The crucial role Sven Mislintat is still playing in Arsenal transfers despite shock exit
Sven Mislintat may be gone from Arsenal but his work has certainly not been forgotten.
‘Diamond Eye’, as the former Borussia Dortmund talent spotter was known, departed Arsenal in February, no longer willing to serve as head of recruitment having been passed over for the technical director job that is set to go to Edu.
In scarcely a year with Arsenal Mislintat had already proven his worth, unearthing a promising young defender in Konstantinos Mavropanos and championing moves for Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, all of whom proved to be impressive additions to Unai Emery’s squad last season.
Little wonder then, that Mislintat’s influence is still visible in some, if not all, of the transfers the Arsenal hierarchy are pursuing this summer.
Most significant of all is perhaps Markus Schubert, the archetypal Mislintat signing. Though the Germany Under-21 goalkeeper is not short of interest from the Bundesliga and elsewhere few have tracked the Dynamo Dresden prospect as keenly as Mislintat.
It is little wonder that of the sides most seriously rivalling Arsenal for Schubert’s signature VfB Stuttgart, the club Mislintat subsequently joined, are near the front of the queue.
Schubert bears a great many of the hallmarks of Leno and is confident with the ball at his feet but is more commanding in the air than Arsenal’s current No.1; there are many in German footballer who are convinced Mislintat has spotted another outstanding talent in the 21-year-old.
The pursuit of Schubert is far from the only transfer bearing the hallmarks of Mislintat.
Indeed there is a possibility that the January transfer decisions that proved to be the straw that broke the camels back for a man described as a “lone wolf” by Arsenal’s insiders may ultimately be reversed to offer further vindication to Mislintat.
The German was known to favour a loan move for Yannick Carrasco of Dalian Yifang at a time when head coach Unai Emery and head of football Raul Sanllehi ultimately opted to recruit Denis Suarez from Barcelona on a temporary basis, a move whose only redeeming feature was that Arsenal were not obliged to make that brief stay a more permanent one.
Now Emery is believed to be considering a revival of the move for Carrasco with agents circles abuzz with speculation over whether Arsenal will end up with the Belgian international or Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser. Were they to end up with the former Mislintat may be entitled to a rye smile.
If Arsenal are still willing to pursue targets who were championed by Mislintat it is tempting to wonder why it was they allowed one of Europe’s most highly-regarded talent spotters to walk out of the door in the first place, particularly having done such impressive work to convince him to finally leave Dortmund in the first place. After all, even Bayern Munich had failed in that pursuit before.
The truth is that Mislintat was an uneasy fit with the new collegiate approach at Arsenal, keeping himself to himself and showing little appetite to manage or engage with the sizeable scouting network he was overseeing. On only one occasion did he bring that entire team together during the 13 months he was in place at the Emirates Stadium.
A new recruitment team will soon be in place, determined to improve on their inheritance from Mislintat. Francis Cagigao, a popular former youth player at the club, has already championed a move for Gabriel Martinelli that has received the backing of Edu.
Yet that does not mean that Arsenal have not learned from their year with Mislintat. A club that prior to his appointment had been making an increasing number of ‘marquee’ signings such as Alexandre Lacazette is instead looking at the market in more imaginative ways, hence interest in Ligue 2 forward Alexis Claude-Maurice, 18-year-old centre-back William Saliba and the aforementioned Schubert.
To an extent these moves have been forced upon Arsenal by financial constraints but when the club have enjoyed such success with Mislintat signings over the past year it is little wonder they want to repeat those methods even without the man himself.
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