Monday, June 17, 2024

Sanllehi: We need to outsmart the market

Arsenal today dropped a lengthy interview with Managing Director, Vinai Venkatesham, and Head of Football Raul Sanllehi in which they speak about Unai Emery, reaching the Europa League final, Stan and Josh Kroenke, and more.

The pair were at pains to stress just how ambitious KSE are, while preaching patience as it will take time for them to realise their lofty ambitions for the club.

Just as a reminder, this is what they said in the offer document when they purchased the shares of Alisher Usmanov before taking 100% control back in August:

KSE’s ambitions for the Club are to see it competing consistently to win The Premier League and The Champions League, as well as the major trophies in the women’s senior game and at youth level.

Many questioned how it’s possible to make those things happen with greater investment from the owners, but again we were reminded that the club would continue to operate its self-sustaining model while respecting Financial Fair Play.

The solution, according to Sanllehi, is to make up for relatively restricted transfer budgets by being more clever than other clubs.

“We need to outsmart the market,” he said. “We need to make the right signings, do the right sales, the coaching staff needs to prepare the games properly like they do.

“It just means hard work and outsmarting the market. That’s the two, I would say, essences of success, if we want to be there.”

Going into a transfer window having not replaced the Head of Recruitment or appointed a Technical Director might not be seen as particularly smart, but time will tell as the summer progresses.

As for the owners, Sanllehi said they are fully supportive of the club’s current direction.

“They are about succeeding, they really want us to get to the optimal position for the club, and we feel the support every time we speak with them, every time we receive a WhatsApp or an email,” he said.

“All the time, every message that we get is supportive, but with one ultimate objective: that’s winning and winning our way.

“They are in every sport and they are with passion in every sport. It’s a pleasure to work for these people that really get it.”

The Spaniard was backed by Venkatesham, who continued, “Their direction is quite simple: every single penny that we generate as a football club is available for us to invest against achieving that ambition, and that is the maximum that we can ask from our owners because that is the maximum allowed through the financial fair play rule.

“They’re really passionate about how we can move the club forward, but they’re also realistic.

“They know we’re not going to go from where we are at the moment to delivering our ambition overnight, and they know that there’s going to be a whole load of work along the way to get there.”

It’s like Ivan Gazidis never left, except now there’s two of him.

Read/Watch the full PR fluff-piece interview on

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Actions speak louder than words. After the transfer window closes in the middle of August we’ll see just how ‘ambitious’ Kroneke really is.

Michael Bolton Wanderers

I don’t think we need to wait and see


Sanllehi I’m not sure if he can outsmart everyone (though his acquisition of players like Denis Suarez for a mere €2.5m excluding wages for half a season, give me full confidence that he can), but let me tell you what – he surely outfoxed that old fart, Venga, when he snatched the likes of Hleb, Song and Vermaelen for a combined fee exceeding hundreds of millions of pounds (excluding wages) back when his genius was working for Barcelona. He was also instrumental in bringing Ibrahimovic to Barca, for a mere €40m plus a nobody like Samuel Eto’o who incomprehensibly won… Read more »


Some serious Austin Powers gear on Raul.

If anything — recent events have clearly highlighted we’re not out smarting anyone. Barcelona had our pants down with that Suarez deal.

I can’t say I’m expecting anything other than more hilarious transfer dealings this summer.


Erm firstly if you are using those terms then you have to be 100% correct.
Ffp allows owners investment, just not an excessive amount over 3 years….
So the maximum we can spend is whatever we make +£30ish million.
He could put in 100m this season, but we would have to make most of it back for 2 years after.

I’m not wenger so don’t have a masters degree in finance, so I can’t say which approach is best.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Some owners have companies that sell merchandises or services to the public and can use their company to give a big advertisement contract to the club. If they do not exaggerate, it goes through. KSE is a sports investment company and other than lending money to the club as explained above, they can’t put KSE logo on our shirts and give 200 millions to the club. Kroenke does not have the power or right to manipulate Walmart as 49% of the shares are owned by others than his wife’s family. There is no other solution than participating to the CL… Read more »


Well… had we sold Mustafi last Summer for £25M as I’d prayed?
Arsenal likely would have not p*ssed-away those 7 points that he did.
Then– we would have made minimum £40M+ being in the CL this season.

An extra £65M+ playing in the CL?
And here we’re hoping Raul/Vinai are smarter than me?

We don’t win in Baku? All things considered?
Arsenal are stuck in neutral for yet another season.


“Neutral” would be kind to describe that outcome. Considering the statistics of how poorly we have played under Emery this season, losing the Final would definitely be in “reverse” gear.


“It’s like Ivan Gazidis never left, except now there’s two of him.”

