Wenger working on ‘new balance’ with Mislintat & Sanllehi

Pic via eurosport.com

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Konstantinos Mavrapanos was signed by Arsenal on the advice of the new head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat.

The Frenchman also revealed that the German, who joined the Gunners set-up from Borussia Dortmund in November, is still getting to know his scouting network and that the imminent arrival of Raul Sanllehi, who is set to join the club as head of football relations on 1st February, will require the trio to find a new structural balance.

The two new appointments, along with a number of other off-field acquisitions in the legal and fitness teams, are seen as the first steps being taken by Ivan Gazidis to plan for life after Wenger.

“We talk,” Wenger said of the relationship he’s striking with Mislintat.

“We know the players. We know. It’s not that we discover [new names], we know every single player in Europe before Sven arrived. Sometimes, in a little club in Germany, he might know somebody we might ignore.”

Touching on the role Sanllehi will play, Wenger went on: “He [Raul] starts only on the 1 February.

“Look, it is important to find a new balance. For them, it’s more difficult than for me, because they have to adapt to a new environment, they discover suddenly a different structure and overall that is…at the moment it’s a bit new and unusual because it’s an important period but we are not used to working together.”

On how he envisages the relationship between the men improving, he added: “By communicating. I have meetings with them to talk about the problems and how we can make it all work.

“For Sven, it is important to know all the scouts. We have a big scouting system, he has to meet everybody and explain how it works.

“That’s why it’s very time-consuming at the moment.”

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66 Comments on "Wenger working on ‘new balance’ with Mislintat & Sanllehi"

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Finally some much needed structure for the club.. Hopefully this will take some of the pressure off Wenger in his final year and a half so he can focus primarily on getting the results… Wenger is not one that asks for help, but everyone can see that he needs to take a step back from the day to day now.. Hopefully it will pay dividends in the end and he can go out on a high.


Final year?
Do you really believe this will be his final year?
I hope so but can see him signing another new contract..


Look, if the club turn it around as they are trying to do, putting a modern structure in place to compete at the very top, and Wenger goes and wins the league next season, would you deny that he would deserve a new Contract?


If Wenger were by some miracle able to win the league next season it would be the perfect time for him to leave on a high. I don’t think he’ll be around next season, the club are putting in a modern structure and he’s fighting against it all the way. I’m backing Gazidis on this one.

Twisted cuntloks

Wenger will never win the Premier League unless the big clubs currently above us collapse next season…


even then he wont win the league .arsenal will still bottle it and some club like leiceter will win it


I don’t even mind not winning the league but atleast be in the hunt for it till May. Not like now.. we were out in November…


Who is in the hunt right now? lol

Twisted cuntloks

We were out of it by the end of September!!!

non flying dutchman

we lost two of your first three… we were out by the end of August :p


Haha we’re dropping like a stone alex


You are truly an optimist. If you look at the team since last January we are a mid table side who really haven’t improved any of our weaknesses and rely on moments of individual brilliance to win games. I would love to see Wenger go out on a high note but there’s more than ample evidence he just can’t cut it at the top level anymore

Always Arsenal

Wow. Guess we didn’t win 3 FA cups in the last 4 years then. And don’t give me all that shite about the FA cup being a nothing cup. The only ones that say that are the ones that don’t win it. Oh, and the Arsenal “fans”


While it’s great to win any silverware, the FA cup is a competition where you play 5 – 6 games, usually with 5 of them coming against lower tiered competition. Finalists the past 5 years include Wigan (relegated), Hull (close to relegation), Aston Villa (relegated) & Crystal Palace. To argue Wenger is still a great manager based on that rather than the overwhelming body of evidence (PL and CL) is just flat out stupid. The PL is the true measure as that requires consistency. We haven’t meaningfully challenged for the PL in almost a decade. Wenger has done a lot of great things for the club, but at some point we need to stop living in the past. Would any other top PL club be interested in the Wenger of today if he left Arsenal? That should pretty much tell you all you need to know about whether it’s time to move on.


Honestly I think it more likely that he’ll be sneaky and leave at the end of this year and save the will he won’t he extend drama.
Either that or he’ll be really clear that next year is his last.
Whatever the case I certainly hope he learnt his lesson from the drama that was kicked up around his last extension.

