Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Sanllehi: We made a mistake and then couldn’t afford Rambo

Raul Sanllehi says Arsenal made a big mistake allowing Aaron Ramsey to enter the final year of his contract and paid the price by not being able to compete with the wage offers tabled by rival clubs who realised they could sign him on a free.

The Wales international, who signed in 2008 from Cardiff, was open to staying at the Emirates but after his representatives successfully delayed talks they manoeuvered into a position where they had the upper hand in negotiations.

Judging by Raul’s words, we could have matched the midfielder’s offer from Juventus but it would have further upset the salary balance in the squad. Ultimately, the club decided not to take that risk.

Speaking to, Sanllehi said: “At the end of the day, the problem, the real essence of the problem, was that we had reached the last year of the contract.

“The only way to get to the end of a contract is when you are ready to release that player at the end of that contract. But if you really want to keep that player, you need to renew him before getting to the last year of the contract because you are putting yourself in a very weak position. We cannot get to the last year of the contract.

“If we cannot get a renewal before that, then we may have to sell. But the position of the club, of losing a player of the quality – and not only the football quality but the human quality and club identification – of Aaron, we have to avoid that. It’s not correct for us.”

With regards to the way they handled Ramsey’s situation in particular, he added, “Although I normally don’t like to personalise – and let me start by saying this – not only do we have the highest respect and esteem for Aaron, we also think he is a great professional and a great football player.

“For circumstances, whatever it was, we went to the last year of contract. That’s a problem. When you go to the last year of contract of a player because of the way this is designed, there are a lot of clubs who can get that player for free. Now, that player has a market value. A strong market value, in Aaron’s case. So, any club can project… the total investment of a player is always an addition of two factors: the salary you are going to pay him and the transfer fee you are going to pay for him.

“Now if you take out one of those two, and with Aaron arriving to the last year of contract, one of them was pretty much zero, you can really build up on the other one very, very much. Now, we have to be responsible on how we manage the club.

“One of the key things for me – and I’ve seen that happening in other clubs – one of the key things is to keep the rationality in the salary balance of the team. Because of our circumstances, because of not renewing Aaron on time we were in a situation in which Aaron had incredible offers building up on the salary.

“He was really keen on staying with us, he was ready to make the effort but at the end of the whole process we had to be responsible for ourselves and protect the interests of Arsenal. We realised we were going to cause an imbalance that would have been very harmful for the team’s sake in the medium and longer term.”

Due to injury Ramsey played his final game for the club in mid-April. He was given a send-off at the Emirates after the final home game of the season and cried. Arsenal meant a lot to Rambo and he kept his peace throughout the negotiation period. Basically, he was a real gent.

It’s good to get some clarity on how the situation panned out and for the club hierarchy to admit that they messed up. It’s easier to do that when the two men leading the talks, Ivan Gazidis and Arsene Wenger, have left the club. The key is not to let it happen again. Expect Raul and Vinai to be ruthless in the coming transfer windows.

As for being concerned about a salary imbalance. You can be sure the bean counters at the Emirates have already highlighted Mesut Ozil’s name in red in their Excel spreadsheet.

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Viva La Prof

Who would have thunk it! My mind is blown, if you don’t extend a players contract, it runs out and another club can give all the money to the player.. wow

Bendtner’s Ego

But, but…Wenger said this was the new future!

Spanish Gooner

It’s the “ideal scenario”!!


I think what Wenger was actually saying is that it would be the new norm that players run down their contracts. And that it would be the ideal scenario because clubs would be able to get players for free and players would be earning even more money. Exactly how this panned out.


If you’re a player of class and class act (or, not) why would you countenance being transferred for money when you can run down your contract and have your pick of clubs that are contenders? You know you can see out your deal and realize a huge pay raise at your next club, or your current club if they can match it and you like your situation. There are probably some situations in which player would signed an improved deal with his current club before running down his contract but in a lot of situations for a lot of players… Read more »


This is a comment section and not an essay section. Really wished to get through what you wrote, but couldn’t.

So it would be in everybody’s interest if you keep it short or at least divide your writing into paragraphs!


You think that’s long?
you wanna try a Santori comment mate

Faisal Narrage

Santori Thesis are a wonder to behold; never seen someone so erudite and so eloquently talking about nothing as a matter of fact, whilst randomly throwing Elneny under a bus at any given opportunity.

A Different George

Short version: We should have bought Mahrez.


You’re quite right, but of course the risk is that you run that contract down, get injured or hot poor form (not unlikely at arsenal!) and your value drops significantly.

