Arsenal’s former head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has defended the transfers he signed off at the Premier League club, and has questioned Mikel Arteta over his handling of one of them – Matteo Guendouzi.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Athletic, the ex-Gunners chief – now sporting director at VfB Stuttgart – spoke about the young Frenchman, who was sent out on loan to Hertha Berlin after falling out of Arteta’s good books.
And Mislintat said he’d ‘love’ to discuss that decision with the Arsenal manager, as he backed Guendouzi and said he can become a ‘monster midfielder’.
He also questioned the call to send Lucas Torreira out on loan to Atletico Madrid, too, insisting both would make a big impact in Arsenal’s current team.
“I respect Mikel a lot,” said Mislintat.
“I’d love to talk to him one day, to understand his reasons for sending Matteo as well as Lucas Torreira on loan, and tell him my view in relation to their qualities.
“But it’s his decision of course.
“My personal opinion remains that Matteo would still add some extra qualities to Arsenal’s midfield, like Lucas could. Their market values increased hugely after their debut season.”
Arteta appeared to have finally lost patience with Guendouzi following an incident against Brighton shortly after the Premier League restart in June.
He grabbed Neal Maupay by the throat following the Seagull’s late winner, but reports at the time suggested it was the tip of the iceberg.
The midfielder will return to north London when his Hertha Berlin loan ends this summer, but his future at Arsenal is unclear.
He will be entering the final 12 months in his contract when he returns, with the Gunners reportedly setting a £25million price tag on the 21-year-old.
Guendouzi has impressed at times throughout his loan spell in Germany, but was recently criticised for playing ‘adolescent football’ by Hertha coach Pal Dardai.
But Mislintat hit back at those claims, saying: “I disagree with Pal.
“If you’re not playing Matteo in midfield, it must be a very strong midfield.
“Matteo has the personality needed to demand every ball in tight situations and has great vision to play vertical and every other angle. That’s his real strength.
“As a teenager from Ligue 2, he played 48 games for Arsenal in his first season. I assure you, you are not able to ‘survive’ that amount of Premier League caps playing adolescent football.”