Earlier today it was reported that there is trouble brewing at the Emirates with Raul Sanllehi and Sir Chips Keswick at loggerheads over the appointment of former Gunner David O’Leary to the Arsenal board.
The Gunners record appearance holder is a regular fixture in the Directors’ Box at the Emirates, and at away games, and many connected to Arsenal feel his knowledge of the game, his experience, and understanding of the club make him an excellent candidate for a position on the board.
Arseblog News understands that a proposal to make that appointment was made to Josh Kroenke by existing board members, however, after a conversation between the owners and Head of Football Sanllehi, it was knocked back, much to the dismay of those in favour of it.
It’s understood there is a concern that the current board are being sidelined, and that key decisions are being made by Sanllehi, and the executive committee which also includes Technical Director Edu, Vinai Venkatesham, and Huss Fahmy. There is also some anxiety over the level of involvement of a number of agents linked to individuals in the new football set-up.
While Ivan Gazidis was a board member, none of those four holds a similar position, with Sanllehi and Venkatesham appointed as Head of Football and Managing Director following the former CEO’s departure for AC Milan last year.
There is certainly a need to add more youth to the current board, which includes an octogenarian and three septuagenarians, so the opposition to O’Leary’s appointment is strange. However, given the new ownership structure with KSE now in 100% control and not beholden to other shareholders, the influence of a ‘board’, such as we’re used to them, is now extremely limited.
Sanllehi’s influence at Arsenal has grown since his arrival in 2018, seeing off former Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat to take control of football matters at the club, and the former Barcelona man was a key advocate of Unai Emery when the club was looking to replace Arsene Wenger.
His influence played a significant part in the decision to cut short the pursuit of Mikel Arteta who had been widely tipped for the job, and instead to go for the former Sevilla and PSG boss.
Arsenal continue to publicly back Emery despite a dismal run of form which sees us eight points off the top four and without a Premier League win since the 1-0 defeat of Bournemouth on October 6th.
While there’s a pressure on the head coach himself, it’s also growing on Sanllehi and his team as they preside over a run of results which make a top four finish increasingly unlikely.