Former Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi has been speaking to the Athletic and thinks the Gunners’ owners have made one big ‘mistake’ involving Mikel Arteta.
Sanllehi left his role at Arsenal in the summer of 2020 after joining the club from Barcelona back in November 2019.
The former Barca man was part of the Gunners hierarchy who hired Arteta after dismissing Unai Emery.
But the now Real Zaragoza director general feels the club have made a mistake by changing the model he implemented in north London.
Sanllehi thinks Arsenal owners have made Arteta ‘mistake’
Speaking to the Athletic, Sanllehi explained why he disagrees with Arteta being handed the role of ‘Manager’ at Arsenal.
“I do not agree when clubs call the first-team coach ‘the manager’,” he said.
“First-team coach is first-team coach, that is enough. Nowadays, the workload is overwhelming, and I need him to concentrate on the first team.
“Anything that distracts you from that is not your responsibility — travel arrangements, the pitch, salary budget, medical department. We will get other people to do that. The first-team coach is short-term oriented — just win tonight’s game.
“They have betrayed the model a little bit now. By going back to the manager at the top, that is a mistake, but that is their mistake. I would have not allowed that to happen. But that’s fine, it is working so far for them.”
Sanllehi also said that he felt he had the ideal model in place before the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
He added: “It is funny now, but I remember in December 2019, I had dinner with the four guys: (Arsenal’s then newly-appointed head coach) Mikel Arteta, (technical director) Edu, (head of football operations) Huss Fahmy and (academy manager) Per Mertesacker.
“On the toast, I said, ‘Now, it is on us. Now it is exactly the model I asked for. If it does not work, we have no excuses’. That team for me was a dream team at that time. Then in March, everything just fell apart. It was sad.”
Arteta is now heading up the footballing and recruitment direction at the club, alongside technical director Edu.
And so far, it’s working brilliantly for the Gunners as Arteta’s men have got off to a brilliant start to the new season.
Arsenal brought in players that Arteta knows well over the summer. As a former coach at Manchester City, the Spaniard knew exactly what Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko could bring to the Emirates.
It’s clear that Arsenal have gone in a different direction since Sanllehi left and at this moment in time, it’s proving to be a positive move for the Gunners.
Arteta’s men currently sit top of the Premier League table, having won six out of seven games so far.