Arsenal-bound Sven Mislintat has played a leading role in Borussia Dortmund's successful recent recruitment policy. - © © imago / GEPA Pictures
Arsenal-bound Sven Mislintat has played a leading role in Borussia Dortmund's successful recent recruitment policy. - © © imago / GEPA Pictures

Who is Borussia Dortmund's former chief scout Sven Mislintat and why did Arsenal sign him?


Credited with unearthing the likes of Christian Pulisic and Robert Lewandowski, among others, Sven Mislintat's decision to leave his role as Borussia Dortmund's Head of Professional Football to join Arsenal has caused more than a few ripples across Germany's footballing landscape.

But why exactly is that? And who is the man nicknamed 'Diamond Eye'? takes a closer look…

The now 45-year-old played for a number of years in Germany's lower leagues before joining Dortmund as a scout in 2006, working closely with sporting director Michael Zorc. In 2010 he was instrumental in identifying and recruiting the then unheard of 21-year-old Shinji Kagawa from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka, travelling to the Far East six times and taping hours of video for analysis.

It proved to be a career-changing moment for everyone involved. Kagawa went on to be a crucial member of Dortmund's title-winning campaigns in 2011 and 2012, a fact that helped earn him a move to Manchester United for a transfer fee that was considerably more than the relatively modest six-figure sum Dortmund had paid for him initially.

Kagawa's success also reflected well on Mislintat, as he himself admitted earlier this year in an interview with SoccerDays: "The key player for my career was Kagawa. If you can find a young player in the second division and he signs on for a small fee and then makes an impact in the Bundesliga, that's the kind of key moment everyone needs in their career."

Watch: Kagawa's September 2017 Goal of the Month winner

If Kagawa's signing gave greater weight to Mislintat's word, his subsequent recommendations cemented it yet further. In 2010 he also helped bring a gifted young Polish striker to Dortmund. And while it took a couple of years for Robert Lewandowski to truly flourish in Black and Yellow, the striker is now recognised as one of the best in the world.

Mislintat's ability to recognise unpolished gems swiftly earned him a glowing reputation across Germany, as well as the nickname 'Diamond Eye'. Looking at the list of recruits he is credited with, it is easy to see why: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembele, Christian Pulisic, Mats Hummels, Sven Bender, Neven Subotic, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Rapahel Guerreiro, to name but a few, are all established international players.

Watch: Pulisic, Dortmund's boy wonder

It is hardly surprising, then, that over the years clubs such as Hannover 96, Fortuna Düsseldorf and even Bayern Munich were reportedly interested in recruiting him as sporting director.

Dortmund were well aware of his importance to the BVB cause, however, and clung on to him, allowing Mislintat to rise and become the club's chief scout before taking his latter position as Head of Professional Football.

Mislintat's talents are not exclusively in the scouting department, however. He also oversaw Dortmund's famed 'Footbonaut', an innovative training machine that fires balls at players from different angles and at varying speeds to help improve control, touch and reaction time.

Watch: Mislintat gave a tour of the Footbonaut in 2013

After a decade at Dortmund, though, Mislintat decided to seek pastures new. "I'd like to thank my bosses," he said in a statement on the BVB website. "[CEO] Aki Watzke and [sporting director] Michael Zorc have stood behind me during all these years. They got me on board when the task arose of organising the BVB scouting department in such a way that it would always operate at a high level regardless of individuals. That was very important for me. I was born and grew up here, have worked for the club since 2006 and am a Black and Yellow through and through. And I will always remain so."

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