I guess this is what wenger banked on? Fair plat to the club for the logical explanation, however as blogs said, easier to do when it isn’t you!

Gooner Sam

Love the man but he certainly spouted some bullshit


Who would have what??


Haha.. yea how insightful from Raul.. we never knew that!!

A Different George

There’s a really deceptive, and negative, aspect to what Sanllehi is saying. Of course, another team doesn’t have to pay a transfer fee for Ramsey (or whoever), and so can offer more of the money allotted to acquiring that player to his wages. But Arsenal also don’t have to pay a transfer fee. What Sanllehi is really saying is that in the case of Ramsey, and presumably many others in the future, Arsenal will not compete to pay them the wages they can receive elsewhere. If this is true, we will have success if we can develop good young players–but… Read more »

Dave Cee

Perhaps. I saw that side of what he said also. But, maybe, given his injury record and sometimes indifferent relationship with fans, Arsenal just didn.t think Ramsey was worth pushing the boat out for

johnny bud

Really shows how Wenger had lost the ability to wear all the hats. Loved what he did for the club, but in the end he hurt us. Bad


But how could the other clubs have made offers? He was still under contract and hadn’t entered the last six months, where an overseas team can make contact and offers, by the time we announced we wouldn’t be offering a new contract.

Either clubs have been making illegal approaches, or this isn’t a true account of what happened.

Faisal Narrage

Come on now, let’s be real; players get offers all the time through intermediaries. Raul is long in the tooth at this, he knows how all the back channel communications work (probably used it extensively himself).

Heck we’ve probably done it ourselves in the past.


I’m not denying that’s the case. But he has either clearly admitted that there was an illegal approach, at least one, or it’s not a true account. At the very least, and again I know this won’t happen because football is horribly corrupt as we have seen over the past few days with just one incident, but the governing bodies should be investigating this as it’s potentially clearly tapping up a player. I think he’s telling the truth, in which case it’s tapping up and should be investigated. The only way this isn’t tapping up is that he’s trying to… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

I’m also under the impression that in the last year of a contract once the player has expressed they will not sign an extension, they are legally open to listening to offers, whilst not signing them, until 6 months left. It makes sense because a player can sign a precontract with a foreign team with 6 months to go, and naturally to sign the contract requires some time to negotiate it, which would obviously not happen prior to the 6 month conclusion. And lastly, pretty certain even if it were against UEFA/FIFA rules, it could never hold up in any… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

Which would obviously happen*
Ignore the “not”.

YOLO Toure

Again, viewing this as a positive – a step in the right direction for hierarchy to come out with a ‘yeah we fucked up, sorry – we’ll try to not do this again’, which is quite refreshing to see, especially as it feels like between Raul and Vinai they’re being given a lot of autonomy. We’re by no means perfect, and still have some very serious flaws.

Naturally, being an Arsenal fan, I’m ready for the carpet of optimism to be suddenly ripped from under my feet though. Time + this summer will tell.


Wearing pink glasses? The press release has an agenda, there is value to the club to release it. And I’m assuming it is to avoid a fan backlash when tough decisions are made on players who are in the last two years of their contracts if they don’t extend.

Yolo toure

You say that like that’s a bad thing? I’m all for tough decisions on players who get into the last 2 years – obvious cases aside, i.e where this club has shown class by taking care of players like Diaby, Cazorla etc. by extending when it didn’t make business sense to do so, I’m all for a bit more pragmatism. If you see your future career someplace else, that’s totally cool, we’ll just try to maximise what we can recoup and you leave with no hard feelings.

Dave Cee

Hear, hear. Shud have fucked Sanchez and Ozil out the door with Ox the second it became clear they were stalling/actively looking to leave. Same with Welbz..should have been told to do one. Wilshere also. Good 150M blown on those contracts alone.
It still hurts me to see Gnabry playing for Bayern..but at least Arsenal got something from it.
Sign up or get sold off should be our new motto. There are plenty of other talented players would love to be at Arsenal. Plus I.m getting too old to be heavily invested in any 1 player anymore

Giroud's scorpion kick

What doesn’t add for me is the fact Aaron himself said that the club retired from negotiations. Unless there was an initial agreement on a high salary (from previous negotiators) and sanlehi called out on it.
Anyway, he’s gone, they fucked it up.

Faisal Narrage

Sounds like Ivan was just giving cash away.
But we must also remember that they Aaron and his team liked our offer, they decided not to sign it and ride it out even further. Why? Must be more to it.


