Raul Sanllehi: Arsenal head of football leaves club, replaced by Vinai Venkatesham

Technical director Edu and head coach Mikel Arteta heading up their footballing and recruitment direction

Raul Sanllehi joined as head of football operations in 2017
Image: Raul Sanllehi joined as head of football operations in 2017

Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi has left the club and has been replaced by Vinai Venkatesham - with technical director Edu and head coach Mikel Arteta now heading up their footballing and recruitment direction.

Venkatesham will adapt his previous role as managing director to assume Sanllehi's responsibilities, with owners Stan and Josh Kroenke backing him to steer the club into a new era alongside Arteta, who is tasked with reshaping the Emirates Stadium squad.

Technical director Edu will now effectively be in charge of football operations.

Arsenal are proposing to make 55 staff redundant in response to the club's finances being negatively impacted by coronavirus.

Vinai Venkatesham became managing director of Arsenal in 2018 but has carried out various roles at the club since 2010.
Image: Vinai Venkatesham became managing director of Arsenal in 2018 but has carried out various roles at the club since 2010

"Raul has made a big contribution during his time with us and will always be part of the Arsenal family," read a statement from Stan and Josh Kroenke on the club's website.

"We thank him for all his hard work and expertise and wish him every future success. We have no doubt that Vinai is the right person to take the club forward.

Mikel Arteta poses with the FA Cup after Arsenal's win over Chelsea
Image: Mikel Arteta poses with the FA Cup after Arsenal's win over Chelsea

"He has shown outstanding leadership during the current crisis and is held in high regard internally and externally. We know everyone will rally round him so we can move forward successfully."

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Venkatesham thanked the Kroenke brothers and Arsenal's board, on taking a more central role at the club.

"I am thankful to Stan, Josh and the rest of the Arsenal Board for their trust in me," Venkatesham said. "I will miss working closely with my colleague and friend Raul, but I am looking forward to this new challenge.

"There is much work to do to return Arsenal to the top of the game where we belong, which is what our fans rightly demand. While this will not happen overnight, I believe we have many of the critical ingredients to do so.

"There are many positives to build on across the club. While football faces uncertainties ahead as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, I am confident Arsenal will emerge strongly and look forward with confidence."

Emirates Stadium
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Football finance expert Kieran Maguire is disappointed with the timing of Arsenal's decision to make 55 staff redundant because of the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic

Sanllehi hailed manager Arteta's new direction, tipping the club for a fruitful phase ahead.

"I'm proud and pleased with the contribution I've made at Arsenal over the past three years and look forward to enjoying the club's future success. Arsenal is a true footballing institution," Sanllehi said.

"I am proud to have been part of its history and I thank Stan and Josh Kroenke for this opportunity.

"Working with Vinai, we have built a top team for the future. Mikel has made an extremely positive impact since his arrival and has formed a strong team with our technical director, Edu.

"The academy is in very safe hands with Per (Mertesacker), and Huss Fahmy is a talented and highly-capable leader of our football operations.

"Personally, I now look forward to taking some time off and spending time with family and friends before setting to work on a new challenge and cheering Arsenal on to great things."

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