Arsenal have appointed former Barcelona man, Raul Sanllehi, as Head of Football Relations.
Sanllehi, who has been at Barcelona for the past 14 years, will join Arsenal in February to lead future player negotiations and work alongside manager Arsène Wenger, chief executive Ivan Gazidis and contract negotiator Huss Fahmy.
According to a statement on Arsenal’s website, Sanllehi, will also represent and support the club with international and domestic governing bodies.
Aresenal recently appointed Sven Mislinat, from Borussia Dortmund, to head player recruitment operations.
Speaking, Gazidid said: “In the past three years we have supplemented our team with more top-class expertise across every aspect of our football operations.
“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. Raul has extensive contacts across the football world and has been directly involved in some of the biggest transfers in Europe in recent years. We look forward to him bringing that expertise to Arsenal.”
These appointments are part of the club’s plan to prepare for the future, especially as Wenger’s imminent departure looms.
Wenger, who is 68 and will break Sir Alex Ferguson’s record for Premier League games this season, has always remained all-powerful as manager and taken on an unusually broad range of responsibilities. All through his stay at the Emirates, he has reportedly resisted the appointment of director of football.
Reports say he is however in agreement with the recent appointments.
On Tuesday he said Mislintat’s “international experience” was key to his appointment and that he would work directly with him rather than Gazidis. The manager also stressed that Sanllehi was someone he knew well. “I know them all because I’ve been in the game before them,” he said. “We looked for somebody who has experience in negotiations. We have Huss [Fahmy], who is top drawer. I rate him highly but there was still a need.”