New Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat believes his fall-out with former Borussia Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel damaged all parties involved.
The 45-year-old left Dortmund for the Emirates last month. Mislintat vacated his position as Dortmund’s head of professional football in November, and started working in his new role at Arsenal on Dec. 1.
Mislintat had been working at the Westfalenstadion for the past 11 years, but felt like starting over, especially after a fall-out with former Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel left him with a training ground ban for over a season.
Tuchel and Mislintat had clashed over the transfer of Atletico Madrid midfielder Oliver Torres, who the head scout hoped to sign as a replacement for Ilkay Gundogan in January 2016, with the Germany international already set for a move away from the club.
“It was not without a reason the row between Tuchel and me started over Atletico Madrid’s Oliver Torres,” Mislintat told kicker. “A fantastic possession-based footballer, whom I would have loved to sign. One of the best No. 8s when it comes to passing. He’s also excellent in positioning. He would have been the perfect replacement for Ilkay Gundogan with a six-months lead time.”
Instead of signing Torres, Mislintat clashed with Tuchel, who subsequently handed him a training ground ban. While the head scout continued his work from the club offices, the rift between the head coach and Borussia Dortmund grew bigger, subsequently leading to his sacking at the end of last season.
When asked whether looking back he feels a certain gratitude to Tuchel for opening up the path for his move to Arsenal, Mislintat said: “There were many things I could have done without at that time, and the same certainly applies for Thomas Tuchel. In the end, it damaged us all.”
During last week’s annual shareholder meeting, BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said he regretted how Mislintat was treated at the club and took the blame for it, but the new Arsenal head of recruitment said that the club hierarchy also including sporting director Michael Zorc and him “have made their peace with the issue. There’s a mutual understanding.”
He added: “There wasn’t that one bad reason to leave Borussia Dortmund. But when I am 65 I don’t want to talk about Arsenal and London in if clauses.
“By allowing me to leave, Aki Watzke and Michael Zorc give me the greatest credit for my work in the past years.”
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.