Faisal Narrage

I honestly believe he’s leaving at the end of this year. I think the 2 year think was a rouse to avoid another “will he won’t he” saga again, and all this changes are in prep for him leaving this year.

I just can’t believe these new changes are here to just hang around for a year or so until Wenger leaves, because we all know fundamentally Wenger is against these changes as it reduces his influence (“What is Director of Football?”)


Also it’s ok for Wenger to work the way he has all these years and dictate how he wants things and when. But not he successor who must work within a different structure?
The club is weak and should have imposed these changes years ago despite what Wenger said.


This is another way for Mr Wenger to extend his contract after the 18 months left in his contract. In no way would he accept sharing power if he was getting results.

This is just one way of showing he’s accepting change and he’s the man to lead us through these changes. In order to do this, he will start a new PR campaign about how doing every thing distractedly him from coaching the team, he was running the whole football club and has little time to study teams, players and tactics.

Of course his apologist would lap it up and tell us he’s changed and he’s moving us forward after we beat one of the top six teams and win a cup.

Arsene IS the problem.


Agree with first half but second half makes a few assumptions.

Communication is the key. But at the end of the day, the board have to approve the money.

Twisted cuntloks

You are right, he isn’t one to ask for help because he wants total control regardless of its implications. It also isn’t to relieve pressure on Wenger, it is more to do with giving responsibility of important aspects within the club to fresh faced knowledgeable people that can find the new Anelkas/Vieiras etc. We find good players but we either cannot keep them fit or take them to their full potential any more. It has been this way for more than 10 years.

The Wenger of yesteryear was a master of doing the above but I strongly believe his decision to cash in on our greatest ever players (ie the invincibles) instead of keeping them within the club to educate the next generation has been his greatest mistake which has prevented us from becoming a Manchester United and he an Alex ferguson mark 2.


Sounds promising….i think

Granit(e) hard!

mmmm, the plot thickens!

” …..Sometimes, in a little club in Germany, he might know somebody we might ignore.”
do i detect a tad little bit of cynicism here or is it just me?


“We know the players. We know. It’s not that we discover [new names], we know every single player in Europe before Sven arrived.”

Think he feels threatened. I have a sneaky feeling bringing in Sven was a lot more to do with Gazidis than Wenger.


Sometimes Wenger can be a very small man

Art Van\'Delay

Wow, really?

Timorous Me

This was my initial thinking, but it might be less cynical and more of Wenger just trying to make sure the scouts he’s had in place for some time get the credit he feels they deserve, and that if he didn’t say this it would suggest that they haven’t done a good job keeping track of all the players across Europe.

Anyway, all the recent happenings on the pitch have been so negative, I’m going to try to hold out hope that the goings-on off it have actually been much more positive and productive. But I certainly see where you’re coming from–it’s hard not to see it that way, at least at first glance.

Mr Fandango

Maybe, but we all know we wouldn’t sign the player if Wenger didn’t allow it, and he clearly has. He probably does feel a bit affronted but I imagine it’s probably more to do with the attention this recieves and the perception he’s not so capable anymore.


Yeah, I saw it the same way. Seems to be trying to undermine him and he has only just started. Sven had a harder time at Dortmund, he was band from the training ground so I think he can handle this rubbish from Wenger

Andy Mack

He’s just saying that the AFC scout in Germany has a load of players to watch and may have seen a team including a player that Sven rates, whereas the one time the scout saw him he played bang average. If Svens previous scout saw him in a good game then they’d have a second look but the AFC scout possibly didn’t have the time.


I think what he means when he says Arsenal “know all the players”, is that we do know them but previously haven’t been able to make our minds up and decide whether to sign them or not. Wenger is on record saying that we have to improve our perormance in the scouting department, and that’s exactly where Sven comes in. I’m not buying this “petty Wenger” talk.


Knowing the players is one thing, getting them to sign for Arsenal is another.

Let’s see how this one pans out in the summer.


“we know every single player in Europe before Sven arrived”. “we have a big scouting system”

Sorry Sven, it seems your services are not required here after all . There’s been a big misunderstanding.


