Sven Mislintat: Who is the ex-Dortmund chief scout now at Arsenal?
Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintat has moved to Arsenal. ESPN FC tells you all you need to know about the German transfer guru.
The man credited with bringing Robert Lewandowski, Shinji Kagawa, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele to the Westfalenstadion has now been made Arsenal's new head of recruitment.
ESPN FC brings you all you need to know about the 45-year-old German transfer guru.
He worked with Jose Mourinho's assistant in the fourth tier
Mislintat played for his local club, VfL Kamen until he was 29, and was already acting as an assistant coach during the final years of his amateur career. In 2002, he "only wanted to be a coach and no longer a player" and took a role at Westfalia Herne, then playing in the Oberliga Westfalen, the regional fourth division in Germany at that time.
Already working as a young analyst in professional football, Mislintat was made the assistant coach of incoming boss Jose Morais, who was 37. The latter, leaving Portugal for a journey which would take him all the way to Yemen before becoming a member of Jose Mourinho's coaching staff, lasted only six games. Mislinat hung around for a bit longer, but in December 2002 also left.
Westfalia were relegated, and many years later Morais and Mislintat met again in the Champions League in 2012-13, when Dortmund and Real Madrid began their recent run of clashes in the competition. "For a long time, I wasn't sure whether he's really Mourinho's assistant. It's quite a common name," the BVB head of professional football said in 2013.
Signing Kagawa was a key moment
Mislintat's breakthrough moment as a scout came at a time when Dortmund were nowhere near the club they are now. They did not even have the funds to make signings for €10 million, were reliant on their scouting, and made one of their best transfers when bringing in a young attacking midfielder from Japan.
In 2010, 21-year-old Shinji Kagawa joined Dortmund from Cerezo Osaka. Dortmund had been tipped off by a friendly agent, Thomas Kroth, a 1989 cup winner with BVB, and the club knew they could do no wrong.
"We were in Japan six times, did 10 to 15 pieces of video analysis just from that player, and completely scanned them," Mislintat said during one of his rare public appearances in late 2012. "And once we completed our job, we were convinced that he's a lad we can use, especially for this price."
Kagawa signed for Dortmund for just €350,000 and left for Manchester United for around €16m two summers later as a back-to-back Bundesliga champion and a domestic double winner.
"The key player for my career as a scout was Shinji Kagawa," Mislintat said earlier this year. "When you find a young player in a second division and he joins for small money and can make the difference: That's a key moment everyone needs in his career."
He has been chased by German clubs for years
A man of few public words, a lot was written about Mislintat and the clubs chasing him. Whenever a German club was looking for a new sporting head, his name was thrown into the mix. Over just a few years he was linked with Fortuna Dusseldorf, Hannover, Hamburg, Bayern Munich and Stuttgart. All of them hoped to make use of his knowledge and network -- from agents and ex-players.
All the while, Mislintat worked his way through the ranks at Dortmund. He was handed more power before being made the club's head of professional football with a contract through to 2021 amid a power struggle with then-head coach Thomas Tuchel.
Both had fallen out just over six months into Tuchel's two-year reign at Dortmund, clashing over the transfer of Atletico Madrid's Oliver Torres. As Mislintat was banished from the club's training grounds, he continued to do his work from the club's headquarters just a few hundred metres away from the Westfalenstadion, continuing work on transfers of the likes of Dembele.
Mislintat's legacy at Dortmund is incredible. He has had his say in the signings of Mats Hummels, Jakub Blaszyczkowski, Neven Subotic, Sven Bender and Lewandowski, all of them forming the core for BVB's golden generation that won back-to-back Bundesliga titles and reached the 2013 Champions League final under Jurgen Klopp. In recent years, he not only worked on the Dembele deal, which made a massive profit when he was sold to Barcelona for €105m this summer, but also helped BVB land Aubemayang and Raphael Guerreiro.
He embraces technology
While admitting being a traditionalist when it comes to using video evidence in football -- saying in late 2012 that three-minute long breaks are rather something for American Football -- Mislintat is a fan of modern technology.
He was one of the people behind bringing the Footbonaut to Dortmund, backing the idea of schooling players in a 20x20-metre cage with machines firing footballs towards them at different speeds and trajectories.
During Dortmund's Klopp years, he also sat in the stands during the games, taking notes on his tablet, and then rushing down to the dressing room a few minutes before half-time to edit videos on what was good and what wasn't during the first half.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Mislintat is also the co-founder of Matchmetrics, a German start-up that, according to the company's website, provides "the most sophisticated big data analytics in professional football."
He has been nicknamed "Diamond Eye"
Dortmund would not be where they are now without Mislintat. The club's hierarchy backed him during the turbulent times in Tuchel's tenure, and repeatedly ended all rumours about his possible exit.
This summer, amid links with Bayern, BVB sporting director Michael Zorc said that they were "irritated" by their rival's actions, adding that "fundamentally, everyone is replaceable" -- though that's a lot harder for a man nicknamed "Diamond Eye."
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.