FourFourTwo - - UNAI EMERY -

There’s an air of mys­tery around Sven Mislintat, al­though it’s noth­ing to do with his de­meanour, rather the fact that no­body ap­pears to know ex­actly what he does. Or more pre­cisely: how he does what he does.

When he joined Arse­nal at the end of 2017, the Ger­man was pre­ceded by his rep­u­ta­tion as an un­earther of tal­ent, as well as nick­names in­clud­ing ‘Di­a­mond Eyes’ and ‘Pearl Diver’, hav­ing ad­vised Borus­sia Dort­mund to sign the likes of Ous­mane Dem­bele and Pierre-em­er­ick Aubameyang. Yet he doesn’t tire­lessly trek the globe watch­ing these play­ers. The 45-year-old’s hunt­ing ground is on a com­puter. He has an eye for num­bers and dives for data.

Mislintat hasn’t got a big­ger data­base than any­one else, so why did he zero in on a guy from the Ja­panese sec­ond tier called Shinji Ka­gawa while oth­ers didn’t?

The an­swer lies in his out­stand­ing skill. He knows which stats are im­por­tant and which aren’t. To­gether with a busi­ness part­ner, Mislintat has come up with his own soft­ware, a for­mula that sep­a­rates the use­ful data from the dis­tract­ing.

Yet this is no nerdy num­ber-cruncher; Sven is so suc­cess­ful at tar­get­ing tal­ent be­cause he knows the game in­side out. He’s pre­vi­ously worked as an as­sis­tant coach in Ger­many’s fourth di­vi­sion (and has since earned his top-level coach­ing badges), orig­i­nally moved to Dort­mund in 2006 as op­po­si­tion an­a­lyst, and has more re­cently been courted by Bay­ern Mu­nich as a po­ten­tial tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor.

But as good as he is, ‘Di­a­mond Eyes’ will not turn Arse­nal’s for­tunes around sin­gle-hand­edly – mod­ern trans­fers are team ef­forts. He didn’t dis­cover Ka­gawa on his own. He was alerted by an agent and sent scouts to Japan on six dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions be­fore urg­ing BVB to swoop.

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