Former Arsenal head of football operations has criticized Mikel Arteta’s management. Former Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi says changing Mikel Arteta’s title was a mistake.
Since Arsene Wenger’s departure in 2018, Arsenal has struggled to find stability. Wenger’s departure ended Arsenal’s ‘one-man model,’ in which every decision was run by Wenger.
In September 2018, Sanllehi was hired to modernize the Gunners’ operations. The Spaniard believes a forward-thinking set-up that delegate clearly is the best way to improve the club’s collective fortunes.
He led the effort to fire Unai Emery and hire Per Mertesacker, Edu, and himself as head of football operations.
After winning the FA Cup eight months into his managerial career, Arteta was promoted to first-team manager. This change gave him more control over club decisions.
Sanllehi was fired by Arsenal after the FA Cup win and Arteta’s job title change, which he called a “mistake” and a “betrayal” of the club’s model.
“They’ve betrayed the model,” he said. “Their mistake was going back to the top manager. I wouldn’t allow it. But it’s working so far.
“I disagree with clubs calling the first-team coach “the manager.” First-team coach is enough. He needs to focus on the first team due to his heavy workload.
“Travel arrangements, the pitch, salary budget, and medical department are not your responsibility. We’ll delegate. First-team coach focuses on tonight’s game.”
Morale in the Emirates is high when Sanllehi speaks. Arsenal are the fourth youngest team in Europe’s five major leagues and have only lost one of their first seven games under Arteta.