It sounds like a James Bond movie from the 80’s but this time without the Vodka Martini part. Yesterday, Arsenal confirmed the signing of BVB scout Sven Mislintat whose nickname is “Diamond Eye” as he has spotted so many great talents over the last 10 years.
At this point you might have heard a lot about his recruitments in recent years. Kagawa, Lewandowski, Aubameyang, Pulisic or Dembele are only a few. It’s fair to say the German has a sense for spotting talented players. But that’s not all to it. The main reason Arsenal have been increasing their interest in Sven Mislintat is the fact that the club has been behind the pace regarding talent scouting and effective transfer policies for years now.
Sven Mislintat’s arrival is not only a short term excitement. The club needs to be rearranged to face the ever-growing transfer fees and hunt for for players. It is no longer good enough merely to rely on the Ladbrokes Android App to find a good deal! 😉 Years ago, Arsenal would have been the first address for young talented French players. Now the new, golden French generation has been missed out on on several occasions; a €100m bid falling short on deadline day for Thomas Lemar (after missing out on Mbappe as well). It makes you think that we have lost touch with this kind of quality for a long time.
To recruit a talented player is one thing. Setting up a scouting system which is effective for years to come is another. That’s exactly what Sven Mislintat did when he arrived at Dortmund in 2006. As a local boy, he was fired up to be part of the new BVB scouting system. The club knew by then that they had to change their philosophy to compete with the likes of Bayern – with their much better financial resources. It soon became a BVB habit to buy cheap and sell big, with Kagawa maybe the best example of all. The secret within this system was/is that you have to spot players that are talented but at the same time have already made that decisive step towards being a potential first team player.
It’s not only about recruiting young players who might be a hit some day. It’s about players who can strengthen your team immediately, won’t break the bank, and will develop into star players in a short period of time. This might sound obvious but with so many clubs – especially in the top leagues – scouting for that one player, it’s very hard to find the one person who has that touch. It’s not a coincidence that Bayern Munich have tried to sign Mislintat before. But with the gap between them and Dortmund there was no chance the BVB officials would have let one of their best assets leave for their bitter rivals.
The arrival of the German will also shake up the internal system at Arsenal. Besides the fact that the future of Stan Rowley, a long term Wenger “partner”, has not been clarified yet, Sven Mislintat will lead the scouting system and hopefully get a decisive role in player negotiations as well as partnering a potential Director of Football in an ideal scenario. As far as I see it, the German’s appointment could also be the next step towards a post-Wenger era. An era without a power focus in the manager’s position – rather an intelligent arrangement of experts in their respective fields.
I’m also looking forward to the Mislintat/Mertesacker combination. With Mertesacker heading to the coaching staff next summer he could be vital for Mislintat – as not only someone to talk potential signings about, but also as a key to Arsenal’s youth development.
It’s fair to say that the addition of Sven Mislintat is one to be excited about on many levels. Of course we have to give him time to settle in but maybe he will pull a star out of his magic hat in January.