Over the past couple of decades, along with their football on the pitch, Arsenal have become well-known for their strength in recruitment also. However, this reputation was heavily built during the first half of Arsene Wenger’s 21-year tenure in North London.
That period saw a vast amount of European players come to the club, from Patrick Vieira in 1996 to Robert Pires in 2000. Another slight change that occurred along with Wenger’s arrival was his appointment of Steve Rowley as Chief Scout. With over 20 years in the role and 25 years at the club there’s no doubt he’s been involved in some great transfers for us, but now that he’s parted ways with us it’s time to introduce our new Head of Recruitment.
Sven Mislintat. Coming to N5 from Borussia Dortmund next month, the 45-year-old’s scouting reputation is second-to-none. During his 10 years at Dortmund, he was nicknamed the ‘diamond eye’ and it’s not hard to see why when you look at his track record. Players he’s been credited with pinpointing for signing include: Robert Lewandowski, Shinji Kagawa (who he went to Japan to see play numerous times for Cerezo Osaka), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele among many more.
The encouraging thing with all of those listed above, along with others, is that they’ve all proved to be very successful signings. Whether that’s the success of trophies with Lewandowski and Kagawa during Jurgen Klopp’s tenure or success in terms of profit which would be the case with Dembele who was bought for €15million and moved on for a reported €105m to Barcelona in the summer.
However, with Arsenal no longer needing to pay off any stadium debts, hopefully his assignments for Arsenal will be focused on bringing more trophies to the club. We shouldn’t escape the fact that Wenger likes to find bargains where he can though, and with Mislintat finding such talent at such cheap prices (Kagawa – €350k & Lewandowski – €4.5m) we could possibly expect the same from him at Arsenal.
With such a range in his scouting knowledge, exemplified in finding Kagawa, it only offers a bigger spectrum of potential players to pick from. But, with his arrival, one person we might struggle to bring in once we’re on the lookout for Arsene Wenger’s replacement is Thomas Tuchel.
Working in close quarters together at Dortmund last season, the two didn’t see eye-to-eye following the breakdown of a transfer for Atletico Madrid’s Oliver Torres. Tuchel blamed Mislintat for this which caused the latter to avoid the Dortmund ground for a while but in the end, it would be Tuchel who was shown the door come summertime.
Upon arrival, Mislintat is said to be working closely with Wenger, Ivan Gazidis and other coaches, having been approached by Bayern Munich a few seasons ago to become their Technical Director. So I guess Gazidis will use this to somehow prove that we’re now competing with Bayern.
But to end this positive news on a positive note, the trip from Dortmund to Arsenal has been a promising one with Jens Lehmann and Tomas Rosicky having pretty decent times in North London so hopefully, we get more of the same from big Sven Mislintat.