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Vinai And Raul – Part 2 have published the second part of the interview with Vinai Venkatesham and Raul Sanllehi, and there was pretty good explanation of how the structure of the club has changed in the past year.

I have to say that Sanllehi, far more in control of this part of the interview, is an accomplished talker in a foreign tongue. Some may dismiss his smooth patter as well-coached PR but actually I thought he came across as sincere and knowledgeable as you would need your head of football to be.

His likening of the new structure as a skeleton on which we will add muscle and heart. It was good to see the first team put at the head of the skeleton, that’s obviously how it should be, But the emphasis on the academy pushing talent upwards through the legs was very clear. We need to be producing more homegrown talent because that is how all the big clubs act, he said. I’m assuming he disregards the freakish nature of Manchester City’s and PSG’s situation as somehow ignoring them as big clubs.

Even better was the importance of data, analytics, and performance maximisation incorporated. These are areas that we have developed significantly in the last year and we had thought ourselves better advanced than most beforehand. Technical quality allied to better fitness are areas we have perhaps not mastered in recent seasons. Raul’s explanation of using the data to avoid mistakes was probably aimed not just at the current squad, but any future acquisitions too.

To think Ivan Gazidis has been replaced by Vinai suggests how little he contributed, or was allowed to, in the club under Arsene Wenger’s domination. How much the boss did is emphasised by the appointment not just of a head coach, but also a technical director (Edu?) and head of football operations.

We were warned in part one that the discussion would get into the area of contracts and transfers. Raul went further than we might have expected with the Aaron Ramsey situation, and was frankly and rightly critical of us having allowed him to reach the final year of his contract. He did confirm that it was us who withdrew the offer of the contract and explained that the likely offer we would have had to make him to stay would have ‘imbalanced’ the dressing room.

I’m not convinced by the latter point when it is known that we have at least three players earning in excess of £150k per week. I did pick up on an aside he made about Aaron continuing to receive large offers from other clubs. Strictly speaking this was tapping up last Autumn, but all clubs do it as Raul hinted at earlier. That does tie in with the possibility of Raul and/or Vinai having taken umbrage to Aaron being hawked around by his agent after we thought a deal was close.

He was very reassuring about how prepared we were for the transfer window and how he personally hates deals being stretched out to the last day. The proof of the pudding will obviously be in the eating but let’s hope he delivers on what I am sure are his honestly held views.

If you haven’t watched it I would recommend you find a spare 25 minutes. I do feel a bit more positive having watched it, but then I have very rose-tinteds, as you well know.

Have a good one, ‘holics.

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