For the first time since being appointed Arsenal’s director of football operations, Richard Garlick has spoken publicly about the specifics of his role and his reasons for joining the club.
While it’s a little surprising it’s taken six months to hear from him, when you read what his day-to-day duties entail – an exhaustive list that sees him involved at almost every level of the club – you start to understand why.
Originally recruited from the Premier League as a direct replacement for Huss Fahmy, Garlick’s role appears to have broadened substantially.
In addition to assisting Edu on player acquisitions and sales, overseeing contracts at every level and helping Per Mertesacker with the ops side of the academy, he also seems to have swallowed many of the duties associated with the club secretary position which was recently vacated by David Miles. He even acts as an executive point of contact for Clare Wheatley, the head of women’s football, and a contact for external bodies including the FA.
It’s well worth reading his ‘Official Voices’ column that will appear in Saturday’s matchday programme (see here), but for those who just want a quick hit, we’ve covered a couple of the juicy bits below.
On his role in the transfer process…
“I’m a qualified lawyer, I was in private practice for 10 years, then moved to West Brom, where I was their legal counsel and club secretary for four years before my role evolved into a wider football role. I understand how to convert a transfer plan on paper into one in reality from a financial and legal point of view. Typically, as the transfer deals progress further, that’s when my involvement grows. We get to the point where we have contracts ready to sign, that have been agreed by the board, the finance department and the legal department. Then they are presented to the player and his agent to complete the signing.”
On Arsenal’s summer business…
“From a personal point of view, I was pleased with how the window went. I think there were 57 transactions in total, including renewals, academy registrations and the transfers in and out. The first-team plan was executed very well, I’d say 90 to 95 per cent of what we wanted to do got done. It was a difficult market, but we had a plan and we stuck to it. We have got a lot of good people behind the scenes at the club. They are very diligent, very professional, very hard-working so it all came together well in the end.””
On contract renewals…
“We are always looking ahead at players who might be coming to the end of their deals. Both in the near future but also 18 months or two years down the line. This applies to the men’s, women’s and academy teams. I won’t go into any names, but certainly I sit down with the board, Mikel, Edu, Per, Jonas and Clare and we discuss those players and what our plans are. We get a plan in place, then we start to execute it. That’s happening now for next summer, and the one after that. It’s a longer-term view. We have a strategy for each player depending on their situation.”
On why he joined Arsenal…
“When I got approached about this opportunity I was really excited. I already knew a lot of the people here, and it was simply one of those opportunities that don’t present themselves that often. I felt it was a good time to be coming here. I know there have been a lot of changes over the past few years, but I saw it as an opportunity to make an impact, to help stabilize and move the club forward. There have been some challenges of course: post-Covid, restructuring internally and so on. So a lot has been going on, but what I’ve found out so far is that there are a lot of good people at the club. A lot of talented people who all share the same vision of making this club a success and getting us back to where we were before, but also in a sustainable way. The ownership is very supportive as well.”
Like we mentioned earlier, definitely check out the full article.