Tag Archives: Edu

Board back the Edu / Arteta partnership as they sack Sanllehi

When I wrote yesterday’s blog about the board taking the lead on an overhaul of Arsenal’s structure, we were not expecting things to happen so quickly.

We had heard rumours that Arsenal were playing a management restructure at the top, but we thought this might occur after the new season restarts so as not to disrupt this summers transfer business. Instead Raul Sanllehi left the club with immediate effect.

Why did Raul leave?

Well we really don’t know.

There are plenty of accusations on twitter, including that he profited from the Nicolas Pepe deal. There is no evidence that this is true.

But what is clear that since Arsene Wenger left, the club has been dysfunctional at the top.

Wenger ran everything at the club. Fingers in every pies. It was his overlord way of running the club that saw it successful.

But it was also the power he wielded that saw the club enter a downward spiral, as he became accountable to no one.

Arsenal needed refreshing. We needed a reboot. And the club decided to go down the root completely opposite to Wenger and bring in multiple people to run things.

Firstly we had Ivan Gazidis as CEO.

Under Wenger, Gazidis had very little to do with the footballing side of the club. He was mainly dealing with the commercial side.

With Wenger gone, Arsenal firstly bought in Raul Sanllehi as Head of Football Relations and Sven Mislintat as Head of Recruitment.

This left Gazidis in charge of the commercial side, Sanllehi in charge of the football side and Mislintat in charge of the recruitment. The Head Coach (ie Unai Emery) only had to focus on coaching and picking the team.

When Gazidis left, Sanllehi was promoted as was Vinai Venkatesham. The long time Arsenal employee taking over Gazidis’s role over seeing the commercial side of the club.

Then the battle of egos began as Arsenal transfer decisions went from a committee of 3 to a committee of two. What happens when they disagree?

Well when Sanllehi and Mislintat disagrees, Sanllehi establishes his seniority and Mislintat left.

Recently Mislintat labelled the clubs recruitment department “bloated”. He also said that the clubs structure was “dysfunctional”.

The actions taken by the board – making many scouts redundant and saying goodbye to Sanllehi would indicate that they agree.

When Mislintat left, Arsenal added Edu to the clubs upper structure as Technical Director.

I as it just a case of too many cooks?

We had Sanllehi, Edu and an outspoken manager in Mikel Arteta who wanted to “do things his way”.

Arteta is a strong minded character. He knows what he wants to do. How he wants to manage. The players he needs.

Was there a conflict between Arteta and Sanllehi in the same way Emery and Sanllehi disagrees over players?

Sanllehi reportedly over ruled Emery a few times on players, and the result was Emery didn’t have the squad he wanted and got sacked. The board backed Sanllehi.

But this time it felt different.

Arteta got his way with David Luiz’s new contract and the signing of Willian. The board backed Arteta above Sanllehi.

It fees like the board want to put Arteta front and centre of Arsenal Football Club. That Lord Harris of Peckham, Ken Friar and Tim Lewis see him as a long term manager.

Once the decision is made that Arteta is the most important man at the club, you then need other employees to work alongside him, not work against him.

Arteta and Edu have a very good relationship. Both former Arsenal players. Both central midfielders. Same mentality on how to ply a game. They seem to work well together.

That left Sanllehi as the odd man out.

He is the one that doesn’t have a history with Arsenal, that works in a different way to Arsenal. He wasn’t really an Arsenal man.

The promotion of Vinai is also something that should be shouted about.

The British born Indian is well respected throughout football, and at just 39 (yes, he had a hard paper round), Arsenal have a very youthful looking management team.

There could be more Senior back office Arsenal employees to leave in the coming weeks.

After years of criticism of the board, asking if they care, it is good to see them take action.

The decision on Sanllehi was made by Lord Harris of Peckham, Ken Friar and Tim Lewis.

They are going all in on the Edu / Arteta partnership.



Do key pair get unfair criticism from Arsenal fans?

Raul Sanllehi has got into some criticism with the way he has run the club since he was promoted to Head of Football following the departure of Ivan Gazidis back in September 2018.

