Sven Mislintat defended his record as Arsenal’s head of recruitment and gave an insight into why he walked away from the Emirates.
Mislintat left the Gunners two years ago before moving on to a new role as VfB Stuttgart’ssporting director. He arrived at Arsenal with a big reputation after his successful stint as a scout with Borussia Dortmund but saw many of his signings criticised during his spell in north London.
He brought in Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Petr Cech, Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Stephan Lichtsteiner as well as manager, with agent Kia Joorabchian famously claiming he made a series of ‘c***-ups’. However, Mislintat was happy to defend every transfer he rubber-stamped at Arsenal.
‘To be quite clear: I don’t feel ashamed of any of those transfers, on the contrary, I will always defend these guys,’ Mislintat told The Athletic
‘Not because they were my players but because they were Arsenal players and capable ones. They turned up.
‘The team went unbeaten in 22 games in all competitions, made it to the Europa League final and finished fifth with 70 points. ‘You can say that’s not good enough.
But many teams would love to finish fifth now. I felt that we were on the right track and I would have enjoyed the opportunity to develop further at Arsenal.
‘Anyway, I don’t look back. I learned massively and loved my days at the club, in the Premier League and in London.’
‘”He only knows Dortmund players”. That was the take, I know. ‘But that can’t influence your decisions.
You have to free yourself from opinions and politics as best as possible and be convinced that you’re doing the right thing. You can get it wrong.
‘But those have to be honest mistakes, not mistakes you make because you felt you needed to make certain moves for appearances’ sake.’
Mislintat also gave details surrounding his exit from the club and how being passed for a promotion encouraged him to leave.
‘I joined Arsenal to work with Arsene [Wenger] and to prove myself in the best competitions, the Premier League,’ said Mislintat.
‘My plan was to learn from one of the best managers in football history, support and challenge him to win as many games as possible and the day he would stop his career as a manager, maybe watch him change to the board level to preserve the values and philosophy of Arsenal and his work, ambition and legacy.
‘Arsene left after the end of the season of course and a few months later Ivan Gazidis left to become CEO at Milan.
At that point, Arsenal restructured its leadership.
‘I applied for the newly-created technical director role and Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham, who succeeded Ivan in a co-leadership role at Arsenal, decided to go for someone else.
‘We then agreed in a very respectful way that I would leave, all entirely amicable.’