Arsenal reportedly turned down the chance to sign Antoine Griezmann from Real Sociedad before he moved to Atletico Madrid.

BILBAO, SPAIN - AUGUST 16: Antoine Griezmann of FC Barcelona looks on as he warms up during the Liga match between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona at San Mames Stadium on August 16, 2019 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
BILBAO, SPAIN – AUGUST 16: Antoine Griezmann of FC Barcelona looks on as he warms up during the Liga match between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona at San Mames Stadium on August 16, 2019 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Writing in his book, ‘Football Hackers’, Christoph Biermann talks about Arsenal’s purchase of StatDNA and the work they did with Hendrik Almstadt.

He covers a number of interesting issues but one that caught my eye was contained in these paragraphs:

“The wide availability of complex analytics didn’t turn Arsenal into a purely data-driven club, however. Sometimes, the data would identify an interesting player, like Kostas Manolas, playing for Olympiacos. But the Greek defender failed to convince the Arsenal scouts and instead moved to AS Roma in 2014, where he became a regular. On the other hand, some transfers allegedly fell trough due to the data. Frenchman Antoine Griezmann, who wasn’t signed from Real Sociedad, was apparently one of them but the final decision, in any case, didn’t lie with the scouts but always with Arsene Wenger.

“Nevertheless, ‘the analytical process has already become an automatism at Arsenal,’ Almstadt says, looking back at his time at the Emirates. The people in charge there now had more that the gut feeling and genius of a great coach to fall back on. This development towards a more analytical approach continued with the hiring of Sven Mislintat – at first.”

Griezmann eventually moved to Atletico Madrid where he was an undeniable success, scoring 133 goals (with 50 assists) in 257 games before moving this summer to Barcelona for £108m.

The forward has been playing with Arsenal fans recently, posting on social media details of him playing Football manager with Arsenal. What does it mean? Who knows. Most likely he’s doing it because of his good friend, Alexandre Lacazette, rather than any other reason we can come up with.

France's forward Antoine Griezmann (R) celebrates his goal with France's forward Alexandre Lacazette (L) during the friendly football match France vs Paraguay on June 2, 2017 at the Roazhon Park stadium in Rennes.  / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE
France’s forward Antoine Griezmann (R) celebrates his goal with France’s forward Alexandre Lacazette (L) during the friendly football match France vs Paraguay on June 2, 2017 at the Roazhon Park stadium in Rennes. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE

For those wondering about that tantilising ‘at first’ cliffhange, Biermann then goes on to add, in relation to Mislintat, “In his 14 months at Arsenal, Mislintat proved that his way of doing things worked in the Premier League. Arsenal’s newly appointed Director of Football, Raul Sanllehi, however, decided to put more trust in his network of agents as far as recruitment was concerned. Mislintat saw this startling development as a signal. His contract was terminated by mutual consent.”

I’d heartily advise, if you want to know more, that you pick up a copy of ‘Football Hackers’ by Christoph Biermann.

This post was not sponsored but I did receive a free copy of ‘Football Hackers’ by Christoph Biermann for review purposes.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.
If you want to know more about the football data revolution, and how it's being used at Arsenal and other clubs, then this is the book for you.arsenal-turned-down-chance-to-sign-antoine-griezmann-due-to-his-stats