Yesterdays Arsenal news is all about the Raul Sanllehi interview in the Athletic.
I do not subscribe so have only read the snippets on social media.
From what I have read, he comes across as respectful towards the club and management, whilst also disagreeing with the decision they made – not unusual for a senior leader when they are made redundant.
“Arsenal had decided to move on from Wenger – one boss who did everything. I do not agree when clubs call the first-team coach ‘the manager’.” Sanllehi said when talking about his philosophy.
“First-team coach, that is enough. Nowadays, the workload is overwhelming & I need him to concentrate on the first team.”
“It’s funny now, but I remember in December 2019, I had dinner with the four guys: Mikel Arteta, Edu, Huss Fahmy & Per Mertesacker. On the toast, I said, ‘Now, it is on us. It is exactly the model I asked for’. Then in March, everything just fell apart. I was sad.”
On his time at Arsenal, Sanllehi said “I loved it at Arsenal. You cannot imagine: the people in the club, the history of the club. I really felt I was at the top of the world there, but the last 10 months there were horrible. I had to lay off 55 people, without knowing I was the 56th.”
“I don’t feel betrayed by the Kroenkes. They had the LA Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rapids & all of a sudden, all those teams could not play [Covid lockdown]. You still had to pay the salaries. You did not have guaranteed broadcasting revenues.”
It is clear he was employed to take Arsenal in a certain direction, then those above him made a decision to change that direction and he became surplus to requirements.
Whilst many will be criticism of his time in charge – and we have been – he also did some good.
Yes, you have the Nicolas Pepe “scandal”, the internal review of which probably led to Sanllehi leaving. But he also oversaw the recruitment of William Saiba, Gabriel Martinelli and Kieran Tierney.
Whether Sanllehi’s approach or Arsenal’s new approach was the “best direction for the club” will only be resolved over time.
As it stands, we are top of the league with some of the best young talent across Europe and one of the brightest young managers.
If we continue on this upwards trajectory, then I think even Sanllehi will concede that the new approach was correct.
Tomorrow we begin to focus on the North London Derby.
Don Raul was also the snake who wanted to offer Emery an extension after he’d lost the dressing room– and the EL Final miserably to Chelsea in Baku.
And– IIRC? He was the deciding factor to bring in Emery instead of Arteta initially after AW was forced out.
All things considered– we may not be where we are– had Arteta come sooner– I still consider his marrying Arsenal with big money agents when we least needed that influence (Pepe, Willian, Cedric).
He should be happy. Arsenal might have been able to press charges on some of the things he may have been party to IMO.