Arsenal have just made their biggest appointment since Arsene Wenger was made manager back in 1996.
The appointment of new Head of Football Relations Raul Sanllehi indicates a big move away from the dictator-esque leadership that Wenger has enjoyed for 21 years at the club.
Throughout his time at Arsenal, Wenger has overseen all aspects of the footballing side of Arsenal. From first team to academy, he has lead the coaching, fitness and tactics – or employed and managed individuals who he delegates the work to.
He has also been the king maker off the training ground. It is Wenger who manages the coaching set up, decides a players value, and ultimately whether Arsenal are to sign an individual or not.
Anything to do with the footballing side of the business, including the rebuilding and remoulding of training grounds, had to have Arsene Wenger’s approval.
The appointment of Raul Sanllehi as Head of Football Relations basically gives Wenger a boss. A man between himself and the board. No longer will every decision be Arsene Wenger’s. Raul Sanllehi’s job will be to oversee the footballing side of the club, Ivan Gazidis will over see the commercial side.
This will mean a lesser work load for Wenger, allowing him to concentrate on what is important. First team performances.
So who is Raul Sanllehi?
Sanillehi is a 48 year old from Tàrrega, a municipality in Catalonia, Spain.
He joined Barcelona in 2007, undertaking the role of Director of Relations with Sport Bodies. 16 months into the job he was promoted to Director or Football, keeping his job under the presidencies of Joan Laporta, Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu.
His job at Barcelona had been to complete transfer deals, and he was especially involved in the controversial signing of Neymar from Santos in 2013.
Alongside the Neymar deal, he is also credited with helping to bring in Luis Suarez and Alexis Sanchez to the Nou Camp.
Before joining Barcelona Sanllehi had worked for Nike for 11 years.
A graduate of the IESE Business School in Barcelona, Sanillehi obtained a BA in Economics, Marketing and Finance from Guildford College, North Carolina.
Sanllehi reportedly has a close relationship with Gunners CEO Ivan Gazidis and is renowned for his strength in transfer negotiations.
Both Arsenal and Manchester City are said to have been keen on luring Sanllehi to the Premier League.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will reportedly work closely with Raul Sanllehi, alongside their incoming chief scot Sven Mislintat, who has just been signed from Borussia Dortmund.