Following the news that Mikel Arteta has had his title upgraded from head coach to manager and with Vinai Venkatesham confirming he is now Arsenal’s CEO, there is a clear chain of command at the Emirates that sees Edu sit between the two with Per Mertesacker heading up the club’s Academy.
The Technical Director has now outlined how he sees things running at London Colney and Hale End going forward; his first attempt to explain why there was a cull of the scouting staff, including the much respected Francis Cagigao, in the aftermath of our FA Cup success in August.
Interestingly, he claims a desire to more work closely with StatDNA, the in-house analytics department bought by Arsenal six years ago and until recently, headed up by Jaeson Rosenfeld who took up a role with Arsene Wenger at FIFA in March.
Given Sven Mislintat, our former head of scouting, cited a shift away from the use of analytics and data as a key reason for his own departure, it’s interesting to see it moving back in that direction now that Raul Sanllehi has departed.
The Spaniard left last month just 24 hours after news broke of a review into the club’s recent transfer dealings, which appeared to be heavily agent-led.
“It is simple for me,” said Edu. “With my position here I want to put in place one clear process how we are going to sign, who gets the responsibilities, where we start to understand where we need the player, the position we need, the characteristics we need. That has to be very clear internally right now.
“The decision we made, to change a little bit our infrastructure, it is clear for me. I want to work with less people. I want to work with StatDNA a lot more, which we have internally here at the club and is very important.
“The people I want to work with, I want them to be very close to me. I want to create a group of people working together.
“I don’t want individual people working in one area or for one country. I want a group working together. Less people with much more responsibility. That is my vision and for me in this process the most important thing is that everyone is very clear on the responsibilities which everyone has to make the right decision.”
He added: “It is important to be clear. What I would like from now is that everything related to football has to come through me. All the contacts, agents, internally, externally, people outside Arsenal, have to see me — and my name — as the first one to call or connect to. It is important because sometimes they feel unclear about it. To be clear and open that is how we are going to operate.
“Anything related to football has to be driven to me. Of course, I have to talk to Mikel, I have to talk to Vinai and then the board.
“Everything related to players has to be between me and Mikel. There are a lot of departments in the club that are linked with football. Who is the guy who has to look after these people? I think it has to be the technical director, of course, linked with the manager. For me, it’s almost impossible for just one person to look after everyone. It is a lot of responsibility and I feel confident, I feel prepared to be driving Arsenal in this way.”
Vinai Venkatesham also addressed concerns that Arsenal’s transfer business has been too heavily tied to the influence of certain super agents, including Arturo Canales and Kia Joorabchian.
The latter has placed three of his clients, David Luiz, Cedric Soares and Willian, at the club in quick succession and was spotted in the Director’s Box with Edu and Sanllehi on several occasions last season.
“We don’t select players based on the identity of their agent,” affirmed Venkatesham.
“We select players based on the position we need to strengthen and the characteristics we are looking for in a player and if the player is out there who meets those characteristics.
“Who the agent is comes out at the end, once we have decided who the player is. We are not signing players based on the identity of the agent. That would be a crazy strategy.”
Interesting stuff. It sounds like we’re turning over a new leaf. At least, we hope so.