Former Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat believes that the club is an ‘absolute mess’, ‘dysfunctional and with no clear plan’. As the club goes through a crisis both on and off the pitch, these comments by the former chief scout at Borussia Dortmund could not be even more true than it already is.
Sven Mislintat was appointed as the head of recruitment at Arsenal in December 2017 but departed the club 14 months later. Since his departure he has repeatedly voiced his displeasure of being constantly overruled by Arsenal’s head of football, Raul Sanllehi back then.
Since then, Arsenal have had to face with numerous number problems all cropping up one after another, both on and off the field. Ranging from poor squad planning to incomprehensible player purchases and incoherent decision making, a lot has been happening at the club that seems very hard to decipher or make sense of to all of us watching from the outside and Mislintat seems to be no different from us and his recent statements astutely sum up Arsenal’s recent problems.
According to Miguel Delaney of the Independent, Sven Mislintat has been quoted telling people that Arsenal are an “absolute mess”, “dysfunctional and with no clear plan”. Not that we are crying foul and in all fairness we actually couldn’t agree more. What he had felt back then is what we are seeing out in the open right now.
Oftentimes, Arsenal have been criticized for tightening their purse strings and not spending a lot in the transfer market. That’s more or less the frustration that all supporters have had embedded in hearts for an extensive period of time. At one point of time it seemed like the Club intended to pivot into a different financial and Operating model where instead of basing their presence around European bigwigs like Bayern Munich or Juventus or Barcelona, we would instead focus on modelling our operation around clubs like Borussia Dortmund, Leicester City or Porto. What better way to do that than by hiring the man that made it happen at Dortmund.
For Mislintat this was right up his alley, as he had already worked at a club that was struggling financially and had to depending on extensive scouting for squad building.
His emphasis on building youth-oriented squads and finding talented players at a young age earned him the name of ‘Diamond Eye’, with then 33-year-old veteran goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller being his oldest acquisition. The average age of the Borussia Dortmund squad that played the Champions League final then in 2013 was 25 and star players snapped under his discretion included Robert Lewandowski, Sven Bender, Neven Subotic and Mats Hummels and recent players like Ousmane Dembele, Christian Pulisic, and Jakub Błaszczykowski all of whom have risen to great heights since then.
At Arsenal as the head of recruitment, he was instrumental in signing defender Konstantinos Mavropanos, a young defender who’s having a fairly successful season on loan at FC Nurnberg, in addition to signings like Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira both of whom play a pivotal role in our present
Instead of being able to name just a few, we should have been able to field a generation of young talents who would have shaped the clubs future but that never happened. Clash of ideals with the clubs new numero Uno Raul Sanllehi along with unhappiness at the new operating principle led to his eventual departure. The proverbial straw broke the camel’s back when Denis Suarez was signed on loan in January 2019. Sven Mislintat resigned shortly after that.
With the new operating model down the drain and innovator-in-chief out the door, Arsenal successfully shifted to a traditional model of banking on footballing networks and high end contacts that Raul seemed to have in abundance. That is where Kia Joorabchian – agent of David Luiz, Edu Gasper, Coutinho and Willian has come into the picture and the reason behind Arsenal’s sycophantic nature towards him.
In recent days, figures like Gilles Grimandi have voiced concerns over Arsenal’s present operating structure and lack of clarity at a backroom level and now Arsenal’s former head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat seems to have joined the chorus by repeating what we have been broaching over the past few months here at AD.
Mislintat’s comments couldn’t come at a better time. He is true; at present, we are a mess and the Raul show is a one man show where in the absence of a footballing brain and head of recruitment like Sven Mislintat, Arsenal seem to be heading in a direction that Wenger could never have imagined in his wildest dreams.