The Barcelona connection at Inter Miami is continuing as another former Blaugrana has joined the Major League Soccer team. Miami previously signed Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, and Luis Suarez to play alongside Lionel Messi. The quartet all enjoyed lengthy success together with the Spanish side. Manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino also formerly coached the Catalan club. At the executive level, Xavier Asensi joined Miami from Barca in 2021 as well.

Team officials have now announced that Raul Sanllehi has joined the American club. Sanllehi has been named as co-president alongside Asensi. The duo will work together at the upper echelon of the team. Their duties include working on transfers, as well as player development from the academy to the first team. They will report directly to Miami owner Jorge Mas.

Sanllehi brings experience from Barca, Arsenal to Inter Miami

Sanllehi was previously Barca’s director of football from 2008 to 2019. While at the helm, the club collected a plethora of significant trophies. This includes seven LaLiga titles and three Champions League triumphs. The Spanish soccer administrator will be quite familiar with the former Barca contingent in the current Miami squad. Sanllehi also previously helped hire Martino for the Spanish team back in 2013.

Sanllehi ultimately departed Barca to join Premier League side Arsenal. The move came at a time in which the Gunners were transitioning away from manager Arsene Wenger. He, however, left the north London side after just two years at the team.

“I have a blend of experience between leagues with LaLiga and the Premier League, and kinds of elite clubs that play Champions League every year, like Barcelona or Arsenal, so I have a vast vision about football,” Sanllehi explained in an interview with ESPN. “I have a very clear model in which I believe that clubs should be based and grow from there. The ownership wants to turn this club into a global football powerhouse, and that’s something that I embrace completely.”

Sanllehi likely not remembered fondly by Arsenal fans

Sanllehi’s time at Arsenal will be looked back on with mixed feelings. The Spaniard was key in selecting Unai Emery as the managerial successor to Wenger. Although the coach has since found success with Aston Villa, Emery’s time with the Gunners was certainly tumultuous. Sanllehi, along with Sven Mislintat and Ivan Gazidis, essentially opted to hire Emery over Mikel Arteta. The fellow Spaniard was an assistant under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City at the time.

During his first transfer window with Arsenal, Sanllehi helped sign Bernd Leno, Lucas Torreira, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, and Matteo Guendouzi. The quintet cost the English club a combined $83 million. Nevertheless, all of the players eventually departed and the Gunners only managed to recoup around $23 million on their transfers.

Deals for Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba followed in Sanllehi’s second season with Arsenal. Both players currently star in the team’s squad. However, he also sanctioned an $85 million deal for Nicolas Pepe as well. The Frenchman has since left the Gunners as a free agent.

Despite the poor decisions, one of Sanllehi’s last major decisions at Arsenal was the hiring of Mikel Arteta in December of 2019. Although he may have previously overlooked the coach, the decision to bring in the former midfielder was ultimately the correct call. Arteta guided the Gunners to an FA Cup title seven months into the role.

The Spaniard is now regarded as one of the top young managers in all of Europe and has Arsenal regularly fighting for the Premier League title. Miami fans will, however, be hoping that Sanllehi’s time at the team will mirror his earlier Barca days.