Towards the winter of last year, Arsenal found themselves in an embarrassing position due to interconnected actions leading up to that point. And without Raul Sanllehi, the club would’ve been in a much, much worse state.
As evident by now, Ivan Gazidis was one of the biggest culprit involved in holding the Gunners back from competing for titles consistently. The Englishman had a track record of making panic buys that flopped on the pitch and sealing deals that did not necessarily consider all departments it could effect.
Gazidis seemed to have had a meltdown during Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil’s contract extension saga, fearing for the worst. When ultimately the Chilean departed due to the club’s lack of ambition and the club being run by incompetent men in charge such as the current AC Milan CEO, Gazidis decided to keep Özil at all costs by offering the second highest wage deal.
This saw the German earn £350,000-per-week during a time his prime days were concluding. Though keeping the former Real Madrid star was quite a necessity back then, the deal offered was well beyond expectations to say the least.
Although it kept fans and the player happy at that moment, soon the Londoners would realise the consequences of their actions. Because of breaking their transfer record twice in a season when importing Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal had a growing financial crisis.
The wage bills of these players, their signing fee and adding the excessive wages of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Sead Kolasinac, FFP concerns started breathing down their neck after the signings of Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Stephen Lichtsteiner and Bernd Leno.
The situation got so dire that Unai Emery stated back in January that any winter signings will have to be on a loan deal in order to prevent the side from violating the Financial Fair Play rules. This gave the fans the hilarious stint of Denis Suarez at the Emirates.
That aside, Gazidis had also abandoned the ship for Italy. Which is where Raul Sanllehi was brought in.
The former Barcelona official turned out to be one of the biggest recruitment breakthrough the English giants have had in a decade. The Spaniard’s proactive approach and the recruitment of a couple of other personnel propelled Arsenal’s escape from a very tight situation.
In his very first transfer window, Raul Sanllehi has managed to relocate or let go of Nacho Monreal, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mohamed Elneny, Carl Jenkinson, Laurent Koscielny, Alex Iwobi, David Ospina, Danny Welbeck, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Takuma Asano, Xavier Amechi and Krystian Bielik and successful in freeing up over £40 million in wages per year.
Summer Clear Out
Cech, Koscielny, Ramsey, Ospina, Iwobi, Monreal, Welbeck, Jenkinson, Elneny, Lichtsteiner, Asano, Bielik Mkhitaryan
£900k a week saved on wages
— ⱮҽʍՀ (@M3_Arsenal) September 2, 2019
Not only has this been one of the biggest summer clearances made in the club’s history, it was a near perfect importing spree as well, securing Gabriel Martinelli, Dani Ceballos, William Saliba, Nicolas Pepe, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney.
By clearing high salary earning names who no longer contributed significantly to the team and adding quality players to the roster on a moderate deal, Raul Sanlle managed to see through one of the most successful transfer window in Europe this season, all the while averting an impending crisis – a feat nothing short of impressive.
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Arsenal continue the clear out but it’s not over yet as the new regime plot their incoming transfer targets for the next window
On the other hand, the funds earned over the course of the process will now be used to offer new contracts to Lacazette, Aubameyang, Guendouzi and reportedly Joe Willock. This seems to be a great way to reinvest earnings.
On the other hand, with Özil’s earnings still weighing the club down, his future is up in the air.
Is he being benched constantly because they’re planning to push him out? Could be.
But the Gooners can hope reinvestment is done where it matters by Don Raul Sanllehi.