Arsene Wenger’s departure from the Emirates dugout at the end of the season is not the only high-profile shift around the Arsenal hierarchy in the last couple of months.
A new manager will come in and face levels of scrutiny not seen since David Moyes’ arrival at Manchester United in 2013, and which may not be seen ever again. Before all that, though, the Gunners have also appointed two men who will be part of the revolution the end of the season will bring.
Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat were brought into the Arsenal set-up at the start of the season and oversaw a club record signing in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as well as the renewal of Mesut Ozil’s contract. It appeared not only as if the Gunners were serious about kicking on, but that they were also building a certain type of team.
To then go and bring in Henrikh Mkhitaryan made it seem as though Mislintat, the former Borussia Dortmund scout, was signing players he knew were good from his time in Germany. It wasn’t illogical, then, to think that the Gunners might be eyeing up another man known for his work at the Westfalenstadion – Thomas Tuchel, the coach who brought it all together.
There was a clear problem with that line of thought, though. Tuchel might, on paper, seem like the obvious choice for Mislintat if he were indeed planning to get the band back together again, but the pair fell out before the end of the manager’s reign in Dortmund.
Does that mean that Tuchel won’t join the Gunners this summer?
If he doesn’t join, it might be the reason, though we’ll probably never know. On the other hand, the fact the two fell out may well be a complete red herring.
For one thing, grown-ups fall out all the time before making up and having a proper working relationship in the months and years after.
More to the point, however, Tuchel is a manager. That makes his role all about the club he’s in charge of: he looks after the players and the tactics, and while he has to think about the opposition, his main focus is his own team. Mislintat is a scout. In fact, as a scout for Arsenal, there is only one team in the world it’s not in his remit to watch: Arsenal.
It’s not quite as simple as that, of course. The two men fell out despite their similar arrangement at Dortmund, after all. But just because Mislintat and Tuchel had a tiff during their time in Germany shouldn’t rule the well thought-of manager out of a role at Arsenal by itself.
The Gunners may decide to appoint someone else, but Tuchel is one of the brightest young managers in Europe who seems to fit so perfectly with what Mislintat wants to do at the Emirates. It would be silly to rule him out because of a past fight – but that doesn’t mean Arsenal won’t do it.