Perfect ending!


Yep. We really have heard all this several times before. By the first week in August we will see how smart and ambitious the club currently is.

We improved 7 points this season. If we did the same next season, I would call it a triumph ; although I take the point some might not.


Do they look like or sound like people, who are going to outsmart the market though.


They look like people who are away from the office attending a three day training course entitled ‘Utilising Synergy to Leverage Excellence’ or something similar.


Time will tell….. Gazidis was a smooth talker, but there was zero substance to backup anything he said.

I’m happy for these guys to be absolutely terrible communicators,(which they are) providing they can develop clever structures and make good decisions.

We’re up against it, and as it stands I’m pretty confident that the best we can hope for next season is just more of the same, which is a fight for top4.

Michael Bolton Wanderers

Raul looks a bit like he’s stuck in the 70’s. I’m fine with that though


“We need to outsmart the market”

Sounds like a line from a second rate club, not one that’s perennially listed in Forbes’ Top 10 Richest Football Clubs.

Where’s the money at?!


110m pounds in Auba & Laca + 350k a week for Ozil, that’s where most of it went. Why are people expecting us to spend like MU or City or even Pool after selling Coutinho when we never ever had a revenue close to MU, oil money, or good financial management since Dein?

Billy Bob

Well seeing how Man City are just going to keep buying trophies and make the premier league like the Italian one – where Juventus buy the titles – football is going to become seriously boring!!! I hope the bubble bursts but, unfortunately, I very much doubt it!!! FFP is a good idea in theory, shame it isn’t put into practice!!! RIP competitive football!!!


What a load of horse shit. You only make money if you win things. This in turn makes you a global brand like Utd and liverpool. That global brand will then keep the money turning over if things go south. Once the stadium becomes half empty for home games and your not winning, players don’t want to join and half decent players want to leave. Soon there will be fuck all money generated. Until the Kroenke fuck off out of our club we’re doomed


I wish it was as simple as the stadium being empty to get Kroenke out. He makes money on so many levels and will continue to do so even if attendance was zero.

Dublin Gunner

Sponsors won’t tolerate an empty stadium. When they start to fuck off the penney will drop..


Prime fluff that is just falling out their mouths and it’s rancid.

Kroenke’s hand is so far up both their arses it’s a joke.

Show some ambition by making a statement and signing someone like Zaha, and backing a manager who you’ve left on a tightrope.


You had me agreeing til you mentioned Zaha as a statement. He wouldn’t be bad, but there are a lot better, non-flop, players without the ridiculous homegrown fee. A statement he is not.


Is outsmarting the market allowing Ramsey to leave on a free and signing a brittle Barcelona reject who can’t play when we needed defensive reinforcements?

Fair play. Redefining smart. That IS ambitious.


i think that had more to do with Wenger and Gazidis’ failings


“So, Vinai, here’s how we’re going to outsmart the market. First we’ll edge out a man who is acknowledged to be one of the in the business at unearthing talent. Well he’s not Spanish is he…Then we’ll employ this nice Spanish bloke I know as his replacement. He’s bound to come to Arsenal, because, well, he’s Spanish. Then we’ll bring in this fantastic player I kniw, on loan. He’s brilliant. Did I mention he’s Spanish.”

How did that work out you bullshitting sub Gazidis halfwit?

Faisal Narrage

I loved this post up until the last line.

Bendtner’s Ego

That fat-necked fuck isn’t outsmarting anyone.

Lord Bendnter



Ridiculous!! After 12 years of decline under KSE they want more time and give us the same fluffy corporate speak.

Arsenal’s Independent Traders

“Play it cool Vinnie, play it cool. This time next year we’ll be winning the champions league”


They really do think we’re idiots don’t they.
If you don’t buy the best players you win shit all.


I suspect the only people they’re going to outwit is themselves. But hey, I look forward to being pleasantly surprised..


The last paragraph says it all. Utter bollocks

SB Still

Erm, what were they looking to achieve with this interview? Kronkes want a protective layer – get the MD/HoF to say the owners are great? Is there anything new?

I just hope we are not in a position that the same video can be played at the end of next season. I hope we make progress but struggling to say it with optimism, this summer transfer window will determine that.


He’s just a fat Austin Powers…


There’s so much talk about the club and what they need to do in the summer and what steps they need to take towards getting them back nearer the top of the table but that’s all irrelevant if they’re heading in the opposite direction and will likely to continue that way as long as Kroenke is ownership. The only potential way back is if there is a super league and the revenue from that is enormous, Kroenke will want in.


I’ve been thinking about those cost cutting measures that the Kronke’s implemented as soon as they took over. Could it be that they’d highlighted ways to increase the revenue for the playing squad by trimming other areas of the club? Of course it could be that they just wanted to increase their profits. Only time will tell I guess.


