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Former Arsenal chief Raul Sanllehi fears Mikel Arteta’s controlling role as manager could be ‘mistake’

Arsenal ‘betrayed the model’ by returning to the way things were under Arsene Wenger, claims former Arsenal chief Raul Sanllehi, who fears Mikel Arteta’s dominant role in the Emirates is a ‘mistake’.

  • Raul Sanllehi, former Arsenal manager, fears Arsenal have ‘betrayed the model’
  • He thinks Arsenal made a ‘mistake’ when giving Mikel Arteta too much control
  • Sanlehi joined the club in 2018 and lost his job during the Covid-19 pandemic
  • He formed a ‘Dream Team’ of four directors to run the club after Unai Emery’s reign
  • But the Spaniard is now worried that Arsenal have since slipped into bad habits
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Former Arsenal manager Raul Sanllehi fears the Gunners have made a “mistake” by returning to how operations are run under Arsene Wenger.

The Spaniard, who first arrived in north London in 2018 after a 14-year stint at Barcelona, ​​has been appointed as the club’s new chief of football following the departure of former chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

During his time in the Emirates, Sanlehi implemented a new management model in an effort to recover from Unai Emery’s fateful tenure as manager.

Former Arsenal chief Raul Sanllehi fears the Gunners have made a ‘mistake’ in how the club is run

He thinks Arsenal have set back in how they run operations under Arsene Wenger

He thinks Arsenal have set back in how they run operations under Arsene Wenger

Keen to divide Arsenal management into distinct roles, he pioneered a four-man ‘dream team’, including technical director Mikel Arteta, technical director Edu, chief football operations Hoss Fahmy and academy director Per Mertesacker.

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But Sanlehi, by his own admission, revealed to The Athletic that the plan collapsed after just a few months, and since then Arsenal have moved away from that model after being knocked out during the Covid-19 pandemic, giving Arteta the bulk of control.

“Within the model, there are four points: the head coach, the sporting director, the football operations and the academy, and they have to be very well coordinated,” he explained.

The Spaniard is concerned that Mikel Arteta's controlling role at the club could be harmful

The Spaniard is concerned that Mikel Arteta’s controlling role at the club could be harmful

“Arsenal decided to move from Arsene Wenger – one coach who did it all.

We had a good coach in Unai but it was so important for Arsenal to qualify for the Champions League and losing the Europa League final to Chelsea made us stay there, making Unai a second year as hell.

He was the one president model. All due respect to Arsene – what he did with Arsenal is unique and perhaps at that moment the best way to do it – but you had to improve, and that’s what happened.

Sanllehi has described the decision as a “mistake”, and fears Arsenal will revert to bad habits under Arteta, who appears to have a good understanding of all the business at the club.

Sanllehi (left) presented a four-headed management model including Technical Director Edu (R)

Sanllehi (left) presented a four-headed management model including Technical Director Edu (R)

“I do not agree when clubs call the first-team coach a ‘manager’,” he added.

“The first-team coach is the first-team coach, that’s enough. At present, the workload is enormous, and I need him to focus on the first team.

They’ve betrayed the model a bit now. Going back to the manager at the top, that’s a mistake, but it’s their fault.

I wouldn’t let that happen. But that’s fine, it’s working so far for them.

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