Arsene Wenger was a little frosty when he was first asked about the arrival of Sven Mislintat in December, however, he admits that Arsenal’s new head of recruitment made it easier to negotiate a deal with Borussia Dortmund for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabon international signed for the Gunners in a club-record deal on Wednesday and could, should he be fully recovered from a virus, make his debut against Everton on Saturday evening.
Aubameyang arrives at the Emirates alongside Henrikh Mkhitaryan, another player who made great waves at the Westfalenstadion.
While Wenger says it’s a bit of a coincidence that the Gunners ended up with two former Dortmund players, he hinted that Mislintat played an important role.
“I’ve known him [Aubameyang] since he played in France for Saint-Etienne,” Wenger told Arsenal.com.
“He was always a player who impressed me. We had an opportunity that I wanted to take, because we have Sven Mislintat here who knows him well, and he had good connections with him. That made it easier to get an approach to Dortmund.
“By coincidence, it worked out that we got two ex-Dortmund players, him and Mkhitaryan, coming from two different clubs. We did well.
“Let’s not forget that we lost many players, and we lost goals with Walcott, Giroud and Alexis. We needed somebody of offensive power to come in and help us to score goals.”
While Aubameyang’s attacking quality is not in doubt there have been questions about the player’s temperament. Following his Dortmund departure, the striker apologised to his former club for ill-discipline in recent weeks. Such behaviour is not something that Wenger envisages coming tot he fore at Arsenal.
“I am quite confident that this will be a new challenge for him,” Wenger said. “I know him from France – he played for St Etienne and Bastia – and usually his behaviour was never a problem. He is a professional guy.
“We had interest in him when he was already in Dortmund. I followed him at St Etienne when he played more on the flanks – especially on the left and on the right. He can play down the flanks and through the middle, that was what was interesting as well.”