Following Gazidis’ exit, Raul Sanllehi stepped up from within the club to become head of football, whilst Vinai Venkatesham was promoted to the role of managing director.
With Unai Emery now six months into his reign as Arsenal’s new head coach, it has been a period of significant transition at the Emirates. However, the role of technical director remains unfilled, and Roma’s director of football Monchi has emerged as the missing piece in the puzzle.
With some reports suggesting that a deal is almost done
Monchi’s time with Roma is yet to yield any clear success in terms of silverware since the 50-year-old joined the Serie A giants in April 2017, but his time in the executive setup with former club Sevilla gave the Spaniard’s career far greater distinction.
The Spaniard was appointed director of football at the La Liga club in 2000, just after they had been relegated from the Spanish top flight, and guided the club to new heights after taking the reins.
Monchi built Sevilla back up from rock bottom and led the club as they went on to oversee the club’s hat-trick of Europa League triumphs between 2013/14 and 2015/16, making it five European titles in total during his time at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
With Arsenal set to operate on a heavily restricted budget once more this summer during a period when the club are in a transitional phase, Monchi’s expertise for building up a club from scratch and back to the top could be of huge value to the Gunners.
Eye for Talent
With Arsenal’s limited financial resources in mind, a keen eye for spotting talent is crucial to the Gunners’ hopes for a successful transfer window in the summer. Sven Mislintat’s previous role with the club was key to the smart signings of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi at low cost, and the north Londoners need a similarly smart operator to replace the German.
Monchi was credited as responsible for the signings of the likes of Sergio Ramos, Jesus Navas, Dani Alves and Ivan Rakitic during his time as Sevilla’s director of football. The Spaniard discovered such players under the radar before they went on to become world stars in Seville.
Unai Emery is reportedly eyeing the signings of a new winger, central defensive reinforcements, a new left back and a new number two goalkeeper to replace Petr Cech in the summer and, with a minimal budget likely, Monchi’s expertise in the transfer market could be vital for the Gunners.
Whilst Monchi acted as director of football during Sevilla’s recent era of success, current Arsenal head coach Unai Emery was in charge of the Spaniards’ team during their Europa League heroics.
Emery enjoyed a hugely successful working relationship with Monchi during their time with the Spanish club, and the shared record of silverware from their previous spell working together is only likely to further tempt Arsenal to reunited the Spanish duo at the Emirates.
OFFICIAL: The Premier League February Manager of the Month nominees:
• Unai Emery
• Pep Guardiola
• Ole Gunnar Solskjær
Who deserves to win? pic.twitter.com/mcwI02N3Kr
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) March 1, 2019
The Gunners have already given Emery significant backing in allowing the Spaniard to move in his full set of coaching staff as part of the ongoing overhaul at the club this season, and Arsenal must continue to provide such support if they are to maximise the abilities of their head coach.
The appointment of Monchi to work closely alongside Emery and mediate business between the first team and the executive level of the club could be key to a refreshed means of running the club with optimal efficiency in all areas.
Much in the same sense that Monchi could resume his effective partnership with Emery at Arsenal, the Spaniards must also work in tandem with head of football Raul Sanllehi at the club.
The former Barcelona director of football has quickly become a hugely influential figure at the club in the year since he started work in north London, and has become the chief leader of all footballing aspects at the club.
One of the factors which apparently led to Sven Mislintat’s recent departure from the Emirates was a lack of clarity and understanding between the German and Sanllehi and Emery; with the transfer chief unable to have the level of influence that he wanted at the club.
Monchi’s long-standing pedigree and the club’s reported keenness to appoint the Spaniard at a higher level than the position which Mislintat had occupied seems to indicate that Sanllehi sees his compatriot as the ideal man to operate alongside him at executive level.
Following Arsenal’s recent 5-1 win over Bournemouth, Unai Emery spoke of his desire for the Gunners to find their ‘identity’, amid questions over the Gunners’ ability to progress as a club and a team following the departure of Arsene Wenger.
The Frenchman was key to establishing a philosophy during his 22 years in charge which led the club to new heights, and there is a degree of pressure on Emery to imprint a refreshed impetus and a new identity on his side.
With Arsenal implementing a European model in the aftermath of Wenger’s departure which sees the influence of the manager reduced to a head coach role, the work of those around Emery is of greater significance.
With the managerial figure still of greater standing at most other English clubs, Arsenal are once more leading the way in the country in terms of implementing overseas methods. The appointment of of an iconic executive figure in Monchi to lead the Gunners’ revolutionary new system would be a huge coup, a real statement of intent and a clear sign of progress.