The idea was that, in time, Sven Mislintat would become Arsenal’s Director of Football. The German was lured to the Emirates Stadium on this verbal promise, initially installed as the club’s Head of Recruitment with the understanding that he would move into the more senior role once Arsene Wenger left.
But Wenger departed Arsenal at the end of last season and Mislintat remained in his same role. More importantly, Ivan Gazidis, the man who had identified Mislintat as the man to overhaul Arsenal’s transfer strategy, left for AC Milan at the end of last year. The promise made to Mislintat no longer stood and this forced the former Borussia Dortmund chief out of the club at the start of this month.
Now, however, there are reports claiming Arsenal are on the brink of offering the Director of Football job, or something similar just by another title, to Monchi, the Roma director credited with turning Sevilla into a European force. Some have even stated that a deal has been agreed and that the Spaniard will make the move to North London this summer.
Of course, Monchi has worked with Unai Emery before. The two figures were key to the success enjoyed by Sevilla over the past decade, forming quite the partnership. This is surely central to the decision Arsenal have reportedly taken, looking to draw upon the chemistry that worked so well for Sevilla.
But will Arsenal give Monchi the sort of freedom that Mislintat craved and was ultimately denied? The appointment of the Spaniard will be for nothing if Stan Kroenke and the rest of the board at the Emirates Stadium are unwilling to allow Monchi the chance to mould the club in the way he desires.
Significant structural changes have been made at Arsenal over the past 18 months or so. At first, they were designed to ensure the club transitioned from the Wenger age and into a new era. Now, the new infrastructure must be utilised to give Arsenal the best chance of returning to the top of the English and European game.
Monchi has encountered issues at Roma, with the Serie A club enduring a difficult season after making the semi finals of the Champions League last season. But Monchi is still considered the best in his role in Europe. He would be quite a coup for Arsenal, but they must give him the chance to flourish.
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