Could Arsenal’s contract negotiation behaviour change with the appointment of Richard Garlic as director of football operations?


An era of chaotic change at Arsenal

The hierarchy at Arsenal has gone under some major changes over recent years. The departure of Arsene Wenger from the club saw the need for a huge amount of recruitment in the executive area. The French manager had so many responsibilities during his 22 years at the club that when he left it was necessary for multiple acquisitions to be made to cover the roles.

The at the time CEO Ivan Gazidis brought in Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanhelli in from Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona respectively. Huss Fahmy joined from Team Sky as Head of Football Operations and to be the club’s main contract negotiator. Unai Emery was ultimately made head coach and took care of all the on-field matters.

Ivan Gazidis

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 03: Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis looks on prior to kickoff during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC at White Hart Lane on March 3, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

However, things began to unravel at the club after a string of poor performances on the pitch and a less than impressive number of transfer windows which saw huge amounts of money paid on player’s fees and wages such as Nicolas Pepe and David Luiz who ultimately failed to impress.

One by one, beginning with Gazidis shortly after Wenger left, these senior figures moved on. The American CEO joined AC Milan, Mislintat left after a conflict of mindsets with the club and eventually joined Stuttgart, Unai Emery was sacked in 2019 after a string of poor performances, Sanhelli was shown the door for reasons which are still speculated and Huss Fahmy handed in his notice recently and left.

Could Arsenal’s contract negotiation behaviour change with the appointment of Richard Garlic as director of football operations?

COLOGNE, GERMANY – JUNE 23: Sven Mislintat of the DFB Pro Licence Course 2010/2011 poses during the photocall at the Rheinenergie Stadium on June 23, 2010 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

In the meantime, during the pandemic 55 members of staff which incorporated members of the recruitment team including experienced figures such as Francis Cagigao and Brian McDermott were made redundant.

This has left the club with a very inexperienced group of people leading it forwards underneath the owner Stan Kroenke. His son, Josh (40), acts as a director at the club and a direct line of communication to his father, Mikel Arteta (38) took over from Emery and has won the FA Cup since his appointment, Edu Gaspar (42) became technical director to effectively replace Mislintat and Vinai Venkatesham (40) who gained a similar role to Gazidis when Sanhelli departed.

Replacing Fahmy with Garlic

Since the departure of Fahmy, there had been no one to step into the contractual negotiation role which was filled by the former Team Sky employee. This is now set to change according to The Athletic who have reported that the Premier League’s director of football Richard Garlic is set to be appointed as director of football operations.

What this means is that Garlic will take over all of the contractual negotiation responsibilities which will be used to both renew players and in signing possible incoming talent.

With him joining in January, there could be some work still to do with players being targeted by Arsenal such as Norwich City’s Emi Buendia. Plus there is the negotiation process which is continuing with youngster Folarin Balogun. There were suggestions that the 19-year-old had received an offer from RB Leipzig and was set to leave Arsenal however that was reportedly not the case.

Arsenal have struggled to agree a deal with Balogun, could it be possible that the incoming Garlic will find more luck in discussions with the player?

Arsenal have also given out large contracts to players such as Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with mixed results. This may be an area that Garlic will assess in future contract negotiations with players and could mean Arsenal refuse to pay big two players and instead let them leave.

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