Arsenal have officially announced their new appointment: former Barcelona director of football, Raul Sanllehi. But what does this mean for Arsene Wenger?

Sanllehi, who has been credited with helping Barcelona sign Neymar and Luis Suarez, has been brought in by the Gunners to help with transfer negotiations. Basically a director of football but without the title, since I’m assuming Wenger’s still opposed to that idea.

Sanllehi will be officially starting at Arsenal in February, not before the transfer window, which is interesting.

The former Barca man is the second backroom appointment in the space of a week. Borussia Dortmund’s famous talent-spotter, Sven Mislintat, has also come in as our new head of recruitment, replacing head scout Steve Rowley at the end of the month.

Mislintat’s nickname is ‘Diamond Eyes’ and he’s been credited with helping Dortmund discover the likes of Shinji Kagawa, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembele and Christian Pulisic.

In addition, Arsenal are also said to be aiming to bring Dortmund’s sporting director, Michael Zorc, to north London.

Head of high performance Darren Burgess, first team coach and Arsenal legend Jens Lehmann, and psychologist David Priestley all joined over the summer. We also have a new performance nutritionist in Richard Allison and Per Mertesacker will be taking charge of the academy at the end of the season.

This is a star-studded line-up if ever I saw one and that’s just behind the scenes. While we were promised a backroom shake-up at the end of last season, this seems to be far more than that. I truly believe that bringing these fine professionals on board is so the club can prepare for life after Arsene Wenger.

The Frenchman has until June 2019 on his contract and I reckon that bringing the likes of Mislintat and Sanllehi to north London speaks volumes about whether Wenger – a man who’s practically run the club by himself for 21 years – will sign a new deal.

Wenger’s 68 now and his reign as Arsenal manager seems to have been winding down for a few years now. The titles have dried up, the fans no longer sing his praises and his men no longer play the total football he implemented in 1996. I don’t think he would leave just because of the fan unrest due to lack of change but you get the feeling that as much as he loves the club, he has to say goodbye some time. He always said that if he no longer felt he was helping the club, he would take a step back. And that time is edging closer.

With the new appointments coming in, they have a year and a half to bed in and implement their strategies within the club. They get the chance to get to know Wenger and learn about his philosophy so that, when he does step down, there won’t be an abrupt change and we can maintain our values.

When it comes to a new manager, it’s likely that rather than a big name, we’ll have a Bruce Rioch-type character come in and ‘look after’ the team for a season until a world class manager is available. After having two decades of one man in charge, like Manchester United, it’ll be a shock when he finally goes. It’ll be a big change and we might not see success again for a long time. There will be a definite transition period.

The future, however, is exciting if a little scary. And I do feel that Arsenal Football Club are finally looking ahead to it.