Ranking Sven Mislintat’s Arsenal Signings
Sven Mislintat joined Arsenal as the head of recruitment in late 2017. He stayed at the post for just over one year before calling it quits after butting heads with Raul Sanllehi, the club’s head of football. Before leaving, ‘Diamond Eyes’ aided in the capture of eight players and in celebration of 8 February 2019, his final day at the club, we’re taking the time to rank all of Sven Mislintat’s Arsenal signings.
Sven Mislintat’s Arsenal Signings Ranked
Coming in last place is the Gunners’ first signing from the summer of 2018. Stephan Lichtsteiner joined on a free after his Juventus contract came to term.
The right-back was never meant to play in the biggest matches for Arsenal. Rather, they brought him in to play the cup competitions as well as add some veteran leadership in the dressing room.
However, a major injury to Hector Bellerin has ruled him out for the remainder of the season and forced Lichtsteiner to fill in. The Swiss international has been badly exposed, especially against a scintillating Manchester City side.
While not much should be expected from a 34-year-old stand-in, his poor displays this season mean that he is the worst of Sven Mislintat’s Arsenal signings.
Konstantinos Mavropanos, or just Dinos Mavropanos, was the first transfer conducted under the authority of Mislintat. The young Greek centre-back joined from his native country’s second division for a low fee in January 2018.
His modest age, frugal fee and humble origins meant few expectations for the player. However, he impressed enough in training to thwart a touted loan move and eventually make his Premier League debut that same season.
Mavropanos made three appearances, although saw red in one. A major groin injury in September meant the Greek missed the entire season up to this point, making his return as a substitute against City.
Since fans have seen so little of Mavropanos, he is still somewhat of an unknown commodity, meaning he ranks second to last on this list.
The first of three players that Sven Mislintat signed twice (once for Borussia Dortmund, once for Arsenal), Mkhitaryan joined Arsenal from Manchester United in January 2018 with Alexis Sanchez going the other way. Due to the dire circumstances under which the transfer happened, at the time the move was considered a success.
Arsenal had avoided losing a star player for nothing and added a talented winger. However, just over one year on, the Armenian international hasn’t quite lived up to the billing.
He has a penchant for picking up minor injuries and, when he is fit, Mkhitaryan is prone to error. What may be worse is his extravagant wage of £140,000 per week, among the highest at the club.
Mkhitaryan is a good player, but he is on lavish wages and doesn’t exactly add anything Arsenal didn’t already have. Therefore, the Armenian ranks sixth out of eight.
The second of three players which Mislintat signed twice. Sokratis joined Arsenal over the summer for around £16 million when he declined a contract extension at Dortmund.
Half a season later the fee seems fair for a solid yet unspectacular player. Sokratis’ main strengths are his tackling, strength and organizational ability. He has also earned a reputation for being very passionate on the football pitch.
However, Sokratis does suffer from a dearth of pace, he doesn’t have the best technical skills and he will turn 31 in the summer. So, the club’s return on this investment may begin to wane in the coming seasons.
For now, though, Sokratis is a welcome addition, especially with the most recent defensive injury crisis.
With Petr Cech nearing not only the end of his contract but the end of his playing career, Arsenal needed a goalkeeper in the summer. Enter record ‘keeper signing Bernd Leno, formerly of Bayer Leverkusen.
Arsenal and Mislintat were attracted to the player less due to his shot-stopping ability, but rather because of his technical nous. Leno is known as a ‘keeper who is good with a ball at his feet, which is becoming a more and more important trait.
The player is only 26, which is still quite young for his position, and should only get better at the club. It hasn’t been all sunshine in north London for Leno as of yet, with his side conceding more than anyone else in the top six.
However, the German has shown flashes of brilliance, including his nine-save performance at the Etihad recently. Of Sven Mislintat’s Arsenal signings, Leno is the fourth-best.
The young French midfielder with an unforgettable hairstyle joined Arsenal in the summer from Ligue 2 side Lorient. The £7 million price tag fooled some fans into thinking the player was one for the future.
However, 21 league appearances later and we know that Guendouzi is very much a part of this squad even now. He won’t turn 20 until April but already looks mature enough to start nearly every match.
While he has made several big mistakes this season, especially in the season opener at home against Manchester City, the midfielder hasn’t let his head drop and has put in some really brave displays.
Guendouzi has done enough to draw praise from Arsenal legend Ian Wright: “Matteo Guendouzi, you have to say, to go to City and put in the shift that he put in today, never gave up, fighting all the way to the end, and that is the spirit, that is the kind of player that we want there [at Arsenal].”
Due to his talent, modest age and the fact that he hasn’t yet found his full potential, Guendouzi ranks third-best out of Sven Mislintat’s Arsenal signings.
This time last season relatively few fans of the English game had ever heard of the Uruguayan. By now, he is a household name amongst Arsenal fans.
Transferring from Sampdoria for nearly £30 million, Torreira was Arsenal’s biggest signing of summer 2018. He has gone on to become nearly undroppable for Unai Emery after struggling for minutes early in his north London tenure.
Torreira is the defensive midfielder fans have wanted at the club for years. He is defensively aware, makes excellent tackles and can even contribute offensively.
Despite only starting 17 league matches, Torreira has averaged 2.2 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per 90. He has also proved tidy on the ball, completing 88.4% of his attempted passes.
The midfielder is also just 22-years-old, meaning he will only get better at the club. This excellent piece of business ranks as Mislintat’s second-best at the Emirates.
The final player that Mislintat signed twice. The Gabon striker has 38 Premier League appearances to his name as of the time of writing and a whopping 25 goals scored. Aubameyang has added eight assists as well during that time, making him one of the most dangerous attackers in England right now.
Aubameyang’s main strength is his scoring touch, but his pace is also legendary. What fans didn’t anticipate, however, is the player’s attitude. He has quickly become the most popular player in the dressing room and always seems to be smiling, even when he starts on the bench.
This attitude also manifests itself in a terrific work rate. When playing on the flank, the striker tracks back very well and even has a few tackles to his name this season.
While there are some other great players on this list, Aubameyang has to rank as the best of Sven Mislintat’s Arsenal signings.