It is his movements within the transfer market that hassled to the most criticism, as well as the departure of recruitment guru Sven Mislintat in January 2019. Mislintat reportedly left over a disagreement over the recruitment of Denis Suarez – a player backed by then coach Unai Emery and Sanllehi. Suarez flopped.

Many have pointed out that Sanllehi uses his “little black book of agents contacts” to find out who is available, rather than Mislintat’s search and selection method.

Mislintat and his scouting network would attempt to uncover players that no one has heard of, or was watching. Hidden gems. Whilst Sanllehi reportedly relies on agents contacting him to make him aware of their clients availability.

It is probably unfair on Sanllehi to say all he does is wait for agents to call him. He is Head of Football so deals with a lot more other than just recruitment, which is why he bought Edu in.

The Edu / Sanllehi axis has been massively criticised, and no more so than for their relationship with “super agent” Kia Joorabchian.

But is the criticism of the pair really fair?

The aforementioned Denis Suarez was bought in on loan in January. A deal that went bad. But was this down to him being not good enough? Or due to injury?

“Obviously it was a bad loan because I did not play,” Suarez told The Athletic in. “But there were circumstances which I would like the fans to understand. I played in my first game against Manchester City and then 10 days later I got injured against BATE in the Europa League.”

Asked if he felt 100 per cent at any point, Suárez replied: “The first week., that’s all. I felt it getting worse. After the match against BATE, I had incredible pain.  Every movement, every change of direction, every shot. Unai [Emery] could not play me as he knew I was not even near 50 per cent.”

In 2019, Arsenal shocked the world by spending big when no one thought they had any money.

1st through the door was Gabriel Martinelli.

The 18-year-old Brazilian was originally signed to join up with the U23 squad, but soon pushed his way into the first team.

Martinelli scored 10 senior goals in 26 games, becoming the first teenager to reach double figures in a single season for Arsenal since Nicolas Anelka.

His season came to an end prior to the suspension of football for COVID19, and he has since been ruled out for most of 2020.

Jurgen Klopp labelled him the ‘talent of the century’.

Following Martinelli into the club was teenage defender William Saliba.

Signed from Saint-Étienne, the club decided to leave the French central defender at his home club to continue his development. Big things are expected of him next year.

Then came the moment Arsenal shocked the footballing world. Nicolas Pepe joined for a club record £72million.

Pepe joined following a fruitful previous season for Lille, where he scored 23 goals in 42 games.

He has not lived up to a big price tag yet, although no Arsenal player created more goals and only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has more goals and assists combined.

His best game for Arsenal came in the FA Cup final.

Throughout the season he has showed glimpses of his talent. Next year he will be stronger, fitter and more prepared for the English game.

Kieran Tierney arrived injured having undergone a double hernia operation in May 2019.

The Scotsman’s slow return to full fitness was hampered by a dislocated shoulder against West Ham in early December. He was not seen again until the suspension of football was lifted in June.

Tierney has since played in every game since football returned, showing his versatility by playing left back, and the left side of a back 3.

Still just 23, the left back has done enough in his disrupted first season to show why Arsenal took the risk on him. He has the type of personality to become a terrace legend, and the ability to become one of Arsenal’s greatest left backs of all time.

Alongside the deadline day announcement of Tierney, Arsenal pulled a surprise by signing David Luiz from Chelsea for £8million.

Initially it was though Luiz had signed on a 2-year deal, but it alter transpired that it was a one-year deal with an option for a second.

We all know what David Luiz does.

He can put in a match winning performance one week, then make errors that led to penalties, sending offs and goals the next. His Arsenal career has been mixed, with him giving away 5 penalties and receiving 2 red cards.

But it is his influence off the pitch that led Arteta to push for Sanllehi and Edu to trigger the 2nd year of his contract.

His leadership is shown during the drinks breaks since the return of football.

Arteta is holding court with players in one circle, whilst Luiz is doing the same in another.

Luiz could be the leader that Saliba needs alongside him.

And then we have the loan deals.

Dani Ceballos joined on a season long loan.

A tough start to his career saw him in and out the team, and he would have been rocked by Unai Emery leaving.

