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Gunner Thoughts

Gone, gone, gone: Arsenal remove their Head of Football

In a statement direct from the club, Arsenal announce that Raul Sanllehi will be leaving the club and Vinnai Venkatesham will be taking a more prominent role.

“We are announcing today that head of football Raul Sanllehi is leaving the club and Vinai Venkatesham, our current managing director, will lead us going forward.”

On the heels of an ESPN report that there was an internal investigation into how the club conducting its business in getting Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal are removing their head of football and the man that conducted the business Raul Sanllehi.

“We have no doubt that Vinai is the right person to take the club forward. He has shown outstanding leadership during the current crisis and is held in high regard internally and externally. We know everyone will rally round him so we can move forward successfully.”

From early signs, it appears that much of Vinnai’s role will remain in his current realm and more footballing decisions will fall on the shoulders of Edu and Arteta.

“I am thankful to Stan, Josh and the rest of the Arsenal Board for their trust in me. I will miss working closely with my colleague and friend Raul, but I am looking forward to this new challenge,” says Vinnai.

“There is much work to do to return Arsenal to the top of the game where we belong, which is what our fans rightly demand. While this will not happen overnight, I believe we have many of the critical ingredients to do so.  There are many positives to build on across the club.

“While football faces uncertainties ahead as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, I am confident Arsenal will emerge strongly and look forward with confidence.”

Raul, who joined us from Barcelona, said: “I’m proud and pleased with the contribution I’ve made at Arsenal over the past three years, and look forward to enjoying the club’s future success. Arsenal is a true footballing institution. 

“I am proud to have been part of its history and I thank Stan and Josh Kroenke for this opportunity. Working with Vinai, we have built a top team for the future. Mikel has made an extremely positive impact since his arrival and has formed a strong team with our technical director, Edu. 

“The academy is in very safe hands with Per, and Huss Fahmy is a talented and highly-capable leader of our football operations. Personally, I now look forward to taking some time off and spending time with family and friends before setting to work on a new challenge and cheering Arsenal on to great things.”

It’s all incredibly interesting, need to align some thoughts on this. When the rumours started up yesterday, I didn’t give them much thought. Simply assumed it was more about streamlining internal processes than hunting for something like this. However, I think it is fair to believe that this is in direct correlation with the Pepe deal and likely exists in other deals as well.

Where this leaves the clubs? In the short term things may be alright with more responsibility on Arteta and Edu, but certainly he will be replaced in the long term. More will develop with this scenario in the coming days, but many saw the writing on the wall and the shady feelings that surrounded some of Raul’s tactics for squad building through his friends and contacts.

This does look good for KSE who are often accused of not caring nor taking action on the club’s behalf quick enough to have appointed Tim Lewis to essentially keep an eye on things and it resulted in this.

More to come, more to come – but this cant distract Arsenal from their need for players in this short transfer window. Business to be done – just without Raul. Over to you Edu and Mikel!

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