Former Barcelona sporting director Raul Sanllehi has been appointed as Arsenal’s new head of football relations to ‘lead future player negotiations’.
Sanllehi’s contract at Barcelona expires next month and he will join the North London club in February, despite reported strong interest from Manchester City.
It was thought City were favourites for his signature due to the boardroom presence of Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain but Sanllehi, who is known for his links to South American football, is also close to Arsenal’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis.
“In the past three years we have supplemented our team with more top-class expertise across every aspect of our football operations,” Gazidis told Arsenal’s website.
“Raul's appointment is another important step in developing the infrastructure we need at the club to take everything we do to the next level.
“Raul has extensive contacts across the football world and has been directly involved in some of the biggest transfers in Europe in recent years. We look forward to him bringing that expertise to Arsenal.”