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Huss Fahmy – Can He Deliver?

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Arsenal head of football operations, Huss Fahmy, is in limelight along with Vinai Venkatesham and Edu Gasper ever since the departure of Raul Sanllehi. Fahmy will have a big role to play in the current system and he can’t afford to get it wrong.

Hussein Fahmy started his career as a lawyer at a private law firm, Herbert Smith, which later merged with Freehills in 2012. The firm worked in various fields including finance, real estate and energy. Fahmy then went on to work at Sky in various capacities.

Fahmy provided Sky legal counsel for Sky Movies and he also worked upon negotiating broadcast rights agreements with the likes of NBA, ECB, ATP and PGA. While he was negotiating contracts, he still was not involved in the sporting side of things, which did change later on.

He then joined Team Sky, the company’s professional cycling group, which was a rather successful team as they had won five of the last six of the Tour de France. He worked as the head of legal and commercial for the team and this is where he started working with sportsmen.

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He was working with athletes over the negotiation of image rights and other commercial deals. He was brought in at Arsenal in June 2017 as an understudy to Dick Law, who later retired in September of the same year.

To say that Huss Fahmy got a difficult pitch to play on would be a gross understatement. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Özil, Wojciech Szczesny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs were all entering their last year of contract.

In hindsight, Arsenal were the clear winners in only one of these cases as they managed to get a decent fee for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Liverpool. However, to put it all down to Fahmy would be wrong as he was still growing into the role and didn’t necessarily have a say in all of these deals.

Fahmy was initially given the task of dealing with youth contracts as he was being eased into the setup. He was seen as a big win for then CEO, Ivan Gazidis as his involvement would have meant Wenger’s powers being limited and Gazidis successfully did it.

The first big deal which Huss Fahmy settled at Arsenal was Mohamed Elneny. And Fahmy successfully avoided overpaying the midfielder. However, this was by no means was one of the difficult tasks he had on his hands.

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Fahmy was involved in the contract extension talks with Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey. It is believed that Fahmy was the one who decided upon giving Wilshere a deal including a wage cut, however, boosted with performance-based clauses something which didn’t go down well with Wilshere.

Jack Wilshere eventually accepted the contract but he had to leave after being told by new coach Unai Emery that he would be surplus to requirements at Arsenal. However, Fahmy stuck by his contract, which was seen as a favourable deal from the club’s perspective.

Huss Fahmy was also the one who denied Ramsey a wage boost that he was demanding and being the Chief negotiator he was the one to eventually not give him the new contract. However, if this was his individual decision or a collective call by the hierarchy is yet to be known.

Regardless, in a matter of a player of Ramsey’s stature, it’s highly unlikely that he took the call all by himself. Fahmy later went on to become the head of football operations at Arsenal.

Fahmy has since been involved in various deals including the deals of Nicolas Pepe and William Saliba. He is also believed to have played a key role in bringing Mikel Arteta to the Emirates.

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Ever since Raul Sanllehi’s departure his role at the club has become even more significant. While he would still not be the one to have a say on who to sign. But he’ll be the one who tries and gets deals over the line after a target has been identified.

Nonetheless, Fahmy has a mammoth of a task ahead of him, with as many as 14 players going out of contract in the next 2 years, including Aubameyang, Lacazette, and Mustafi, Fahmy needs to act quickly and efficiently. And the current scenario hasn’t made his job any easier.

With Sanllehi gone, his web of contacts has disappeared too. So now it would be on Huss Fahmy to deal with agents and it would really help if he does have contacts with them. Now whether he does have similar contacts or not is for the future to tell.

Though, his track record till now can only suggest that he’s up for the job and can deliver when asked to. Huss Fahmy might not be making many headlines, however, if you do see players coming through the door, just know that Fahmy will have a big part to play.

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