Mislintat not 'ashamed' of any of his eight signings at Arsenal

Sven Mislintat insists he does not ‘feel ashamed’ of any of the eight signings he brought in at Arsenal… and believes ‘extraordinary’ Matteo Guendouzi should still be part of Mikel Arteta’s squad

  • Sven Mislintat joined Arsenal in November 2017 but departed 14 months later
  • He brought in eight players during his time as head of scouting at the club 
  • But only two of his eight signings make up part of the Gunners’ current squad 
  • Mislintat though has defended his record, insisting they were ‘capable’ players 

Former Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has defended his record of signings at the club and believes they were capable of helping the club achieve their goals.

Mislintat joined the Gunners in November 2017 and brought no fewer than eight players to the Emirates Stadium before departing 14 months later after falling out with the club’s hierarchy.

However, only two of those signings – namely Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bernd Leno – are part of the club’s first-team squad this season, with defenders Sokratis and Stephan Lichtsteiner as well as midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan those to have left permanently.

Former Arsenal head of scouting Sven Mislintat has defended his record of signings 

Mislintat signed flops like Stephan Lichtsteiner (left) and Sokratis in his 14 months at the club

Veteran Lichtsteiner was allowed to leave on a free transfer 12 months after joining having failed to impress, while Mkhitaryan and Sokratis’ contracts were cancelled in August 2020 and in January this year after failing to impress at the north London side.

But speaking to The Athletic, former Borussia Dortmund scout and current Stuttgart sporting director Mislintat insists he is not ‘ashamed’ of having made those deals and believes the team were on the right track despite their Europa League final defeat nearly two years ago. 

Mislintat said: ‘To be quite clear: I don’t feel ashamed of any of those transfers, on the contrary, I will always defend these guys. Not because they were my players but because they were Arsenal players and capable ones.

‘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. 

Bernd Leno (centre) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) are the only players from the eight he brought in who are part of the club’s first-team squad this season

‘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.’

Mislintat also helped bring in the likes of Lucas Torreira, Dinos Mavropanos and Matteo Guendouzi, who currently find themselves out on loan at Atletico Madrid, Stuttgart and Hertha Berlin respectively.

French midfielder Guendouzi – who arrived at Arsenal from Lorient before leaving on loan last summer – was heavily questioned by Hertha coach Pal Dardai last month, labelling him an ‘angry rebel’ who plays ‘adolescent football’.

But while admitting the 21-year-old is slightly rough around the edges, Mislintat believes Guendouzi has the ability to become a ‘monster’ midfielder who he believes would still be an asset to Mikel Arteta’s current Gunners squad. 

But Mislintat insists he is not ‘ashamed’ of any of those signings, including Henrikh Mkhitaryan

‘If you’re not playing Matteo in midfield, it must be a very strong midfield,’ Mislintat added. ‘As a teenager from Ligue 2, he played 48 games for Arsenal in his first season. 

‘I assure you, you are not able to ‘survive’ that amount of Premier League caps playing adolescent football. 

‘He obviously doesn’t get everything right but he plays with a decisiveness and quality that make him an extraordinary player. we want players who are brave on the ball, who can move past the pressure. Losing the odd ball is part of that. 

‘You shouldn’t try to change his game but work on the details to improve him, if you are able to do so, you make him a ‘monster’ midfielder. My personal opinion remains that Matteo would still add some extra qualities to Arsenal’s midfield.’ 

Mislintat believes Matteo Guendouzi can become a ‘monster’ midfielder with the right help

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