ARSENAL are set to name Barcelona chief Raul Sanllehi as their new director of football this week. The Gunners have snapped up the influential Spaniard after he decided to quit Barca following 15 years in the role at the Nou Camp.
He is set to be announced in his new position at the Emirates today, as part of the major overhaul of the managerial structure at the North London club. Arsenal raided Borussia Dortmund earlier this month to take Sven Mislintat as their new head of recruitment.
And Sanllehi will come in to work alongside Arsene Wenger and Mislintat in a new-look senior structure at the club that was promised last season. Sanllehi and Mislintat are expected to link up quickly in an attempt to plot a transfer policy for the January transfer window.
Their joint arrival comes after Arsenal’s chief transfer negotiator Dick Law resigned in Septemeber amid criticism of the club’s success in the market in recent years. Law had found it hard to make any breakthrough in attempts to convince Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to commit to new contracts with the club.
SAVIOUR SAM Everton back in talks with Sam Allardyce as they fight to avoid relegation
Sanllehi, 48, spent 15 years working at Barcelona under three presidents, and was credited with ensuring the club signed Neymar and Luis Suarez. Now Arsenal want him to make a similar impact at the Emirates, believing they have seen their pulling power diminished in recent years.
But when he signed his new two-year contract last summer it is understood he agreed to let someone else come in to help with the talent spotting. Former Arsenal winger Marc Overmars had been linked with the role but he is still happy working in Holland with Ajax.
And Wenger has given the green light to Sanllehi coming in, aware that he has made a good impact during his time with Barca. The main decisions the club need to make before the end of January are what their long-term planning is in terms of Sanchez and Ozil. Both are out of contract at the end of the season and Arsenal face the prospect of losing their two star players without a fee.
If neither wants to commit themselves beyond the summer, the club could decide to sell them in January to at least bring some money in. Manchester City have been chasing Sanchez for the past year, and could come back in with a bid in January after a transfer deadline day move collapsed in August.
Barcelona and Manchester United have both shown an interest in signing the Germany World Cup winner, with a fee of £20million one the Gunners may consider.
With both creative players possibly on the way out, the Gunners have been looking around for new players to bring in for the long term. And should Paris Saint-Germain decide they are willing to sell Julian Draxler then Wenger may ask his board to finance a mid-season deal.