Is Arsenal a dysfunctional club as Mislintat suggests?

By Tony Attwood

“‘An absolute mess’: Inside Arsenal, a ‘dysfunctional’ club desperate for a reset.”  So reads the headline to an article in the Independent website.  And it continues, “The very structure of the club is in question with problems mounting for head coach Mikel Arteta as he bids to return them to where they believe they belong.”

They list the fact that Arsenal have players who need to be moved on, but who they can’t find takers for, and speak vaguely about “years of poor planning.”

And they say, “Mislintat has told people Arsenal are an “absolute mess”, “dysfunctional and with no clear plan”.  And yes we can believe that.  It is the sort of thing bitter people do.

And yes, as ever in such pieces there are contradictions, It is said that Mislintat “felt the scouting structure was way too bloated, and that not enough of the many individuals involved were working towards any unifying idea. He tried to considerably trim it down, only to be blocked by head of football Raul Sanllehi.”

Except that this is exactly what has happened; a lot of scouts have gone.  The club did what he wanted.

He also brought in the players he wanted.   Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Konstantinos Mavropanos and he was part of the three-man panel that appointed head coach Unai Emery to succeed Arsene Wenger.  The suggestion is that he was also part of the group that worked to edge Arsene Wenger out.  That’s a pretty big area of influence to have, and it makes the subsequent criticisms look a bit suspect – almost as if he is trying to cover his own mistakes.

Obviously he doesn’t really want to be remembered as the person who pushed out Wenger and brought in Emery only for him to be moved again – because the instability of three managers in a couple of years is surely at the heart of Arsenal’s problems.  It has cost them a fortune, and given them instability.

What’s more Mislintat was not a total miracle maker in the transfer market.  Yes he brought in Leno – a great player.  But he also gave us Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Aubameyang was a superb buy, but a contractual nightmare in every club he had been with, and now a problem for Arsenal as well.   Mavropanos managed seven games and is now out on loan.

And as so often with people who bitch and moan after leaving a job, nothing is every his fault in his eyes.  Instead unnamed sources are used to pour scorn on the club.   “The recruitment is being done by people who’ve never been specialists in recruitment.   Their contracts are being done by a guy who worked in cycling.   So at a time when they need to be careful with money, they’ve put the investment of transfer funds into the hands of people who haven’t done it before.”

Yep, rather like all those criticisms of people who brought in Arsene Who.   And all this in a season when we have brought in Gabriel Martinelli – a player who first went to Manchester United and they turned him down.  I suppose he just came to us because he was in London and saw the name of the underground station.

But he goes on and on and on.   “They have a ‘big-time’ set-up in terms of their key figures, and how they operate, but it’s completely toothless because they don’t have ‘big-time’ money.   You see Raul in a director’s box at the Clasico, and it looks great, but all he’s going to sign is the rejects of either of those two teams.”

Well, yes, up to a point.  But you see, Barcelona don’t have any money either and are in real financial trouble; there are bargains to be had.  Besides which Arsene Wenger helped finance Arsenal by selling players like Henry to Barcelona towards the end of their career, for far more than they were worth.

So while everyone at Arsenal raves over Martinelli and Leno, unknown signings for Arsenal, the Independent suggests that, “The criticism is that the management is obsessed with “big names” and so have an unbalanced squad”.  And into this mix there is the statement that “One connected figure feels Everton would have been a much better option for Arteta’s career, even if it meant waiting two seasons.”

Thus we are told we have a wreck of a club and a manager who is told to get out as fast as poss.   And three issues arise from this.

One is, is it true, or is it just the sort of thing we have heard for years from the media?  The second is, if it is true, how did it get this way?  And the third is, if it is true, how do we get out of it?

The first thing to note is that the criticisms of who Arsenal sign have been there at least since the late 1990s with all the foreign players Arsenal signed.  In may seem strange now but the media went berserk in 1996 when Arsenal signed “Arsene who” as manager and he directed the signing Gislason, Lukic, Garde, Vieira, and Anelka.  No one apologised later when Vieira became probably the most stunning purchase ever, and Anelka the most profitable.

So criticism of players and the structure is nothing new.  Yes the top management of Arsenal have messed things up by giving into media pressure by moving on Mr Wenger and his team, when waiting one more year would have seen their contracts run out.  Also by selecting a manager and ditching him six months before the end of his contract cost the club another fortune.

If there is a lesson to be learned it is a) stop listening to the media, b) stop taking note of the placards people wave.  And be careful who you give top management jobs to.




