Arsenal making same Wenger ‘mistake’ with Arteta in ‘betrayal’ of club model, says Sanllehi

Will Ford
Edu Sanllehi Arsenal

Raul Sanllehi, Arsenal’s former head of football, claims the club are repeating the same “mistake” with Mikel Arteta as they made with former boss Arsene Wenger.

Sanllehi left the Gunners shortly after Arteta’s appointment in December 2019 and is now director general at Real Zaragoza in Spain’s second division.

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He was key to Arteta’s appointment as ‘head coach’ at Arsenal and oversaw the new set-up of the club which allowed Arteta to focus primarily on the first team.

But after Arteta led Arsenal to FA Cup glory in his first season in charge his role title was changed to ‘manager’, which gave him more influence on the direction of the club and decisions across the board.

Sanllehi says it was a “mistake” to revert to the title legendary leader Arsene Wenger held as it “betrays” the club’s model.

“Arsenal had decided to move on from Arsene Wenger — one boss who did everything,” Sanllehi told The Athletic. “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 explained his desire for splitting responsibility at the club, citing the “overwhelming” workload as a problem in modern football.

“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.”

The name change doesn’t appear to currently be an issue for Arteta, who has guided his side to the top of the Premier League this term having won six of their seven games, scoring 17 goals in the process.