Christ. This is going to last through the rest of my life, right? I am not sure how to deal with this. I’ve never been self-destructive, but this is hard to deal with this.

Bai Blagoi

With Sven gone, Raul’s smartness goes as far as releasing Rambo for free.


Toure Motors

He looks like a fat Austin Powers


Get the club in the optimal position sounds too much like top four and we’re good


I’m prepared to wait and see. They’ve delivered on the Academy and Arsenal Women, and they’ve upgraded all the support teams like fitness and medical. They were never going to fix the first team in one season and this year was the first one they were totally in charge. Ivan Gazidis wasn’t as useless as Bloggs would have us believe, he was the one who started the changes, and I don’t think these two are bad either. They’re obviously trying to connect with fans, there have always been complaints that they keep us in the dark, now they’re trying to… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

I agree that Ivan isn’t the evil blogs have ensured he is. For all his flaws, he was responsible for a lot of the good things; the academy was rancid until he forced changes, it’s almost forgotten how much better we’re handling injuries compared to previous years (when Ivan enforced all the necessary medical changes with a new wing and structure), tried to implement analytics (not without it’s flaws, but Liverpool have been doing the same and it’s worked well), hired Sven, etc. I will say jury is very much out of Raul though. Issues of Ivan aside, at least… Read more »


Sven is an interesting one, he seems to have personal issues wherever he goes and no big clubs were interested in him when he left us. I guess we’ll only know if he’s a big loss when we see what happens this summer. The Suarez saga doesn’t bode well, but hopefully they will have learned from that. It may be that Edu comes in in July, but a lot of decisions will have been made before then. I hope we get some good players, I’d rather see two or three really class players and promote some youngsters than get five… Read more »


Sanllehi is right – and he’s wrong. Football is now well and truly in the “Moneyball” world: getting value for your money is absolutely imperative today, even for the biggest clubs. Just look at the way in which Man United and ourselves have squandered huge amounts of wage money on underachievers like Sanchez and Ozil: both clubs have been badly stung by these parasites. Spending huge transfer fees and then paying out massive wages to “superstars” who then underperform can wreck your season and also create disharmony in the dressing room. Every penny is precious and should be spent getting… Read more »


Spuds have been lucky that Kane is not very ambitious, as he could easily make twice his salary elsewhere, but they will start seeing some significant departures because of their affordable model — Alderweireld and Eriksen and Rose all look to want more, and being overachievers lasts only so long. Their luck is about to run out. They can’t compete with your second paragraph’s reality much longer.


And you can bet that Levy will get the absolute maximum transfer fee from any potential buyer. But at Arsenal we allow our star players to run down their contracts and walk away for peanuts – or nothing.

Cygans Parting

What like Toby Aldeweireld. Out of contract in July until Spud’s panicked and triggered a one year extension meaning that they now will only get £25m if they sell this summer for one of the best centre backs in the premier League. Or Eriksen one year left on his contract and refusing to sign a new one?

Faisal Narrage

That’s still smarter than us. At least they had the sense to put in an extension trigger, meaning they can at least get something (let’s not forget he’s 30).

What would we have done? Probably what we did with Ramsey and Welbeck; let them walk for free.

Faisal Narrage

Liverpool and Dortmund have come pretty close to showing the moneyball model can lead to success. Spurs annoyingly too (hopefully they fall short at the CL final). I mean Liverpool got Coutinho for £8.5M and sold for almost x20 as much. Same for Solanke. We used to be the model for that.

So yes, those are showing it is possible overachieve with that. Maybe not consistently, but that’s about the best we can hope for unless we sell out to Oil money (which I don’t want).


How about just being smart, this ‘outsmarting’ tag is just garbage if we’re being honest.


When they make a television miniseries about the club later, Raul will be played by Ian McShane.


Lets Ramsey and Welbeck leave for nothing.
Fails to fill Head of Recruitment and Technical Director positions.
Held to ransom by Ozil and Sanchez.
Really smart that.

Faisal Narrage

The Ozil and Sanchez thing was under the previous regime tbf.


With the news that they think they have an ‘leading technology capability’ basically means cutting costs.

F Kroenke. Does he even realise that even data analysis tools need data analysis themselves to check whether it works and doesn’t end up buying or suggesting one dimensional players the managers dont want… mustafi, perez, gabriel, kolasinac.

It’s no wonder Mislintat jumped ship.

Don’t see how the one guy who can consistently outsmart the market (and proven: torreira, sokratis, guendouza) was let go, or even ‘deperately tried to keep’, makes that headline remotely true.

