Let’s be honest here, it’s no surprise to learn that the departure of head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat from Arsenal was due to a number of issues.
Being overlooked for the role of technical director was the final straw but after Unai Emery’s appointment, it was clear that the two were incompatible after disagreeing on targets and potential transfers.
The Spaniard and Mislintat clashed regarding the acquisition of Lucas Torriera (22) with Emery favouring Frenchman Steven Nzonzi, who was a foot taller at 6ft 4in. One problem was that Nzonzi was felt to be a short term solution and at the age of 29 Arsenal needed a mixture of youth and ability and Torriera’s stats managed to capture the imagination of Mislintat and analytics expert Jaeson Rosenfeld.
Mislintat won the day and the argument, with Torriera arriving at the Emirates but this decision set the pair on collision course and only one would survive.
It’s no secret that Mislintat liked to work outside the structure of his employers and mostly in secret to prevent alerting others to his potential targets. It’s been a method that has been massively successful for ‘Diamond Eye’ in his career and it has established his reputation as one of, if not the best talent spotter in World football.
However, Emery and Arsenal were tired of his isolated endeavours, which earned him the name of ‘Lone Wolf’ and they grew frustrated about the lack of information being fed back and at times had no idea of his whereabouts.
He is also alleged to have had a solitary meeting with recruitment staff in his time on the post, sharing nothing and giving very little direction. He preferred his own council and would only connect when his list of prospects were required.
He was also said to be quite feisty if his recommendations were not followed up and he showed very little trust apart from through his own network of contacts which covers the globe.
Mislintat wanted to be a one man band and at the same time, the appreciative audience, basking in the success but wary of anyone or anything that would lower his profile. The German has become something of an enigma over the years and is used to operating in his own way, something which caused a similar stand off at Borussia Dortmund.
The head of recruitment was also disappointed by Wenger’s removal because he thought that the Frenchman would allow him the artistic freedom he needed to unearth new talent. He was apparently told in passing after the board had removed him and when he found out that Emery was about to fill the much diluted role of head coach, Mislintat seriously considered his options.
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More discussions followed, but Mislintat appeared to be more aloof than ever and future potential targets were a source of disagreement. Mislintat opting for young and emerging talent, Emery preferring a mixture of youth and experience.
Mislintat decided to go before the split was acrimonious and Arsenal fans were left questioning why ?
Both parties issued bland appreciative statements and went their separate ways. With the Germans departure, it appears that no lasting damage has been done, with Arsenal still able to compete vigorously in a shallow transfer market.