Three transfers made by Raul Sanllehi during his time at Arsenal have been questioned over their value for money and reportedly led to his removal as their transfer guru.
His departure means technical director Edu and manager Mikel Arteta will assume equal say on all Arsenal transfers. The pair have already set to work by confirming the capture of Willian on a free transfer from Chelsea.
Sanllehi’s exit is part of Arsenal’s plans to trim their wage bill after a thorough review of their payroll. A difficult financial year, forced by the global pandemic, appears to have forced their hand.
However, it is understood that Sanllehi’s role at Arsenal had been under review for some time.
According to The Athletic the real reasons for Sanllehi’s departure have been ‘brewing for some time’.
The report ‘has been told the club see this [Sanllehi’s exit] as a way of streamlining their executive model in the light of COVID-19’ after already announcing 55 redundancies.
There was also thought to be ‘unease at Sanllehi’s political positioning’ with his ‘style of management’. That, apparently, did not always going down well with the Arsenal hierarchy.
In terms of recruitment, there was a feeling within the club that the former Barcelona man used his ‘trusted network of intermediaries’ too much. As a result, Arsenal’s scouting and analytics department felt they had been left ‘sidelined’.
And a number of transfers that were overseen by Sanllehi have come under scrutiny.
As per The Athletic, ‘Arsenal exceeded the asking price for Bernd Leno and paid €5million above the buyout clause for Lucas Torreira’.
There’s also been questions raised over the transfer of Nicolas Pepe and whether Arsenal got value for money. The Gunners paid a club-record £72m for the Ivorian last summer. However, he largely struggled to make an impact during his debut season.
The fee has been further highlighted by the fact Pepe was reportedly available for half the amount Arsenal paid 12 months earlier.
Arsenal alerted as Real star asks for Prem switch
Arsenal, meanwhile, are reported to be monitoring developments after James Rodriguez asked to leave Real Madrid.
The 29-year-old attacking midfielder has entered the final year of his contract with the Spanish champions. However, he is highly unlikely to play a key role under Zinedine Zidane next season.
Indeed the Colombia international made just 14 appearances in all competitions in 2019-20, as Real were crowned LaLiga champions.