Arsenal appoint new head of football relations

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Times they are a-changin, at Arsenal.

[ MORE: Sanchez, Ozil to stay ]

Arsenal have appointed a new “Head of Football Relations” to work with Arsene Wenger as Raul Sanllehi will arrive in February 2018 after 14 years at Barcelona.

In a statement on the club website, the Gunners confirmed that Sanllehi will “lead future player negotiations” and work with Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis, as well as contract negotiator Huss Fahmy.

Following Wenger agreeing to a new two-year contract at the end of last season, Sanllehi is another big part of Arsenal’s backroom reshuffle as they aim to challenge for the Premier League title and return to the Champions League.

“Raul has been at Barcelona for the past 14 years. He will join us in February to lead future player negotiations and work alongside manager Arsene Wenger, chief executive Ivan Gazidis and contract negotiator Huss Fahmy. He will also represent and support the club with international and domestic governing bodies.

“The appointment follows the recent announcement of Sven Mislintat to head our player recruitment operations and Gazidis said: ‘In the past three years we have supplemented our team with more top-class expertise across every aspect of our football operations.

“‘Raul’s appointment is another important step in developing the infrastructure we need at the club to take everything we do to the next level. Raul has extensive contacts across the football world and has been directly involved in some of the biggest transfers in Europe in recent years. We look forward to him bringing that expertise to Arsenal.'”

Last Monday Sven Mislintat joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund as their new “Head of Recruitment” with the Gunners looking to give Wenger, 67, all the help he needs behind-the-scenes to guide Arsenal back into the top four.

The fact that it has taken Arsenal until now to appoint this new staff members says a lot.

This is their first season in 20 years that they aren’t in the Champions League and Gazidis and Co. have now appointed some of the brightest and most-respected individuals in Europe when it comes to player recruitment and negotiations.

Does Sanllehi’s appointment suggest a new path of negotiations for Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil and their contract talks? Perhaps.

It seems that Arsenal are finally getting their house in order and Wenger can focus solely on coaching the team rather than worrying about negotiations, recruitment and everything else going on with the Gunners.

Allowing these new people to be appointed may have been a key part of negotiations when Wenger signed a new deal in the summer and from the outside looking in it appears that this help for Arsenal’s long-time boss will be invaluable.