I don’t think that’s the right interpretation. I’m sure over the years you have learned to read between the lines with Arsene? Maybe he is just trying to give some credit to the rest of the people at the club?


It seems to me like Wenger is indirectly telling Sven ‘Your job is to find the ones we usually ignore which means, Sven probably has full control over small transfers but any big transfers have to go through Wenger’


Everyone knows the big players, so I don’t think any of us should be surprised at that. It’ll be Sanllehi’s job to push the deals across the line, not Sven’s.

But I hope Sven will be allowed influence to seriously consider someone that might not have been taken seriously enough previously but should have (e.g. all of those ‘we looked at him back blah blah blah). This is where Ivan and the board are still going to have to display a little more backbone to make sure Sven is backed up and given that influence. —If they actually want to spend any money to improve the club, of course.


I don’t know what to make of this.
The rich clubs also have scouting systems and more money to offer both clubs and players than we do.
Structure is good but when the same issues remain (no money, no investment and a manager long passed his best) it becomes a bit meaningless.
It does not fill me with much hope…


Bayern were far wealthier in comparison to Dortmund than the Manchester clubs are in comparison to us when they won the league twice.

Besides, just because we only have the 7th highest turnover in the world, doesn’t give our board an excuse to give up and continue pretending like Arsene can be a one man structure! I’m so glad the club actually seems to be TRYING behind the scenes for the first time in ages.


They haven’t won since? Haven’t really competed for the title.


Firstly, they’ve won the league a lot more recently than we have! Secondly, their financial disadvantage to Bayern is larger than the one we face to United
/ City, and we aren’t constantly hemorrhaging our best players to them (at least not at the same rate).

Dortmund themselves are probably an even bigger mess off the pitch than we are and suffer a lot of the same issues as a result of that – Constant injuries, poor contract management, shit match tactics etc. But if you can bring in players like Lewandowski, Dembele, Reus, Aubameyang, Pisczek, Hummels, Gundogan, Sahin, Pulisic, Subotic etc etc etc for low fees then that atones for a lot of shortcomings.

The foundation for our own golden era from 1998 – 2004 was also based on identifying future stars before the others – something we’re now below average at.

Sorry for waffling, but my point is that we can make our mild financial disadvantage irrelevant if we can sort out the staff / structures off the pitch.

Faisal Narrage

The big clubs are more risk-averse and more focused on short-term results, which is why they’d rather pay £50m for a player than scout them 3-5 years earlier and pay £5m instead and develop them.

It’s gotten to the point that they big clubs will even sell these players to just buy them back in a few years (Matic, Pogba).

Also your complaint about “no investment” is a bit odd, as this is investment.


It’s really about what’s next for the club. The current Arsenal model of the central powerful manager like with Wenger is long gone everywhere else. When he goes he needs to be replaced by 3 figures, and these are 2 of the 3. With them seasoned into place replacing the manager is much safer and easier because we’ll be more ready to fit the current manager model. Plug and play.

If you’re Chelsea plug-play-unplug-plug-play-unplug-and-on-and-on-and-on.

We’re getting ready for manager-go-round. Next thing you know we’ll be watching AVB or Ancelotti wander around the touch line. Woohoo.

It will be uncomfortable and unwieldy until then because Wenger has never worked like that and vice-versa.


Good stuff. In these days of hyper inflated prices for ‘proven’ talents let’s hope some real gems can be picked up for sensible (ha!) money. We’ll see.


It’s kinda worrying when Wenger is talking about people ,that were brought in to make changes and modernise and rejuvenate the overall state of clubs transfer department yet he says that the new guys need to adapt to the new structure? I’m sorry, were they not brought in to create and improve a new structure? I’m confused. Really hope wengers ego doesn’t ruin this. We all saw what happened with the guy that was brought in from Ajax, he only lasted one full season because he wouldn’t bend over for stubborn Wenger. As much as I love the manager for all that he’s done for our club, he needs to step aside and leave certain areas to be dealt with and overseen by the people that were hired for that very reason.

Faisal Narrage

You mean from Wolfsburg for the Academy? (or did he leave for Wolsfburg?)
And yeah, a major reason for him leaving was because he was “Gazidis man” and thus Wenger had little communication with him, which frustrated him to no end and it was clear to him there was heavy resistance to the changes he wanted to implement to the academy development system and style.