Raul makes it sound like that decision was purposely delayed by Aaron’s representatives until other offers could come in. All we heard was there was a verbal agreement in principle. The agent could easily have been coming back at that point saying – “hey, look what we have here..” Fact is, I don’t need this can of worms reopened. He’s off, he’s a grand guy, and I wish him all the best until we cross paths. I also am happy to see this refreshing openness from Raul and clear statement of determination to remedy these damaging poor practices by the… Read more »


Rambo is not a straightforward case. Yes we would have liked to have kept him, yes he’s better than some of the crap we still have but he is still injury prone, yes he does some stupid back heels in some games, no he’s not as good as he was a few years ago when he also got injured. We should just be thankful for the cup final goals and wish him well.

Drogheda Gunner

I think when he played this year he was the difference! we need that man running from deep. And if he was fit for europa league I think we would win easily. And I was never a fan of him till this year. Just my opinion.


Same, he never really worked in wengers beautiful football.
In Hindsight the team was too static for him as shown by emerys time with him.

A great box to box midfielder


He is superb when healthy. His effort alone is best on the club. I am disappointed in his ability to stay healthy and fear that he will always be prone to injury.

Faisal Narrage

Have to say though, Blogs/Andrew, whatever issue we have with Vinai-Rail statements, isn’t it good to have some level of communication now? Didn’t we all have issues with this? Lack of communication?


I prefer to hear nothing than this classic Gazidian bullshit mixed with a handful portion of stating the obvious. Prove your words in the summer, than talk the big words.


We let the wrong midfield go.


Incredible that we actually needed to do this in order to realise that we shouldn’t have.


Kroenke let Wenger run the entire football operation and for whatever reason he made it a habit of allowing salable players to run down their contracts. (Walcott, Sanchez, Ozil, Ramsey and on and on). What’s done is done. The new guys have basically said it was negligence and they won’t let it happen again

Faisal Narrage

Walcott, Sanchez, Ozil, Ramsey, Gnabry, Nelson (thankfully he signed), Van Persie, Ox, Clichy, Sagna, Nasri, Chesny, and that’s excluding the academy prospects, of which were many.

Can’t think of any other top club that has done that.


Nasri? Van Persie? Seriously? Van Persie was sold almost for the price of Modric and Hazard, and Nasri for a price close to that of Fabregas (and more than Mata). Then why not include Fabregas in your list as well? Half of the players you list were piss poor after we sold them and I can hardly imagine you’d wanted them anywhere our club. Nasri’s best season at City was worse than Ozil’s last season, Walcott couldn’t stay in the starting eleven at Everton, seriously, how much more do you think we should have got for him? There were… Read more »


Nope. Dont believe that. If hes at the end of the contract, you can still pay him a salary in line with the club’s policy (Ozil aside) of say £150-£200k PW but top it up with a big signing on fee. Still cheaper than going to market for top quality replacement even if that fee is paid upfront rather than over the term of the players contract.

Spanish Gooner

Why would he accept that? He’s on 400k with a lower tax rate in a much sunnier part of the world!


In Ramsey’s case our choice was to 1) sell for nothing (free transfer) and replace (transfer fee + wages); 2) extend his contract (zero transfer fee, high wages); or 3) sell for nothing and promote from within. In terms of money spent, obviously 3 is significantly cheaper than 1 or 2 (and perhaps exciting if next season we see guendouzi, smith-rowe and maitland-miles break through in midfield). But are we really saying that a new player (transfer fee + wages) could be less expensive than paying Ramsey what he wanted? Surely only for someone truly mediocre. So I think the… Read more »


It’s the same issue United are having with Sanchez. They gave him a huge deal and now suddenly everyone else wants more. If we gave Ramsey 400k and Ozil 350k then Lacazette and Auba who are arguably more important than either of them will want 350/400k. So then Leno isn’t happy bc he earns so much less etc. that’s the real cost


So what players have one year left at the moment?


Isn’t this Arsene’s fault?


By all accounts Ramsey loves the club and wanted to stay. So Arsene and Ivan probably took him at his word and didn’t push him to sign a renewal before entering the last 12 months.

Then reality, Rambo’s agent, big offers from teams like Juve – all this stuff intruded, and suddenly they’ve got a stronger hand in salary negotiations.

A bit of naiveté from Arsene, Ivan and the club, but also the player and his agent could’ve made sacrifices to stay, but chose to leave. So the blame is shared I think.

Bai Blagoi

Now blaming Wenger… This guy digs new lows…

Uba Ngenegno

I don’t see the fuss about Ramsey. Great professional but a slightly above average, injury prone footballer.
The mistake was not getting a fee for him.

