Arsenal has had a change of leadership since Arsene Wenger left the North London club in 2018. The decision-making arm of the club has been fractionalized to bring out effectiveness in how the club is being run.
This was first known when Raul Sanllehi came in as the Head of Football Relations while Vinai Venkatesham serves as the Managing Director. These roles held by both were carved out of the role of former club CEO, Ivan Gazidis who left for AC Milan.
With Raul heading football-related matters, he appointed Former Arsenal player, Edu Gasper, as the Director of Football. Edu, having served in a similar role with the Brazilian National team, was coming with some level of experience and contacts from South America that will be of great importance for the club.
The way the club is being run started to change. During the days of Wenger, Arsenal hardly deals with Super agents that have the most significant talents on their books but prefer to look for rear skills across the world.
This worked early on, but with the level the game has gone, it will be challenging to achieve so much now with those agents. That was a massive point in the turning point for the new administration.
Arsenal fans were not used to this style of leadership and were very critical of Raul Sanllehi and his team. The letting go of Aaron Ramsey was another point that divided the fans, especially when a player like Mesut Ozil was still on the payroll of the club and hardly get game time.
The first few months were rough for Raul on the job as it seems most of the decisions made will come back to hurt Arsenal, but he was playing the long game, which many didn’t see then.
When Unai Emery was sacked, and a new coach was to be appointed, he went for a younger and inexperienced Mikel Arteta ahead of an experience Carlo Ancelloti. The rot at the club was so deep many didn’t see a rookie like Arteta being able to lead the club out of it.
It is still early days for Arteta on the job, but it seems Raul’s decision has been vindicated so far with the way Arteta is managing the club. Involving young Hale End products like Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah into the team and trusting Joe Willock, Gabriel Martinelli, and Reiss Nelson with game time have shown that if properly supported in the transfer market, Arteta could be the real deal for the club.
He could be the best decision Raul has made in his role. Raul, also trying to build for the future, also quickly gave new deals to Saka and Martinelli, two players under 20, and could be a big part of the club’s future.
This is an excellent way to build a team from scratch and grow them to be competitive once again. The way the club has become very secretive about their transfer plans but just come out to announce new deals shows that there is a clear plan to how the club wants to be run, and Raul needs to be applauded for this.