7 Replies to “Is Arsenal a dysfunctional club as Mislintat suggests?”

  1. This is such shite l used to read interesting articles on this website but this article should be in the bin

    I am firmly one on of those who believes Wenger far outstayed his welcome and should’ve been sacked after winning the first of the trio of FA cups in 2014

    What Mislintats is saying is what THE MAJORITY of arsenal fans are coming to believe arsenal will not wheel and deal their way to glory

    So having Raul and Edu in charge is a waste of time and soon Kroenke will find out

    I allways believed keeping Raul and getting rid of Mislintat put paid to any reforms post Wenger that the Kroenke’s are hoping for

    The only way arsenal can compete in the current climate is by recruiting “gems” having a 1st class academy and a bright coach in the mould of Poch… Arteta? Perhaps he is still on honey moon

    Signing Pepe might excite but altimately will be a waste of time …the league does not lie … we are 10th because we are not as good as Sheffield united ….our fans think the quality in the club should put us about 4th-6th but in reality our collective quality is about 8-12th arteta won’t perform any miracles

    When was the last time arsenal played for 90mins and you were excited by the quality even against lower league sides?…

    Get ready to become the next West Ham or Newcastle

  2. With every utterance Sven Mislintat does nothing but prove how unsuitable he was for the role of Technical Director.

    Leave Arsenal aside for a minute – I defy anyone to find a single occasion where a Head of Recruitment or Technical Director at a rival Premier League or European team badmouths his own club the way Mislintat does.

    And yet it’s very easy to find Mislintat dripping poison about BOTH Dortmund and Arsenal. Whatever problems both clubs have, maybe the issue is Mislintat is the kind of guy who finds it easier to leak stories to the press than get on with the actual hard, meticulous work of making systemic changes at the clubs that employ him.

    Arsene Wenger didn’t become an Arsenal legend by merely giving interviews to the press about how terrible everything was at the club. He did the actual hard work of changing the culture and earning the respect of directors, players and fans alike.

    Mislintat by comparison is a coward who, as you pointed out, was able to sign the players he wanted, yet still complained that he wasn’t allowed to do things entirely hos own way. Even if he was correct in his criticisms of the club, he clearly did not have the character and temperament to do the kind of steady transformative work that Arsene Wenger did.

    No wonder every single big club in Europe passed at the chance to sign him when he left us.

  3. All I hear is how wonderful Spurs are at everything and how crap we are at everything, which begs the question, why have they won just one League cup in about 15 years and no title for north of 50, whilst we’ve won…..

    Oh what those little spuddies would give to of been half as disfunctional as us these past 20 odd years.

  4. I take that statement from above :

    The criticism is that the management is obsessed with “big names”

    Big name ? Aubameyang OK. Can you name another big name ?

    Tha statement just says it all : this is another BS article, by frustrated writers and an ex PL actor who right now tries to get a german club back up into the Bundesliga but is not yet succeeding at his task. Probably just preparing his exit by creating so-called expert credentials. And as for his ‘career’at Arsena, did he really succeed so much ? Did he find that many gems ? To me it sure looks like he got us players he already knew.

    Then, it shows as well how disconnected the guy is from Arsenal’s actual situation. I mean, if I am wrong feel free to say so, but right now Arsenal have a full team of young guns they can field. Not just your 2 or 3 placeholders. Can a player be young gun and a big name at the same time ?!?

    And, I just despise these people who, like they say in France, spit in the soup. Just pure hipocrisy. Whether it comes from this german or from ex-players even if they have statues in front of the stadium. No class, no nonesty, just greed and hubris.

  5. I am a Dortmund fan and I remember him bad mouthing the set up there when he left.

    What goes around….

  6. To me that article says more about the Independent and the media in general than it does about Minlistat, although there’s no doubt the guys a complete idiot.

    The Independent, like so much of the media are so desperate to abuse Arsenal they’ll speak to anyone who will do just that, and as we know there is no shortage of willing contributors.

    As I, and others have said so often, the standards to what we are held seem to be completely different to others.

    Now I know Liverpool have just won the title, and deservedly so, but the way people keep on about how wonderfully they are ran, an example to all, blah blah blah, may be accurate with regards to the last couple of seasons, but it is totally misrepresentative of how they have been run over the last 30 years.

    But you would never believe by the way they are and have been consistently pandered to over that period.

    can anyone remember them EVER getting the kind of endless abuse we get, and got even over the period when we won the 3 recent FA Cups. Lets do a little comparison.

    I’ll take 2 X 5 year periods, which almost overlap, and compare what happened.


    Year/PL/Nett Spend/Trophies

    11/12 8th £35M LC
    12/13 7th £41M
    13/14 2nd £20M
    14/15 6th £38M
    15/16 8th £28M

    1 Top 4 Finish
    1 League Cup
    £162M Nett Spend
    £32M Per season


    12/13 4th £7M
    13/14 4th £32M FAC
    14/15 3rd £65M FAC
    15/16 2nd £13M
    16/17 5th £86M FAC

    5 Top 4 Finishes
    3 FA Cups
    £205 Nett Spend
    £41M Per Season

    So 2 x 5 year periods and I don’t think there is any argument that Arsenals is much much more successful than Liverpool’s, yet I don’t recall Liverpool getting anything like the critisism we got, or are getting, not from the media or their own fans.

    Our last 5 seasons are not even as bad as that 5 year run of Liverpools.

    Our last 5 years are 3rd, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 5th and includes 2 FA Cup victories and a CS. Again significantly better than that run of Liverpool’s, but look at the abuse we are getting, not only the media our own fans.

    And more telling, were Liverpool of getting critisism back then from their own fans anything like that which we see at the top of these comments.

    I doubt it. They love their club, through good times and bad times. Ours often have trouble loving us during good times.

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