Arsenal hire Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintat in backroom shake-up
Arsenal have hired Borussia Dortmund's highly respected chief scout Sven Mislintat as the club's new head of recruitment, the biggest overhaul yet of Arsene Wenger's backroom staff in the wake of last season's disappointing league campaign.
Mislintat has become one of the most sought-after talent spotters in Europe after helping Dortmund sign the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Shinji Kagawa, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raphael Guerreiro and Ousmane Dembele in recent years.
He had been pursued by Bayern Munich earlier this year but last week, sources told ESPN FC that Arsenal were in talks with Mislintat and he is set to start his new job in December after Arsenal confirmed his appointment.
"We are delighted that Sven is joining us," Wenger told the club website. "Identifying and developing talent is a core part of our philosophy and Sven has an outstanding track record over many years. We look forward to him taking our existing recruitment approach forwards.
"We would like to thank Steve Rowley for all his hard work over many years for the club. He has been a key figure in our recruitment of so many top players and has travelled thousands and thousands of miles, watching hundreds of games for us during his time at the club. We wish him well for the future."
Rowley, who has been Arsenal's chief scout since Arsene Wenger took over in 1996, "has stood down from his role but will continue to maintain his relationship and support us with ad hoc scouting on a consultancy basis" after 35 years at the club.
The hiring of Mislintat is the clearest proof yet that Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis is serious about making big changes behind the scenes, as he promised after Wenger was handed a new two-year contract this summer.
Plans to appoint a director of football appear to be on hold after Wenger publicly balked at the idea, while chief transfer negotiator Dick Law had yet to be replaced after stepping down in September.
As the head of Arsenal's recruitment department, Mislintat's role could well encompass some of the duties handled by both Rowley and Law previously.
Mislintat has enjoyed a close relationship with Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc, but had a highly publicised falling out with former manager Tomas Tuchel last year after a January move for Atletico Madrid midfielder Oliver Torres collapsed.
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.