Ironically, the little changes he’s made are showing fruit, such as sending players on loan to Belgium, rather than rotting in the Football league.


Maybe it’s just me, but Wenger’s comments are very dismissive of Mislintat and his knowledge. To say ‘we know every single player in Europe before Sven arrived’ just seems petty and the ‘he might know someone we might ignore’ feels like a dig. Wenger needs to accept he can’t control everything and the club is better when he doesn’t.


Wenger is resisting change. He is a tin pot dictator who wants to control every aspect of business at Arsenal. He is threatened by the changes and will do everything to undermine and demean the new office bearers. He is used to having a say in everything hence the current state of the club . However the new structure need to be supported because Asernal is bigger than Wenger. He is exhibiting the last kicks of a dying horse. I would advise him to concentrate on coaching which seems to be lacking in his team.


Usual rubbish from Wenger. Wenger is a very intelligent man but he is extremely control freak.


At the same time it can also be said that Wenger might be like that because there’s no other football person at Arsenal. It’s him and administration people(Ivan and the Board) , we should have done all this restructuring 4-5 years ago.

Faisal Narrage

We’re doing it now, that’s what matters, so he should relinquish control. If he really loves Arsenal like he says he does, then he’s self-aware enough to see this is for the greater good of the club long term and relinquish some powers.

The fact he’s seeingly making passive aggressive remarks like above does show that sometimes he’s not as ultristic as he makes himself out to be.

Mr Fandango

Maybe but the player Sven wanted has been signed so he’s obviously not that resistant


Knows every player in Europe but can’t do better than Walcott, Elneny and Xhaka. Nice try Arsene but the ground has grown under your feet mate and the grass cutters have arrived.


Time for wenger to accept some fresh blood on the technical front, to borrow his line. He has signed some mediocre players in the last 5 years…Xhaka, Mustafi, Chambers, Santos to name a few.


Stateside I’ve been privy to watching the development of the use of data-driven analysis of athletes in baseball. The team in the city I live (Houston) made a commitment in 2012 to revamp every aspect of operations and scouting, while rebuilding their minor league (academy) teams. The team went through 3 years of last place finishes (baseball doesn’t relegate)– before making playoffs in 2015. Last fall the Houston Astros won the team’s first championship since they were founded in 1962.

The organization is now as strong/stronger as many of the wealthier ones (NY, LA, Chicago)– and poised to compete at the top for years.

IMO, Arsenal’s use of StatDNA is still in an evolving phase. Where baseball has had advances in existing types of statistics used– football is just now determining methods of measuring performance data.

I do feel Arsenal will be at the forefront when this type of system is embraced fully. That Mislintat and Sanllehi have been brought aboard at a point where initial analysis of data is still required– while a comparative generation of athletes are being digitized. Measuring against former and current players being the baseline .

If I had to hazard a guess? It’ll be another 1-2 years before the data is relevant. In the meantime– Sven and Raul will do what they’ve been doing at Dortmund and Barca.



The only reason why it works in NA sports is because they have no relegation like you said. So they were able to tank and be a horrible franchise. Acquire the best amateur players through a draft that rewards the worse teams with the best potential talents. You just have to hope that 18-21 yo develop the way you hope or else it will be nothing but perpetual cycle of tanking to acquire talent.

The setups are soo different from NA sports and European models. Plus I think its really hard to use stats like NA sports uses in football. Of course I’m not smart enough to really think it through.


We are currently in a negative net spend, one of the lowest spends in the league in a season which sees United and City spend record amounts even after player sales.

The article says it concisely when Arsene points out that we haven’t discovered new players, we know about them already.

Based on one signing so far, it may indicate something similar to Dortmund, in which they groom players for clubs with huge resources to cherry pick.

I think the board need to stop looking at players as commodities and start to consider them as pieces of a bigger picture. Unfortunately our financial situation is comfortable (from their point of view)

So nothing will change until that is threatened. Perhaps Raul can show them how they can operate at a big profit whilst still competing for cups.

