Tag Archives: scout

Sven and the Broken Regime

Nobody likes change.

 

So when Arsene Wenger finally departed after twenty two years at the helm of Arsenal, many worried what came next.

 

It was the unknown, our path was not set, but we could latch onto the fact that the club had started to put some foundations into place that would carry us through the uncertainty.

 

Our squad may have been severely unbalanced, and we had no idea if we would have what it took to fight back and gain entry into the vital money source of the Champions League, but a few additions to our backroom staff meant we would be able to rebuild for the future.

 

Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi had pedigree. The German had forged a reputation as one of the best talent spotters in Europe. Mislintat had found glints of light and knew they could be polished up to become precious jewels. The players he found at Borussia Dortmund can attest to his quality. Aubameyang, Dembele, Sokratis, Kagawa and more, Mislintat could see the player they would become before anyone else.

 

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Sanllehi was sourced from Barca, and his previous employment showed he could oversee many different facets of a top European club. There were other appointments, Fahmy, Mertesacker, Ljungberg etc were part of the new guard – one that was supposed to herald in a new, revitalised approach that gave responsibility to experts in their field, rather than the old model that had one man overseeing everything.

 

With Wenger and then Gazidis leaving the club, the watershed had hit us, and we could see the path that the club was on.

 

With Mislintat leaving though, apparently at odds with Sanllehi, it leaves us in the limbo of uncertainty again.

 

It is rumoured that former Gunner Edu, currently working in a technical capacity for the Brazil national team, but will the Brazilian have the all-encompassing football knowledge of how a club operates like Mislintat does? With the German’s hopes of his role growing rather than being pigeon-holed into that of a talent spotter, Mislintat can be forgiven for looking elsewhere. He was supposed to be integral to the evolution of the club – but instead, this period of transition for Arsenal is being sworn in by Sanllehi and new Managing Director Vinai Venkatesham, without the vision of Mislintat.

 

Bayern Munich seems to be a likely destination for the German, where he not only will be given a firmer handle on the reins – given his burgeoning reputation – but he will also not be hamstrung by miniscule budgets. If he identifies a target, then the club will listen.

 

It was hard enough for the club to finally give in and bring about change at the managerial level, but with one of the puzzle pieces of our future regime leaving, we will undoubtedly be put back a few steps. Plus, Mislintat is a genuine asset to the club, one we could dearly need.

 

Our defence will need a vast overhaul very soon. Captain Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, these are all 30 or over. Even if they are all fit, we have needed an injection of defensive skill for some time. With those players on the wrong end of their playing capability, Mislintat could have been given a mission to find the next Arsenal defence. Now we may not spot the next defensive lynchpin we so badly require.

 

Sven Mislintat departing the club may be overlooked by some, but with the raft of changes the club has undergone recently, Sven was part of the new regime, and also had a responsibility to find the last few pieces of the puzzle.

 

We may have to wait longer now to see the finished article, and Arsenal could become a perennial Europa League team, instead of the reputation we have forged as a Champions League club. This may be even harder to replace.

Tips For Wenger

There has been much talk surrounding Arsene Wenger and his tenure, and whether he will leave Arsenal before his contract ends.

Possible managerial replacements have been bandied around the media and social media avenues, illustrious names hoped and wished for to take our club back to the zenith of the Premier League.

It’s clear that Arsene Wenger, while deserving of our respect, has reached the end of the road.

Whether the road ends at the end of this season or next is very much unknown.

So, what about if Arsene does see out his contract, like he has done every other one he has signed?

What about if he extends?

Is there anything that can be done that could remedy the malady that is Wenger’s weaknesses?

For the sake of conversation and nothing else, here’s a few options that could possibly add a salve and maybe even paper over what have tormented us over recent seasons:

A New Assistant

One thing is abundantly clear; Steve Bould is by far a better defender than he is an assistant. It is all hearsay regarding how much sway he has on proceedings in training, but on the sidelines, he is nothing more than a chewing statue. It pains me to say that as he is an Arsenal legend, but you have to separate the player from the role they are in now – just like our legends who dabble in punditry.

Arsene could really do with a sounding board to bounce his ideas off, or better still, have someone with enough nous and balls to let him know when he needs to address something. Who could fit that bill? Well, there’s a whole queue of former Arsenal players who are tooled up with modern day tactics, coaching badges and a voice that can reverse any dodgy potential decisions that Wenger makes. Keown, Parlour, Henry, Vieira, just a few that could give Wenger’s last year, or years, a boost they sorely need.

Listening to current staff

We went on a recruitment drive recently, and now we can boast some of the best in the business. Raul Sanllehi, Darren Burgess, Sven Mislintat, Huss Fahmy, Shad Forsythe and Jens Lehmann – all new blood with new ideas. Sven Mislintat especially could have a big impact on Wenger’s last moments at the club.

We are all painfully aware of the failure to be able to replace Gilberto, and that was over a decade ago. Since then we have had a succession of stand-ins, and none have come close. That is down in part to recruitment, and Sven is said to be an expert in talent spotting. Give the man a brief this summer and ask for a defensive bloody midfielder! Ask Steve Bould to teach our lads the basics of defending zonally! Use the skills we have to hand!

Monitor opponents

It has been said by more than one departed player, that Wenger fails to look at the opposition before we play them, preferring to concentrate on the merits of our own team instead. So convinced of our team’s attacking strength, Wenger feels that it doesn’t matter how the other team plays, because we can outscore them. He has often cited his lack of defensive work and his oversights in terms of scouting out opponents – this one is simple. Just look at our opponents! Just imagine what a difference it could make!

