A good recruitment team is worth its way in gold.
Anyone ever involved in HR or recruitment will know that if you get a solid internal recruitment team, you do not waste money on expensive recruitment agency fees or poor hires who leave after 3 months.
Football is no different to business.
If you get a good recruitment team, with good scouts, you can save yourself millions.
At a club like Manchester City, with their billions, or Real Madrid with their millions and “pull”, you do not need a top recruitment team. You can keep chucking money at a problem until you get it right.
Just look at Manchester City and their signing of centre backs over the years since, how much they have thrown at trying to get a partner for Vincent Kompany:
Kolo Toure £16,000,000
Joleon Lescott £22,000,000
Jerome Boateng £11,000,000
Stefan Savic £6,000,000
Matija Nastasic £12,000,000
Martín Demichelis £3,500,000
Eliaquim Mangala £40,000,000
Nicolás Otamendi £32,000,000
John Stones £47,500,000
Aymeric Laporte £57,000,000
Nearly £250million spent on centre backs since signing Kompany and the best two were Jerome Boateng (who they did not give the chance too) and Martin Demichelis (who was the cheapest).
Over at Tottenham we can see the affect of good and bad recruitment.
In 2013 they sold Gareth Bale for £85,000,000. That same summer they spent over £100million on Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Robert Soldado, Etienne Capoue, Vlad Chiriches, Christian Ericksen and Erik Lamela. Only Ericksen turned out to be a good signing.
More recently, however, they have recruited well.
Ben Davies, Dele Alli, Son Heung-min, Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama all came in for a combined cost of under £50million.
That is not to say there recruitment has been brilliant. Daniel Levy is often lauded for his fantastic business as the transfer window comes to a close, but the truth is he has recruited poorly towards the end of a transfer window.
As prices continue to spiral and we see high prices for average players, it is more important than ever to have a top notch recruitment team who can scour the globe and find that superstar.
Some of the prices we have seen this summer have been incredible. Rumours of Wilfried Zaha for £70million. We are seeing Championship standard players moving for £20million+.
All this does it further highlight how important Sven Mislintat and his team are for Arsenal now, and moving forward.
We are never going to be able to sign a Kylian Mbappe for £166m, Philippe Coutinho for £110m or Cristiano Ronaldo for £80m.
But what we can do with the right recruitment is find the next 17-year old kid who could turn into Mbappe, or recruit a 21-year old Coutinho struggling in Italy, or a £12m youngster from Portugal who becomes the next Cristiano Ronaldo.
Arsenal recently spent around £50m on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. 5 years ago Sven Mislintat took him to Borussia Dortmund for just £13million.
In 2013, a lot of people knew of Aubameyang. Everyone knew his story, his struggles to break through at AC Milan, his sparkling form at Saint-Étienne in Ligue 1. But only Mislintat pushed to make the move and Dortmund ended up developing one of the best strikers in the world.
Good recruitment is not new to Arsenal.
Dennis Bergkamp was struggling in Italy. Marc Overmars had 2 injury hit seasons in Holland. Emmanuel Petit was a journeyman centre back in France.
A teenage Patrick Vieira was languishing in AC Milan’s reserves. Thierry Henry struggling to make an impact at Juventus. The early years of the Arsene Wenger era was defined by brilliant recruitment enabling us to compete with the much richer Manchester United in the league.
The late years of his time at the club, however, was defined by poor recruitment. A policy that had perhaps lost its way.
You probably have to go back to the 2012/13 season for the last year Arsenal had a real good summer when it came to recruitment.
Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal were not big names, but they became big players. It was also the year we took a risk on Olivier Giroud.
Since that year we have had a mixture of big money signings (Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Alexandre Lacaette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang) and relative unknowns who have not really performed (Gabriel Paulista, Calum Chambers, Mohamed Elneny, Lucas Pérez, Shkodran Mustafi).
The difference is between now and those late 90’s days is the relative unknowns are often costing a lot of money, and every top side has now invested heavily in scouting systems and statistical analysts teams, meaning it is even harder to find a talented youngster that no one knows about, or a senior pro who is perhaps underperforming or being under used.
In Sven Mislintat, Arsenal have one of the best in the world.
This summer we have spent a little under £70million.
When you consider that we signed Lucas Torreira for £22million, you realise how important a good recruitment team is.
Chelsea have signed Jorginho (£57.4m), Liverpool Naby Keita (£48m) and Fabinho (£39m), and Manchester United Fred (£47m). Based on his World Cup showing, Torreira is in the class of these players, but cost half as much.
The likes of James Maddison has gone to Leicester City for more than Torreira, and this week Tottenham have been linked with Lewis Cook for £30million.
Cook is a good young player, but Torreira is clearly superior – and only 1-year older. Torreira could turn out to be one of the signings of the season.
Arsenal also secured Mattéo Guendouzi for just £7million.
Guendouzi is the sort of player that Diamond Eye Sven was bought in to discover.
Playing for Lorient in Ligue 2, he only turned 19-years old in April and he looks a delightful talent. When you consider that “known” prospects are going for £20million+, if you can find an unknown prospect, you are quids in.
Leicester snapped up Riyad Mahrez from Ligue 2 and N’Golo Kante from Ligue 1. The unknowns are out there if you wish to take the time to find them.
We then have Bernd Leno.
Now he is certainly not an “unknown” but for Arsenal to have got a goal keeper of his quality for £19million is an absolute steal.
Arsenal have made some brilliant signings for less than £70million. For that we could have signed Richarlson and Lewis Cook. Two mid-table players at best. Or we could have spanked all of that on Zaha. An average player who flatters to deceive.
Sven Mislintat could be the most important appointment at Arsenal since Arsene Wenger.