Liverpool have been left rocked by the quickfire double departure of Michael Edwards and successor Julian Ward from the club hierarchy in what has been a tricky start to the season.
On the pitch, Jurgen Klopp’s side have flattered to deceive, currently 15 points off the pace of Premier League leaders Arsenal and sitting in sixth place, while they face Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 after topping their group.
It’s been almost as chaotic off the pitch too, with the club now up for sale and Edwards, credited for much of their lauded squad building, leaving in the summer. having been replaced by Julian Ward.
In shock news, however, Ward too has decided to call time on his stint with the Reds this summer, as he announced earlier in November, which leaves Liverpool with a Sporting Director-shaped hole at Anfield.
And, as per Sky Germany, Sven Mislintat could be the man to fill it, with the 50-year-old German on the verge of ending his stint with Stuttgart and already boasting a strong relationship with Klopp from their time spent together in previous roles.
But just who is Mislintat, and would he succeed at Liverpool?
Rising through the ranks
Mislintat began his career at Borussia Dortmund, where he took over the role of chief scout in 2006 having previously been a club analyst.
With the club in financial disarray, his job was to unearth gems that could be sold on for profit while also keeping the club competitive. Sound familiar?
It worked, too. Mislintat was responsible for bringing Robert Lewandowski to the club from Lech Poznan, Shinji Kagawa arrived from Cerezo Osaka in Japan, while Mats Hummels, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembele, Neven Subotić were all also brought to the club on his recommendation.
His talent-spotting ability earned him the nickname “diamond eye”, and working with Jurgen Klopp he helped Borussia Dortmund reach a Champions League final and become the German superpower that they are today.
Talent spotter, former club shopper
After falling out with then-Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel, Mislintat left the German club to join Arsenal in November 2017, where he was to spearhead a revolution in player acquisition.
He joined in a destabilising period for the Gunners, however, with Arsene Wenger leaving 8 months after his departure and Unai Emery taking charge.
And while he was credited with spotting the likes of Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira and even scouting William Saliba, he was criticised for his reliance on his former club, with Sokratis, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all former Dortmund stars that he had a hand in persuading to make the switch to the Emirates Stadium.
14 months later, he was gone as part of a club reshuffle, leaving a hefty butcher’s bull. In total, his eight additions were sold for a total loss of £103m in transfer fees, while three years later only William Saliba remains at the club.
Rebuilding in the Bundesliga
Mislintat’s talents had not been forgotten, however, and he was snapped up by then 2.Bundesliga outfit Stuttgart two months after leaving north London, taking Arsenal defender Dinos Mavropanos with him at the first available moment.
He helped them return to the German top flight, and identified the likes of Sasa Kaladzjic (now at Wolves) and the exciting Silas Wamangituka, but the club avoided relegation via a playoff last season and sit 16th in the German top flight this time around. Hardly what was expected when such a high-profile addition joined the club.
Would he fit in at Liverpool?
Mislintat has proven to have worked well with Jurgen Klopp in the past, and undeniably has an eye for talent. With Liverpool at a squad-building cross-roads, however, his talent of spotting lesser-known talent and developing it to be sold for big money may not be what the Reds need right now when they are in the mix for the likes of Jude Bellingham, Enzo Fernandes or Moises Caicedo.
He would present something of a risk, but then so did Michael Edwards.