Of course, a tactical overhaul would be great too, but let’s not get our head stuck in the clouds…

The suggestions above are nothing more than ideas that would I think would go a fair way in redeeming what could be another painfully mediocre season for us under Wenger.

Can you think of any helpful tips should Wenger stay? Just leave a comment below!

Sven Mislintat – the Diamond Eye of Talent Spotting

Arsenal have been busy overhauling their backroom staff in the last couple of years.

Shad Forsythe, Jens Lehmann, Huss Fahmy and Darren Burgess are all recent additions in varying capacities to Arsene Wenger’s network of coaching.

Now, the latest name to join that list is perhaps the most exciting – Sven Mislintat.

The German has joined us from Borussia Dortmund, and he will be taking up the role of Head of Recruitment. Mislintat will be taking over from club stalwart Steve Rowley, who will still be helping Arsenal on a freelance basis.

So, who is Sven Mislintat? And why is there such a fuss over him?







Well, Sven created a bit of a legacy at Dortmund. He started as a green scout just after BVB were declared bankrupt. Money was inevitably strictly budgeted, so a shrewdness to player acquisition had to be be a priority. This is where Mislintat grew into the man German journalists have dubbed ‘Diamond Eye.’

Mislintat is credited with the stellar careers of Shinki Kagawa, Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Aside from Kagawa, Mislintat didn’t discover these players from ignominy, but he is responsible for highlighting that these players were destined for greatness. This is his talent.

He learned his trade from the old-school scouts who were at Dortmund, but has also embraced data into his vision. It is this all-encompassing view that has enabled Mislintat to alert his respective managers to players that they need to nurture rather than offload.

Simply put, Mislintat knows when a player is the real deal rather than a waste of time.

Old Diamond Eye is a Dortmund pedigree and was not seeking a move away from the club, but a falling out with Thomas Tuchel that led to Arsenal making enquiries. Apparently, Tuchel banned Mislintat from the inner circle of the club, and it was this that pushed the German into the welcoming arms of Arsenal.

His hiring has led to many questioning voices, wondering if this is a step toward preparing for a Wenger departure? You would have to say yes. Arsene has the rest of this season and one more until his latest contract extension ends, and it is looking doubtful that he will sign another with such doubt over the last few years results. Sven will not be joining for just a year, so if he is indeed in it for the long haul then he will be staying on when Wenger does depart. It is a necessary step in preparation to future-proof the club.

This move takes a smidgin of responsibility away from Wenger. He will undoubtedly still have the final say on any recommendations for players, but Mislintat will most likely take the lead on acquisitions. They both share the same vision on transfers, so this will help Mislintat acclimatise at Arsenal.

We have hired the cream of the crop in fitness, we have a new and un-ignorable voice as a coach (just try and not listen to Jens Lehmann) and from December, we will have a man who can revolutionise our recruitment policy.

Our club prides itself on creating diamonds rather than buying them, and with Sven ‘Diamond Eye’ Mislintat in our ranks, we can be hopeful this will continue. 

Gilles Grimandi – The Lifeguard

Squad depth has not just been an issue for clubs in the last decade, although there is much more need for it now thanks to some crazy scheduling. The Premier League era has placed demands on teams with European competition and domestic cups meaning that managers have a heavier reliance on those who would primarily be warming the bench.

It is these players that seasons hinge on. They are the last-gasp rolls of the dice that Gaffers are forced to do when backed into a corner. Sometimes it is a late substitution to soak up pressure and defend a precious narrow lead. Other occasions mean a start in a big game, replacing a stalwart in the side and hoping the proverbial bandage holds up.

In the briliant 1997/98 season, the influx of French players had started to meld perfectly with the English core, and the Double was achieved. The names of Vieira, Petit, Overmars, Bergkamp, Adams, Dixon and Seaman were among the brightest lights, but the name of curly-haired Gaul Gilles Grimandi is not one of the first that comes to the forefront of memory.

Primarily a defender, but used in midfield and full-back, Grimandi made 33 appearances in League and Cup, Filling in whenever plays succumbed to injury or – in the case of our more hotheaded players – more often suspension, Grimandi was an oft-utilised asset. 

On first appearance, Gilles was a limited player who struggled to keep up with the pace of the Premiership. That would be fair to a degree, as speed was never one of the Frenchman’s chief attributes. What he lacked in rapidity however, he more than made up in elbow grease and aggression. Sometimes, the lid to his temper would not be screwed down tightly enough – Diego Simeone’s face can attest to this – but there was never a moment on the pitch when Grimandi did not stretch every sinew, give every inch of effort he had.

Us fans love a player who gives his all. You may be in the shade of some of your more illustrious and gifted teammates, but if you show us how much you want to win, we will invariably back you. It helps he also got sent off against our neighbours too….

In his time at Arsenal, he won two Double’s. He may never have held down a regular spot, and he only scored a meagre amount of goals, but without the sweat and thunder that Grimandi brought to the table, two of our most glittering of campaign’s could have been far different.

The player known for his curly locks was a good egg off the field – in direct contrast to his angry persona in an Arsenal shirt – and he helped new signings acclimatise themselves to London and the club. Now a scout with the club, Gilles can look back on his Arsenal career with pride. 

Gilles got us out of some perilous situations. He rescued us on more than one occasion – scoring the winner in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace springs to mind – but it was more his tackling and will to win that made him the lifeguard of our squad. 

He was a player who fully optimised his talents. He was a player who did that and gave unwavering service to our club. For that, he deserves the utmost respect.