Sven Mislintat: Arsenal head of recruitment's future in doubt

By David OrnsteinBBC Sport
Sven Mislintat
Mislintat joined Arsenal from German club Borussia Dortmund in November 2017

Arsenal are refusing to comment on reportsexternal-link their head of recruitment Sven Mislintat is set to leave the club.

The Gunners are looking to appoint a technical director, for which Mislintat was expected to be a contender.

But it is likely the German, 46, will be overlooked for the role and that is among the factors which could result in his departure.

A number of potential scenarios are being discussed and no timescale has been placed on the process.

However, sources believe that Mislintat will be the latest high-profile departure in a period of major upheaval for the club.

He joined the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund in November 2017, forming a key part of the off-field restructure overseen by then chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

Mislintat was followed into Emirates Stadium by former Barcelona executive Raul Sanllehi, who was named head of football relations.

Mislintat was involved in all eight of the signings Arsenal have made since then, most notably the club-record acquisition of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for £56m in January 2018.

He also played a key part in the appointment of Unai Emery as head coach to succeed manager Arsene Wenger last summer.

But since it was announced in September that Gazidis would be moving to AC Milan, Mislintat's influence has reduced.

Ivan Gazidis
Gazidis had been Arsenal's chief executive for 10 years

Sanllehi stepped up to become head of football and Vinai Venkatesham switched from chief commercial officer to managing director.

With Sanllehi and Venkatesham now in joint leadership - and no change of position for Mislintat - some felt the German could be on his way out.

It is thought Sanllehi has been seeking a candidate who is either well known by Emery or has a connection to Arsenal, with ex-Gunners midfielder Edu among those linked.

Although there has not been a major breakdown in relations with Mislintat, Arsenal's lack of money to spend in the January transfer window has also caused issues.

They are only able to bring in players on loan and those primarily responsible - Sanllehi, Mislintat and Emery - have not been collaborating as effectively as they did previously.

For example, the interest in Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez is being driven by Sanllehi and Emery, while Mislintat has targets of his own, yet there has been limited progress across the board.

Sources have noted that Sanllehi's approach towards recruitment centres on his vast network of contacts, whereas Mislintat tends to favour a more analytics-based approach.

Towards the end of his first year in the job, Mislintat sought assurances about his future though they were not forthcoming.

That was particularly problematic because his pursuit of transfer targets often relies on long-term planning and groundwork, which has been highly effective in the past but near-impossible of late.

Some in the game see him as a difficult character - his time at Dortmund turned sour - and increasingly at Arsenal he seems to have been operating in isolation, although he is highly respected.

After a 22-game unbeaten run in all competitions, the Gunners have lost three of their last six league games and slipped six points behind fourth-place Chelsea, who they host on Saturday.

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