Liverpool to fill sporting director role with controversial former Arsenal man who idolises Klopp

Sven Mislintat enters the stadium - North Rhine-Westphalia, Bochum: Football: 2nd Bundesliga, VfL Bochum - VfB Stuttgart

Liverpool are reportedly edging closer to filling their soon-to-be vacant sporting director role with a much-maligned former Arsenal man.

The lucrative position for the Merseysiders was filled for 10 hugely-successful years by Michael Edwards until his exit last summer. During his time on Merseyside, he was responsible for the £132m sale of Philippe Coutinho and the captures of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker, among others.

And Edwards’ role in Liverpool’s 2019 Champions League win and in winning the Premier League title the following year, was very much appreciated by Klopp.

With Edwards stepping down, the position was handed to the man working as his deputy, Julian Ward. The transition certainly looked seamless too, with Ward quickly getting to work and helping to mastermind the £85m signing of Darwin Nunez.

However, Nunez has perhaps not worked out as well as expected, with the Uruguayan striker coming in for some fierce criticism. Despite the fee paid, Reds teammate Van Dijk can certainly see the benefits of playing alongside the former Benfica man.

Ward’s time in the role, however, will only be brief. News emerged last week that he has resigned from the role, though will remain in charge until the season is out.

Jamie Carragher reacted quickly to that news, revealing fears the departure could derail Liverpool from signing their No 1 target in 2023.

However, it seems the position will not be vacant for long. Indeed, reports from trusted Sky Deutschland reporter Florian Plettenberg claims the Reds have acted quickly to fill the position with Sven Mislintat holding talks with Reds officials.

The German, 50, is reportedly ‘open’ to taking on the position from his current role with Stuttgart.

Sven Mislintat a good friend of Jurgen Klopp

Indeed, a move to Anfield would see Mislintat link up with close friend, Klopp. The two men worked in tandem at Borussia Dortmund for a number of years, with Klopp openly revealing his affection for his ex-colleague. That feeling is recipricated too, with Mislintat revealing in a 2021 interview why he still idolises the Reds manager.

However, Mislintat is perhaps best remembered for his 14-month spell at Arsenal. Working as their chief scout between 2017 to 2019, he was responsible for a number of controversial deals.

He made a total of eight signings in that time, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the most eye catching. In addition, Dinos Mavropanos, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Bernd Leno, Sokratis, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Stephan Lichtsteiner were all bought under his watch.

Few of those signings, though, were viewed as a success. And the Gunners made losses on each and every one of those deals.

German defends Arsenal signings

Speaking in a 2021 interview with The Athletic, Mislintat is adamant Arsenal’s failures were not down to him.

“To be quite clear: I don’t feel ashamed of any of those transfers. On the contrary, I will always defend these guys. Not because they were my players but because they were Arsenal players and capable ones,” he said.

“They turned up. The team went unbeaten in 22 games in all competitions. We also made it to the Europa League final and finished fifth with 70 points. You can say that’s not good enough. But many teams would love to finish fifth now.

“I felt that we were on the right track. And I would have enjoyed the opportunity to develop further at Arsenal. Anyway, I don’t look back. I learned massively and loved my days at the club, in the Premier League and in London.”

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