, commercial deals such as the shirt sponsorship deal with Addidas and player sales.In these circumstances a positive cash flow becomes essential and the Management team are obliged to work within rigid financial controls imposed by the Executive Directors.Faced with these restrictions the Club can no longer make huge blunders in the transfer market as happened during the latter stages of Wenger’s reign.Value for money is paramount whether fans like it or not.Despite working within these conditions Emery has already installed a new team spirit which divers well for the future.

    1. ken1945 says:

      Just a little reminder that, although it was under Wenger’s reign, the contract Ozil signed was negotiated by Gazidis, with Kronkie and the board sanctioning the agreement.
      Remember that we were told contract negotiations were taken away from Wenger due to the disasters such as those we are now seeing with Ramsey.

      Wonder who you feel has been involved in the offering / taking away of said contract to Ramsey under Emery?

      I also seem to remember that the fanbase were elated when Ozil signed, as we had just lost Sanchez to United.
      It seemed everyone was so pleased we tied him down and were congratulating Gazidis, exulting in the fact that he had shown Wenger how to close the deal.

      Apart from that, couldn’t agree with you more, unless Kronkie DOES decide to invest in his investment!!

  8. Midkemma says:

    I think the whole Silent Stan blame needs to be balanced with the concept that he hires people to make these decisions for him as long as it fits within the business plan, this being self sufficient while growing in the share value.

    I would like to remind everyone that while he did take some cash out, the amount of cash he took out is kinda like me or you taking 10p out of an investment we made, the scale of difference is mind boggling and I find it difficult to accept that someone that rich thinks of money like someone who spends too much time at the job to make sure the rent is paid.

    If we look at what else he has used Arsenal for then we see the Ranch and Stadium move, big financial moves which needed some kinda collateral worth a lot of money, this in turn are large investments he is making to increase his asset wealth. The more Arsenal is worth then the bigger investments he can make using us… If we doubled in share value over night then I would bet we would see Silent Stan in a headline for another large investment over taking cash out the bank.

    Assuming what I theorised above is to be true then why would Silent Stan care if Rambo got a new deal or not? As long as AFC can pay for it without going negative/lose value then why get involved?

    Why would he care if we spend £5 or £150’000’000 as long as we generated that cash and it doesn’t hurt AFC value?

    Maybe if the contract Rambo wanted was worth more than he is worth then I can imagine the board questioning this and refusing to go above what he is worth… Silent Stan wants his investment to increase, not decrease due to overspending on lesser quality.

    Now for the Ozil wage, he is our biggest seller for name on shirt from what I have read, we have got that new Adidas worth double than Puma… While I am not saying this is the reason he got the money and not because of his contract issue, this was an aspect which multiplied the power he had in his contract deal. Simply put, his brand is worth more than Rambos, his brand brings in more income to the club as a business than Rambos brand. This is an area which I do not read about but I think can not be ignored when it comes to making profit, the business side of Arsenal will want players who sells 100’s of millions of shirts a year so they can demand more from kit manufacturers.

    1. Midkemma says:

      Reply to myself for a TL:DR section as that was a bit of an essay 😛

      Rambo doesn’t bring in the same amount of money as Ozil does, this will play a part in how much power he brings to the table when we have an owner who is more concerned about share value than cash in the bank.

      Rambo can only be offered what he is valued at, any more and the club is losing money and the share prices can be hit, Silent Stan may not stay Silent due to telling people they are sacked…

  9. ozziegunner says:

    Midkemma, a well reasoned response. The investment in Mezut Ozil has been returned many times over in advertizing revenue and shirt sales. His profile in the Middle East and Asia is massive.
    I now hope that his back issues can be resolved and he gets his head together. If he can get back to his best with the attacking power Arsenal has, then the rest of the EPL needs to look out. One particular thing I would like to see from Ozil is a bit more selfishness and him to drive for goal himself. I personally have noticed recent improvement in Ozil’s game under Emery; a lot of what he does goes under the radar.

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