Faisal Narrage

1. Sven is a deep user of data. It’s one of his USPs. 2. Suggesting the data was only used for the bad players is disinengious at best. Who’s to say it wasn’t a big factor in the likes og Douzi, Torreira, Laccazette? 3. By all accounts, the scouting reports talked down Perez in particular, but Wenger bought him. Also it’s also the case that the data is provided for the type of players wanted. Mustafi and Xhaka are very much in line with the type of CBs and DMs we were getting under Wenger before we got statDNA (more… Read more »


Honestly if I was Mislintat, I would have moved to Derby or Norwich instead of stay at Arsenal. Such a dead end working with Kroenke.

Faisal Narrage

“KSE’s ambitions for the Club are to see it competing consistently to win The Premier League and The Champions League, as well as the major trophies in the women’s senior game and at youth level.
Many questioned how it’s possible to make those things happen with greater investment from the owners…”

TBF, they got 2 out of 3 right; women won the league and the under 18s came close. 😀

Drogo the Mongo

First the GOT finale and then this. Fuck you life.


One look at the thumbnail photo and I thought – “Jackie Chan??”

Either I need an eye checkup or Raul Sanhelli has at least a passing resemblance with Jackie Chan.

Raul Powers, the spy who shagged arsenal



Oh behave!


Reminds me of this music video from Rage Against The Machine:
It’s like Gazidis divided like a cell and now we have two?

Also our super clever approach to outsmart the market is to do completely incompetent and ridiculous things, like hire no one to handle our transfers for the best part of a year, presumably to utterly confuse and baffle our adversaries into inaction and disarray. What could go wrong?

Jack gunner

Outsmart the mart?Where were MC/Arsenal ten years ago?The gunners were rated in the top 5 richest clubs then and have been overtaken by Chelsea as well on the pitch and of it too. Now Arsenal have fallen to the level of WHU and it doesn’t take agenius to lay the blame. You reap what you sow. MC aim to win the cl whereas Arsenal only want to take part . That shows the level of ambition in both clubs. THe US owner is using the gunners as an atm. I cried when the Russian sold his shares. I don’t know… Read more »


What a dumb thing to say. “Outsmarting the market…?” The price just went up on every player we’re in for. It’s ok to say these things internally, but you shouldn’t be saying it in a public forum. You don’t want to offend the party you’re trying to strike a deal with.

Naked Cygan

Very smart to show your hand. Now every club we try doing business will think we are trying to outsmart them. Smh
You can’t make this shit up!!!

Kartik Iyer

Even if we are smart….good players cost more! A neymar or mbappe costs 200 million…man city can buy a whole squad of 50-100 million+ signings. Do we really expect to beat them with a total budget equal to what they bought their cheapest players for??? I know I know …identify the mbappe before he becomes the mbappe! But how many next messis, Ronaldoals and mbappes do we hear about and how many actually come good?

We want to win against giants with missile launchers with a peashooter… smart he says!

Philip Visser

Total PR bullshit interview. These guys must take all fans for stupid. Listen to what is not being said about monies, investment, ownership, recruitment ambition and you get a better idea of where we gonna be next season and the 5 beyond. Wanted to throw up after 3 min of listening to the waffling especially from Vinai. slick choreographed and rehearsed.

North Bank Gooner

Oohh, quick, my membership letter arrived in the post last week, and we are gonna outsmart the market!!

Where is my credit card……


All i know is the Rams have a 5 Billion dollar stadium while ours was built for a mere 300 million. We don’t need financial doping but please show us some ambition this off-season.


If that happen it should have happened 10 years ago at the day Kroenke took over Arsenal.

It just won’t happen.


Don’t try to be too clever. We carry risk if we buy relative unknowns without the right sort of technical director on helm. hit and MSlintat yet to be replaced. Edu sounds like (if true) a selection easily under the thumb of Raul but not necessarily the best choice. We need someone who can ferret out the talent but also carry the deal across the line. The market is VERY competitive not just with 10 clubs ahead of us in spending will and power but even slightly lower rung clubs (Wolves, Everton) have ambition these days and will nominally scoop… Read more »

Arthur Mills

If the injection of money isn’t coming in, how can we buy top class players. Put some cash into our great club.

Arthur Mills

Speculate to accumulate Mr. Kronke

ezechie uche

My first question what is the use of having a youth team/ league if we don’t replenish the senior team with them,if it’s outdated then let’s scrap it and focus the funds on the senior teams.I really don’t buy into the idea of spending 80 to 100m pounds of an 18/23 yrs player developed by other team because they have the balls to experiment.Reiss Nelson went on loan in Germany and had a wonderful half season can’t we continue from there . Gunners let’s get serious and see the talents we have and kick start

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