The mere mention of Sven Mislintat’s name in an article is enough to get fans excited so what has the former Borussia Dortmund man been up to since he arrived at the club?
Let’s take a look at the background, hopes, reality and verdict of the Arsenal adventure so far…
In November Arsenal announced that they were signing Borussia Dortmund’s head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat. Fans were excited by the signing, hoping it was a signal of Ivan Gazidis’s catalyst finally starting to fire.
Mislintat started his career with Dortmund all the way back in 1998 when he was 25. He joined the German club as a game analyst, a title he held until 2007. During the intervening years, he also worked as assistant coach for local team Vfl Kamen and tier 5 outfit Westfalia Herne.
In 2007, he received a promotion from Dortmund, becoming a scout. Two years later, he was made Chief scout, before being made Director of Football in January 2017. This latest promotion was seemingly an attempt to keep Mislintat at the club, after approaches from European giants.
Whilst in Germany, Mislintat was part of a very effective scouting team, working alongside sporting director Michael Zorc and chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke. This gave him the freedom to focus on scouting, which is his forte.
Despite the signings of players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele, Mislintat considers Shinji Kagawa to be his greatest scouting success. “The key player for my career as a scout was Shinji Kagawa,” he said. “When you find a young player in a second division and he joins for small money and can make the difference: That’s a key moment everyone needs in his career.”
Kagawa joined the club for €350k, scored 29 goals and provided 16 assists in 71 appearances, before leaving for €16m. He then rejoined the club for €8m, leaving Dortmund with almost €8m profit and the player they signed in the first place. Seven years after the initial transfer to Germany, Shinji is still playing for Dortmund, and must surely be one of the top imports from the J-League.
Arsenal have attempted to look for talent from further afield but without similar success. Like Kagawa, Ryo Miyaichi and Takuma Asano swapped Japan for European football, but neither have been particularly successful so far. Meanwhile, Dortmund’s conveyor belt of talent continues to roll on, with Mats Hummels, Jakub Blaszyczkowski and Robert Lewandowski joining many more that Mislintat helped the German side recruit.
The Gunners’ newest recruitment head may have to do more than just scouting, however. Arsenal released a statement after his appointment which revealed he’ll be working closely with Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis on the transfer front. Mislintat will also be working with the coaches, background analytics team and the global scouting network.
It sounds like he’s meant to be the cog that links the scouts and the analytics teams to the manager and CEO, to ensure they have the best information available to make decisions on transfers.
Next, the hopes for Sven Mislintat, the reality and the verdict…