Straight from the cabinet of “things aren’t so green on the other side”, a growing rumble has begun to sound in the ears of a couple insiders that Arsenal’s Head of Recruitment, Sven Mislintat, might not be so happy with Arsenal’s new power structure. Sources have indicated that Bayern Munich is looking to take advantage of that and lure the German Transfer Master away barely a year into his tenure at Arsenal.
This news is a bit shocking, given this was supposed to be The New Arsenal. A management group, put in place to replace the firm hand of Arsene Wenger and confidently guide Arsenal into the modern way of doing the business of football. It was speculated two years ago that Ivan Gazidis, Chief Executive at the time, postponed the Wenger departure in order to provide a stable governing structure to fill the vacuum. That culminated with the hirings of Mislintat and a new Director of Football, Raul Sanllehi. Together with the arrival of Unai Emery, they were to be Arsenal’s leaders.
Oh, how times have changed. In the short months after Wenger departed, Gazidis leaves for AC Milan (which may or may not have some impact on some contract dealings), Sanllehi and Mislintat appear to be at odds with how transfer business is to be done, and Arsenal are putting out signals that “we really don’t have any money so can’t buy players”, despite a very poor December showing. This doesn’t sound like the firm and steady hand we were promised.
Reportedly, the disagreement, at its base, revolves around Sven’s transfer target suggestions being overlooked or not followed up on. Meanwhile, Emery has begun to take a more active role in transfers in general, effectively stepping on Sven’s toes. Mislintat was thought to be given full charge in recruiting players and if the new manager and Director of Football are ignoring his work, it is understandable that he may want to leave. This was not the deal he signed up for.
Or perhaps it is the lack of funds. With Kroenke’s group making it known that Arsenal the business needs to look everywhere to find savings, effectively “crying poor” from atop a bed of money, the trickle down effect of that to transfers might be handcuffing Mislintat. With only loan deals to be pursued in Arsenal’s window, and a peculiar focus on old ex-Emery players (not what this club needs), perhaps the inability to do his job has already proven to be enough for him.
Whatever the case, as these rumors increase in intensity, the potential of moving to a different club set to give Mislintat money and space would be tempting, and would also be a very big blow to the New Arsenal Management Group, as this would effectively kill it mere months after its creation. Should Arsenal lose Sven, unless a new and empowered Head of Directing is added, the strong hand of Wenger and Gazidis will just have been transferred to Sanllehi and Emery, which, if anything, is a transfer down.
Watch this space - we have a feeling there will be much more to come.