RAUL SANLLEHI was appointed as Arsenal’s new Head of Football relations in November 2017 – officially joining the club from Barcelona at the beginning of 2018.
On his appointment, Ivan Gazidis said “Raul’s appointment is another important step in developing the infrastructure we need at the club to take everything we do to the next level”.
The appointment followed the announcement of Sven Mislintat to head our player recruitment operations.
Sanllehi and Mislintat were bought in to spearhead Arsenal’s revival. To address the slide in on-pitch performances that saw Arsenal finish 5th in 2017 and ultimately 6th in 2018.
What the pair have done is walk into London with the world biggest brush and swept a lot of rubbish away.
It started in January 2017 when the club sold Francis Coquelin, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud. They also released Mathieu Debuchy on a free transfer.
They also made a clinical decision when it came to Alexis Sanchez, moving him on to Manchester United and getting Henrikh Mkhitaryan in return. 5 out in January. It was the beginning of a massive cull.
It then hit April, and the biggest decision in the last 22 years of Arsenal was made. Arsene Wenger was told his services were no longer required at the club. Sacked. Encouraged to walk away. Mutual decision. Call it what you want to call, Arsenal would be going into the 2018/19 season with their first new manager this Millennium.
Before a new manager was appointed, the back room firings continued.
The season not over, and barely a week after Arsene Wenger’s big goodbye at the Emirates, Sanllehi and Mislintat informed a lot if his backroom staff that there time at Arsenal was over.
First team coaches Neil Banfield, Tony Colbert, , Gerry Peyton and Boro Primorac were let go; Head of Medical Services, Colin Lewin; Physiotherapists Andy Rolls and Ben Ashworth; Osteopath Dr Philippe Boixel and Travel Manager Paul Johnson also all left the club, with Vic Akers also retiring.
Most Recently, Jens Lehmann was told that his services will no longer be required.
And then the Premier Leaguer “released” players was, well, released.
On it contained Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla. Both expected departures. One playing missing on the list was Jack Wilshere, who was on the “retained” list.
It did not take long for Wilshere to announce he was leaving the club, announcing that after a meeting with new manager Unai Emery, both parties had felt it was time to go separate ways.
What is coming next will be one of the biggest turnovers of players that the club has seen in recent years.
Pretty much every senior player who was out on loan last season will be allowed to go.
This includes Lucas Perez, Joel Campbell, Carl Jenkinson, Chuba Akpom, Julio Pleguezuelo, Cohen Bramall and Ben Sheaf will all find their time at Arsenal is over.
With Bernd Leno coming in, one of Petr Cech or David Ospina will be gone, as well reserve goal keeper Emiliano Martínez.
Rumours are that Calum Chambers will be allowed to go to Fulham, whilst the axe is certainly floating above Danny Welbeck’s head.
You could actually make a very good Starting XI with the players who have left us over the last 12 months. One which would have probably played at least one game together in the Premier League.
What is for certain is those now leading the transformation of Arsenal have a plan.
Out has gone underperforming, injury prone players, in are coming players who can return us back to a competitive level.