Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke breaks silence on Raul Sanllehi’s sudden departure

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has broken his silence on Raul Sanllehi's sudden departure in a joint statement with his son Josh.

Sanllehi leaves his post as Arsenal's head of football with immediate effect after two-and-a-half years with the club.

The 53-year-old had been responsible for overseeing the club's transfer strategy and football relations but has now been replaced by former managing director Vinai Venkatesham.

"Raul has made a big contribution during his time with us and will always be part of the Arsenal family," the Kroenke's statement said 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.

"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."

No reasons have yet been given for Sanllehi's exit but reports suggest Arsenal were looking to streamline their processes behind the scenes.

The decision comes amid revelations that Arsenal have launched an investigation into the £72million transfer of Nicolas Pepe as they believe they overpaid for the winger.

The Gunners have also moved towards a more agent-led strategy involving transfers rather than the analytical approach used when Sven Mislintat was heading up their recruitment.

Speaking of his departure, Sanllehi 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."

Sanllehi's last act as head of football was to help technical director Edu get a deal for ex-Chelsea star Willian over the line as the forward was unveiled by The Gunners on Friday.

Venkatesham will now be tasked with assisting with future deals as Mikel Arteta's rebuild continues, and he made a pledge to restore Arsenal to the pinnacle of football.

What are your thoughts on the developments at Arsenal? Have your say below.

"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," Venkatesham told Arsenal's official website.

"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."

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