On top of this he also picked up a hamstring injury that ruled him out for 2 months.

He has returned from suspension like a new player under Arteta – topping pretty much every statistic going for Arsenal.

Back 3 months ago, no one would have wanted Ceballos’s loan move to be made permanent. Now everyone will be frustrated if he is not with us next year.

An excellent signing.

Pablo Mari joined in January as injuries in defence mounted up, and then proceeded to get injured himself.

The ex-Manchester City man did enough on the training ground for Arsenal to secure his services permanently.

When he returns from injury, he will be in contention for first team football.

The signing of Cedric Soares was strange.

A loan player who turned up injured, unlikely to play for 2 months. It just seemed a waste.

But with his contract expiring in the summer, what Arsenal were basically doing was bringing his signing forward by 6 months. Allowing the club to rehabilitate his injury, and him to settle into new surroundings in North London.

He might not have played much, but Arsenal now have a Premier League experienced internationally capped right back to push Hector Bellerin.

When you break it down player by player, it becomes clear that Edu & Sanllehi have come in for a lot of unfair criticism.

Pepe has struggled, but the talent is there, whilst Ceballos, Martinelli and Tierney have all had disrupted debut seasons.

It is unfair to judge Mari and Cedric, but in what we have seen they look good additions.

David Luiz is the only one people could label “poor signing” on. But he was so poor that Arteta pushed the board to renew his contract. Sanllehi and Edu were reluctant to do so.

Maybe we as fans just need to step back a little, give those managing the club some time and space to breath. To recruit well. And to stamp their footprint on this great club.


Darren Burgess, Edu and Markus Schubert

Darren Burgess


This week it was announced that Darren Burgess, Arsenal’ Director of high performance, was set to leave Arsenal after two years.

It perhaps shows the insanity of Arsenal’s online support that what was essentially a fitness coach leaving became headline news.

We had David Ornstein writing on it for the BBC, it also became a headline article in The Sun, the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard.

It highlights why the media often write stories about Arsenal. We eat up content, click links, like no other club. For many of these outlets, Arsenal news is their bread winner, the main source of income.

A fitness coach leaving any other club would not make the news.

And keeping to form, Arsenal fans lost their mind over Burgess leaving. Even though thought did not know who he is, what he looked like, or what he did.

Let’s focus our time and energy on the important stuff in life guys.


A few people pointed to Darren Burgess leaving as yet another example of how the club is a mess behind the scenes, following the departures of Ivan Gazidis and Sven Mislintat. His depature certainly is not on their level.

Some then took the argument further pointing out that Arsenal not yet appointing a Sporting Director, despite being on the look out for one following Gazidis’ departure last year.

The truth is that Edu is set to take the role, but is currently employed by Brazil as General Manger.

He will remain with Brazil as General Manager until after the 2019 Copa America which starts today. It finished on July 7th.

It would have been very poor form if Edu resigned a few weeks before a major continental tournament.  And equally poor form if Arsenal had officially announced his appointment whilst he still has a key role to play for his country.

Let’s stop making mountains out of mole hills and take the time to learn what is happening before commenting.

Markus Schubert

It seems Arsenal are on the verge of signing their first player of the season in Germany youngster Markus Schubert.

The 21-year-old goalkeeper is available on a free transfer and was 1st choice for Dynamo Dresden in the 2nd tier of German football last season.

With Emiliano Martinez set to be 2nd choice behind Bern Leno next season, there are reports that Arsenal will consider sending Schubert straight out on loan to continue his development before returning in 2020 as Leno’s understudy.

There is also the possibility that he might slot into the U23 team, and perform the duel role of 1st choice in the PL2 and 3rd choice in the main squad, with Dejan Iliev providing him cover when he is called up to the senior match day squad.

With Arsenal also set to confirm Gabriel Martinelli early next week, the signings will see a shift in transfer policy from signing senior pros to young, exciting talent.

If you did not read yesterdays blog on Jack Wilshere and Emmanuel Eboue, it is well worth it. a reminder to everyone that we are all human and stop with the online hatred.