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Ian Wright sends message to Arsenal board over Mikel Arteta Raul departure

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Ian Wright has urged Arsenal’s new-look leadership team to ‘protect’ Mikel Arteta at all costs following the sudden departure of Raul Sanllehi.

Arsenal confirmed the club’s head of football was set to vacate his position on Saturday, just 24 hours after reports emerged that an internal review was set to take place into recent transfer activity.

Sanllehi played a fundamental role in the deal which brought Nicolas Pepe to the Emirates last summer in a £72million deal but, according to ESPN, several high ranking figures fear Arsenal wildly overpaid.

The former Barcelona chief’s record at Arsenal was a mixed bag overall. He was the driving force in the decision to replace Arsene Wenger with Unai Emery and even considered handing his compatriot a new deal before a calamitous Europa League final defeat against Chelsea.

Sanllehi corrected his error by helping convince Mikel Arteta to leave Manchester City and begin to repair the damage.

The former Arsenal captain has made an encouraging start to his tenure and Wright hopes the decision to axe Sanllehi won’t have any negative repercussions for the former Gunners skipper, tweeting: ‘Protect Mikel at all costs!’ Sanllehi’s duties meanwhile, are set to be assumed by managing director Vinai Venkatesham, while the majority of football decisions will be handled by Edu who has only just overseen a major overhaul of the club’s scouting department.

‘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,’ said Venkatesham.

‘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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