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Arsenal closing in on Dortmund’s star chief scout

A different kind of transfer rumor

Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC - UEFA Champions League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

SPORT BILD reported this morning that Arsenal has reached a deal with Sven Mislintat, Borussia Dortmund’s “Head of Professional Football” and chief scout, to replace Steve Rowley, who has been with Arsenal since 1996 and was believed to be a key Arsene Wenger ally. ESPN’s Mattias Karen first signaled Arsenal’s interest earlier this week.

Mislintat is credited with finding Shinji Kagawa for Dortmund, and for playing a role in the signings of other stars like Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembele, Christian Pulisic, and more. Mislintat was reportedly squeezed out of power last year due to a feud with Thomas Tuchel, Dortmund’s manager at the time. So, maybe cross Tuchel off the list of possible Wenger replacements for the time being.

According to SPORT BILD, the deal will be announced soon, and Mislintat would start with the club at some point this season. Arsenal will have to pay around two million euros to get Mislintat out of his contract with Dortmund, which runs until 2021.

Assuming the deal is indeed imminent, this could represent a significant development in the relationship of Wenger and Ivan Gazidis. After Dick Law’s departure in September, Rowley would be the second close ally of Wenger high up in the front office to leave in the past few months. The addition of Mislintat may be another opportunity for Gazidis to exert greater influence over the football side of the club, which Wenger has seemingly had near total control of for many years.

On paper, Mislintat seems like an excellent hire. His track record with Dortmund is phenomenal, and other clubs, including Bayern Munich, have gone after him in the past. Also, Mislintat is a big proponent of technology and data analytics. He even co-founded a company called Matchmetrics, which claims to provide “the most sophisticated big data analytics in professional football.” Unless the problems behind the scenes between Wenger and Gazidis are bigger than we know, it’s hard to argue the poaching of Mislintat is anything but an exciting prospect and a step forward for Arsenal.