Can I tell you a worry I have?
The worry is that our new scouting guy is essentially ‘bringing the band together’ by focusing on Dortmund players in his role at Arsenal and whilst that in itself isn’t the biggest problem in the world because they have some good players, it’s hardly the kind of ‘NextGen’ talent we thought was going to be unveiled by the genius that is Sven Mislintat.
Of course this ‘worry’ could end up being unfounded, but after we were heavily linked yesterday with the signing of Sokratis as one of the replacements for next season’s back line, it does all feel a little like there’s a direction the good ship Arsenal is being steered and it’s more replicating than revolution.
I mean don’t get me wrong, Dortmund have been a good team and Sven has clearly found some gems in his time there, but I thought we were getting a head of scouting who would be unearthing talent just before they join one of the big European teams? We all know that Arsenal can’t spooge millions on ready-made replacements in multiple positions this summer, which is why I thought we were getting Sven in to find the next Hummels, Reus, Auba or Mkhi.
I’m not saying I wasn’t delighted when Auba and Mkhi rocked up in January and I’m sure that Sven played his part in bringing them in through leveraging his relationship with those players. I’m just starting to get a little concerned that his current strategy is to go back to his old school and nick all of the most brightly coloured pens.
Perhaps I’m just being drawn in through the usual speculation that happens at this time of year though. Perhaps I need to just chill for a bit, because let’s face it the summer is going to be full of rumour and counter rumour. And with the signing of Konstantinos Mavropanos it looks – on the admittedly limited information and game time we have seen – like we have a player on our hands that may well make an impact next season. But I just have a worry that Sven might be going down the easy route with some of the more senior players we’re supposedly looking at.
I suppose it also doesn’t help that Sokratis is hardly the type of player who has set Dortmund alight and seems to be very much in the mould of Mustafi. With him and Shkodran at the heart of our defence, what can go wrong, eh?
*shuffles awkwardly in seat at the prospect*
Perhaps though, most of this worry is moot until we know who is taking over the team next season, because they’ll want to have their own style, impact and probably structure. We’ve seen how much of a car crash Mustafi can be under the Wenger system, but who knows if a new man can’t beat the brain-farts out of him? That’s certainly got to be all of our collective hopes anyway.
But back to Sven and Arsenal’s current strategy of unearthing talent, I find myself chuckling at my own stance with the transfer policy, because for years I bemoaned is going for younger players and here I am talking up the new scout like he’s got a black book of Messi’s to call on.
It’s all about the narrative, as they say, and the narrative that Sven brings is as a man who helps to find superstars. But that’s only one small part of it in reality. I don’t watch much German football but I’ve read about Auba from those that do and at times he hardly set the world alight when he first joined Dortmund. It was only after Lewandowski left and he was given a central starting role that his goal scoring prowess reached elite standards. So whilst Sven can obviously be given a pat on the back for the recommendation of Auba to Dortmund’s hierarchy, there was still a bit of coaching and the right system that needed to be put in place for it to succeed.
Which is why the new manager has to be dictating to Sven the type and style of player he wants to see, not the other way around, because the new manager needs to find a team composition that works with the existing players he has and the style that he wants his team to adopt.
Right now we have no idea who or what that is – even if we all have an inkling – so I guess I come back to my original point about not getting too hung up on an apparent approach that we haven’t seen come to fruition yet.
I just hope it doesn’t work out that way i.e. Sven pointing in the direction of Westphalia every time he’s asked a question about how to improve this Arsenal team.