Arsenal’s decision to bring Sven Mistlinat to the club at the end of 2017 was widely regarded as a major coup for the club, but after 14 months in north London he will depart in February.
Arsenal are well accustomed to high-profile departures in every sense. A list of sensational stars who have left the club, including the likes of Samir Nasri, Robin Van Persie and now Aaron Ramsey, reads longer than most supporters would care to remember.
Despite the fact Mislintat is a seldom seen figure and something of an enigmatic figure, his departure can be added to that ever increasing list.
Boasting the nickname ‘diamond eye’, Mislintat was viewed as a pivotal figure in Arsenal’s development and long-term transfer strategy, and his February departure has arrived as a bolt out the blue.
There are plenty of theories regarding exactly what has forced him out the exit door, and Sky Sports journalist Dharmesh Sheth has hinted that Arsenal’s refusal to consider him for an elevated role within the club’s hierarchy was a pertinent factor at work.
Indeed, while speaking to Sky Sports Transfer Talk podcast, Sheth revealed that former Arsenal midfielders Edu and Marc Overmars were both considered for a director of football role before Mislintat, despite the fact neither candidate is currently working at the club.
“I was told last week that the former Arsenal midfielder Edu had been offered the role.
“He is currently doing that job for that Brazil national team – there’s also talk about the former Arsenal winger Marc Overmars.
“But, it looks like Mistlinant may have been looking at that role himself and since this restructure it was obvious he wasn’t going to get that role – probably another reason why he thought my time’s up here.”
With Overmars currently working as director of football at Ajax and Edu working within the same role for the Brazil national side, it is easy to understand why other options were considered for the role before Mislintat.
Perhaps Arsenal didn’t want to rock the boat and alter the structure too dramatically, especially considering the great work Mislintat has already done in his role as head of recruitment, but that refusal to accommodate his ambition to step up into a director of football position may well come back to haunt them.
His ability to lure both Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi to the club last summer, a pair of Europe’s most promising central midfield players, underlined his credentials as one of the most eagle-eyed talent spotters in Europe.
His departure will see Arsenal lose a pivotal cog in their hierarchy, but it will also lend a fellow European rival the opportunity to profit from their inability to convince their most important figureheads to remain at the Emirates, and that could well come back to haunt them in the coming years.
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