Arsenal have confirmed Raul Sanllehi has left the club with Vinai Venkatesham, the current managing director, set to lead the club going forwards.
The reason for the Spaniard’s sudden departure haa not been declared, but the news comes 24 hours after reports emerged that the club planned to hold an internal investigation into their recent transfer business, amid concerns Arsenal had paid dramatically over the odds to recruit Nicolas Pepe last summer.
The Ivory Coast international joined from Lille in a £72million club record deal after Sanllehi used his connection with the French club’s CEO, Marc Ingla, who he knew from his Barcelona days, to get a deal done.
In a statement on behalf of the club’s owners, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, Stan and Josh Kroenke said: ‘Raul has made a big contribution during his time with us and will always be part of the Arsenal family. 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. 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.’
Venkatesham, who has been at Arsenal since 2010, said: ‘I am thankful to Stan, Josh and the rest of the Arsenal Board for their trust in me. 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.’
Sanllehi, who joined from Barcelona, said: ‘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.
‘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, 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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