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Richard Garlick: Who is Arsenal’s new Director of Football Operations?

By Allan Riley

When David Ornstein announced that Arsenal had recruited Richard Garlick as their new Director of Football Operations, the reaction was one of confusion. Most didn’t have a clue who Garlick was, or why he was drafted in by the club. In his piece for The Athletic, Ornstein confirmed that Garlick would be filling the hole left by Huss Fahmy following his departure last November. Garlick has been the Premier League’s Director of Football since 2018, and will now be in charge of overseeing all contract negotiations with current members of the Arsenal squad, as well as potential new signings. Fahmy became somewhat of a meme during his time with the club, famously saying “We won’t let players enter the last two years of their contract without making a decision on their future.” That didn’t happen. Garlick, however, is now the man in the contractual hot seat, and will move into the role later this year, so who is he and what will he bring to the club?

A qualified solicitor specialising in sports law, Garlick spent several years bouncing between different law firms before joining West Brom. In eight years at the Baggies, Garlick served as the club’s Director of Football, as well as its legal director, secretary and technical director. He then joined the Premier League as the body’s Director of Football. His job there involved several operations such as youth development, coaching and player education. In a statement released by Arsenal, the club said "He will be a member of the Arsenal executive team and will be working closely with Technical Director Edu, Manager Mikel Arteta, and Academy manager Per Mertesacker. "His responsibilities will include football operations in the first team and academy, all player contract management, and relationships with football’s governing bodies.” But what will Garlick bring to Arsenal? Well, as the Daily Cannon put it; “Richard Garlick comes with expert qualified knowledge of sports law and has experience performing this role at another big club in the UK. That combination will appeal to Arsenal as he will handle big-money contracts and negotiating with top players both at the club and around the world.”

Garlick could have his work cut out at Arsenal early on as well. Currently, there are three players out of contract in the summer; Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz and Folarin Balogun. Mesut Ozil's contract has just been contract terminated, while Mustafi looks to be released at the season’s end as well. Reports today suggest his contract could also be cancelled early. Mikel Arteta has come out and said he’s open to extending Luiz’s contract while the club are fighting to get Balogun to sign a new deal. There are also a host of squad players out of contract at the end of the 2021/22 season. After years of shoddy squad management and poor contractual negotiation, Garlick could be the man to ensure that we don’t see anymore Willian-like deals at Arsenal.

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