The unfortunate downside to writing a piece about Sven Mislintat is that it does not allow for James Bond Style music when you mention his nickname “Diamond Eye” which sounds like its right off the pages of a Bond novel.
If you’ve been tuned back into the comings and goings of Arsenal news in the last day or so, you may have noticed that the name Sven Mislintat is being linked with a move to the Emirates. No, he is not a replacement for Mesut Özil or Alexis Sanchez but his role could be just as important to seeing Arsenal improve.
Just prior to the latest international break, news broke that long time Chief Scout, Steve Rowley is set to leave the set up at Arsenal. Depending on who you read and follow, the reasons are varied. Should he leave, the widely respected scout leaves a gaping hole in Arsenal’s backroom staff.
Enter in the man they call “Diamond Eye.”
Sven Mislintat has been a staple in Dortmund set up since he came to the Westfalionstadion in 2009. Since early in his career he saw a pathway in football that was less playing and more coaching.
Cutting his teeth in the German fourth division, Mislintat began to establish the foundation and network that would see him become so successful later in his career.
In 2009 he joined Dortmund and began building the squad that would see back-to-back titles delivered to BVB. He is comfortable working on a modest budget and is keen on finding diamonds in the rough – hence the nickname.
His most significant breakthrough came on the identification and eventual signing of Shingi Kagawa. Mislintat was tipped off about Kagawa, who was playing in Japan, and after a series of scouting trips the Japanese international was signed for a meager €350,000. Consider then a few years later being sold for £16m to Manchester United only to come back and continue to help the side and get a sense of the business the much heralded German can do.
But it wasn’t just Kagawa who Mislintat would bring in. He is also responsible for bringing in the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mats Hummels, Jakub Blaszyczkowski, Neven Subotic, Sven Bender and most recently Ousmane Dembele. All of the others with the exception of Dembele and Aubameyang were part of the core group that would see off Bayern’s dominance and land two Bundesliga titles in a row.
As his successes grew so did his profile. He is repeatedly linked with a variety of technical director positions throughout Germany, with Bayern Munich being the most recently linked to him.
It says a lot about his stature and the regard with which he is held to that in the tussle between him and Thomas Tuchel, it was Mislintat who remains and given the role of Head of Professional Football while Tuchel is still looking for a job.
He is very much a guy who embraces the combination of traditional and new ways of scouting players. He is very keen on the use of video to analyze a player’s performance but isn’t afraid to use technology to not only identify talent but improve it.
If you’ve seen any behind the scenes video of Dortmund there is the Footbonaut – a 20×20 octagon “cage” where footballs are fired at players at varying speeds and trajectories. Recently, it was discovered he is part owner of Matchmetrics a football statistics firm.
Sven Mislintat checks off a lot of boxes for Arsenal and for Ivan Gazidis. Gazidis it is rumoured lost out on his desire to bring in a Director of Football to Arsenal. This was part of a larger push by Gazidis to modernize the support staff behind the playing staff and bring the club into the modern game.
With Dick Law stepping down and Arsenal having hired contract expert Huss Fahmy from cycling’s Team Sky in the summer, Gazidis is looking to change things enough so that in the time frame
when Wenger steps down the structure is in place to insure there isn’t too much disruption or upheaval to the club.
Capturing the man they call Diamond Eye would be significant sign that this is exactly what Gazidis intends. It would also be a tacit admission that our transfer business has been poor and this is a step to rectify that.
And come on, who doesn’t want someone called Diamond Eye at Arsenal?