Drogheda Gunner

I don’t think there’s another midfielder like him maybe dele Ali but Ramsey on a total different level to him. This year he’s brought his Welsh form into our team. I think he’s going to be a big loss and hope him all the best with juve.

Drogheda Gunner

Is it cause I mentioned a spurs player. Lol. I love the loyalty. I’ll take as many down votes as possible. Sorry again I was bang out of order. Ha


You shouldn’t care about getting down voted.


He’s better than Alli, more versatile and better in deeper midfield areas. Alli at his best is more or less a second striker. Tbh he kind of struggles at CM, like in the WC for England.


Yes. He was worth many millions in the transfer market. It was truly an expensive wasted opportunity.


The fuss is that he’s miles ahead of what we currently have in his position, and the last few weeks proved that. The difference between him being in and out of the side is night and day.


I love Rambo, but I think it’s the right decision.

The cycle of Ramsey is
1. Come back from injury
2. Take a few games to get going
3. Start heavily influencing games
4. Get injured again

Then repeat….


““He was really keen on staying with us” I like Rambo and I’m gutted he’s leaving (especially for free) but he couldn’t have been that keen to stay because ultimately it’s him that has chosen to leave. I’m sure the salary we were offering would’ve still been worth multi-millions over the duration of the contract.


He’s getting 400k a week.
If one of your old collegues offered you 100k+ extra to work with him in Italy with better staff and quality of life I’m sure you’d say no thanks you shower smoking bastard?


Yeah I may well do that, but I’m wouldn’t then be claiming to be “really keen to stay!”


This is good .. Not saying I drink or swallow everything that comes out the club but I’m a fan of information . So many of us invest so much time in this club and since Arsene left the silence has been deafening , we really haven’t got to know the new guys and the new coach simply doesn’t have Arsenes charisma. Personally with Sven gone he is the one I have the most faith in out of the new men behind the scenes , because albeit flawed I know his history and I can see his body of work… Read more »

Spanish Gooner

What I wonder is how Juventus will cope now that Ramsey will be on £400k a week. Obviously there are mitigating circumstances wit the lack of transfer fee, but what are the odds next time the likes of Dybala etc need a new contract they’ll point a big finger at Aaron and say they want the same


Yeah I saw this as counter intuitive…
Like I know FM isn’t the real world of football however surely they can offer him a 40m signing on fee and a reasonable (ha!) salary fm style?
Therefore avoiding the disparity.

Dave Cee

That is probably what they have done. But e.g Dybala will probably be aware of that and ask for the same anyway. Wages are crazy


Wish I had a crystal ball to confirm it, but it does seem like Raul and Vinai will do what it takes to get us moving in the right direction. Raul sounds like a sharp and realistic guy.


“…the bean counters at the Emirates have already highlighted Mesut Ozil’s name in red in their Excel spreadsheet.”
I’d have used conditional formatting. It’s good to see them facing facts on the Rambo fiasco.


It’s really pathetic that Arsenal leadership allowed this to happen. It is not a new or novel strategy to re-sign players before the last year of their contract. Every idiot in the world understands this except the morons who run Arsenal. I have little faith in the people running the organization.

Cultured determination

Mislintat impressed me greatly last season. He gave me hope that we could get back to the exciting days of unearthing gems. Now he’s gone cos of raul. What raul does this season will show us what he’s made up of.


Stating the obvious and covering his own bases. Distancing himself from the ozil big contract fiasco.

Bangkok Gooner

Now just sit and watch when they do the same mistake with laca, Auba and more to come.


Agreed. But what was the logic of withdrawing whatever contract offered to Ramsey?


I really like Aaron and he certainly deserves the very best. But, for me, we can’t afford too higher wage for a player with his injury record. That said,it is certainly more justifiable than the wages some of our big earners are on.


“We realised we were going to cause an imbalance that would have been very harmful for the team’s sake in the medium and longer term.”

If only they realised that a couple of years earlier, we wouldn’t have been in this mess at all. The fact is our wage bill is still hugely imbalanced, with or without Ramsey.


One word ‘OZIL’ that’s what caused the imbalance, just out the person or people who gave the thumbs up to that.


One of many mistakes through the years. First we should have held a gun to the Ox to sign or we let the hungry Gnabry take his place in first team. Instead we lost BOTH players. Then we should have bought Mahrez when he was want away for 40m Instead we elected to sell Alexis (for slightly more money) to United but then lay ourselves hostage to Raiolla and United dictating we take low hanging fruit in Mhkitaryan (past best by date), and a player in a position we already have substantial similar capabilities. We compounded that with panic effort… Read more »


Luis Campos please.

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