Between one scout who has a nose for elite player values, a coach who can bring a young prodigy to world class status and a football operations guys who has the contacts and ability to handle big agents. We might have a foundation for something good, as long as the board can see the win win here.

Faisal Narrage

I think the board isn’t the issue here, they know exactly what they want. It seems like Wenger is the one resistant to change.

I suspect the Academy is failing on 2 areas, which is what they want to rectify.
1. Creation of new talent for the first team. We’re seriously lacking here, and have overlooked players such as Kante because for whatever reason, it was decided we already had quality (something Wenger has said a lot over the summers).
2. For those who don’t make it to the first team, there is a serious issue here. Arsenal are spending millions on young players, and they aren’t making any return for the club. Hate to say it, but Chelsea has a model where, if they’re not good enough, they get huge amounts of money for player sales from their academy. For us, if our academy players aren’t good enough, they usually plummet into the depths of the football league.


EVery big club struggles to bring in talent from their academy. This isn’t just an Arsenal problem.

I think its fair to say ARsenal hold on to their young players longer then Chelsea does. So when Chelsea sells its when they are still prospects with huge upside?

Faisal Narrage

“For them, it’s more difficult than for me, because they have to adapt to a new environment”

But the reality is…it should be Wenger having to adapt to a new structure, not them. They’re here to change the system, not to be assimilated into it and thus be bent to Wenger’s will like everything else football-related at the club.


It hasn’t taken Sven long to adapt to his new environment and I think it’s telling that his new signing will not be working with Arsene this season. Sanllehi doesn’t seem the sort who’s going to back off either.

Faisal Narrage

Agreed. Sanllehi has worked for Barca and dealt with the biggest egos.

It’s clear Gazidis has a mandate to make changes by force, regardless of Wenger’s resistance. It really does seem like Gazidis isn’t hellbent on his “catalyst for change”.

I suspect his final piece is to get a modern and analytical manager to make use of all these analytical methods and process they’re applying to the club; from scouting to some of the tactical tech they’ve put into the club (a major skill of Darren Burgess is his use of tech and GPS data t help define new drills that incorporate fitness with technical learning. From what I hear, Arsenal under Wenger barely took notice of such data for session planning outside of “red zones” or not).


Knowing all the players in Europe- and not doing anything .
Having 70% possession and not doing anything.
Having dozens of shots on goal and not doing anything.
We’re Arsenal
We’re Arse-in’
Arse-in’ about doing nutt’n much at all.


Cool words


Kind of cold comments from Adsense..


Just saying Barca just signed Coutinho for 142m quid.

50m for Mahrez is nothing in today’s market.

The summer will likely see more complications particularly with the world cup likely to impact availability and many teams in the hunt for fresh faces.

I would think it is imperative for Wenger to bring in a Mahrez now, someone who is blooded in PL, at 26yrs is only coming into his best years, and will balance out Alexis + possibly replace him (if partially)

I don’t know why we are waiting because Liverpool are flush with cash. They just bought the Dutch defender for 75m which means they are still positive 67m quid.

We need to get ahead of them for Mahrez IMO.

We need ready made quality, we cannot afford to gamble on potential with BOTH Ozil and Alexis potential departures.

I don’t know what Wenger is planning but he has a propensity to shoot himself (and the club) in the foot trying to penny pinch on market principals formulated for 10 years ago.

IF anything he has flattered to deceive and covered his faults tactically because he has been generally excellent in market.

BUT does he have the gumption to buy enough quality to make up for the closing gap with the lower teams now able to afford quality technical players where once they were xenophobic and lacking in TV transfer funds. Add to that the competitive financing of teams in the “top 6” and he has seen his technical advantages of his earlier incarnations in team quality steadily eroded.

We need to show some intent now IMO. It doesn’t augur well for the summer. We cannot keep buying the Elnenys in this day and age.


Hopefully this young Greek defender Mavroponos turns out to be a gem.

They are doing the right thing sending him out to the school of hard knocks with Bremen.

I think the aim is to try and identify talent quicker and snap them up earlier before we have to content with paying higher pricing.

In that sense how we develop them is so important. to get the best out of them (at others expense) before they hit the big time with us.


Im curious to know who sven rates at arsenal when he was at Dortmund and if he ever suggested the club to sign any of our players then.