Arsenal have been dealt a major blow in their hunt for a technical director after front runner Ramon Monchi returned to his old club Sevilla, the La Liga club have confirmed.
The 50-year-old initially joined Sevilla as a goalkeeper in 1988 before becoming the behind-the-scenes mastermind of a glorious modern era.
The club won five Europa Leagues in the space of a decade, beginning with back-to-back titles in 2005-06 and 2006-07 before a run of three in a row concluded with a 3-1 comeback win over Liverpool in 2016 final. Sevilla also claimed the Copa del Rey in 2006-07 and 2009-10.
Monchi departed in 2017 to take on the same role at Roma and, although the capital club secured a third-place finish in 2017-18, their form has deteriorated this season.
Head coach Eusebio Di Francesco paid with his job as a Champions League exit at the hands of Porto came a little over a month after a 7-1 reverse to Fiorentina in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia.
Those setbacks placed Monchi’s normally acclaimed recruitment under a harsh lens and he followed Di Francesco out of the Stadio Olimpico exit door having clashed with fans in the aftermath of the Porto reverse.