The departure of Sven Mislintat in February arrived as both a shock and a disappointment to Arsenal supporters. The man nicknamed ‘golden eye’ for his ability to spot the next generation of young talent was an immensely popular yet elusive figure in north London, and he had been regarded as a pivotal cog in the club’s long-term future.
Monchi was touted as a replacement for Mislintat, but his decision to return to Sevilla has forced the Gunners to go back to the proverbial drawing board.
However, according to a recent report from the Daily Mail, Arsenal have set their sights on a potential move for Ajax’s current technical director and former Gunner, Marc Overmars.
The report claims that Arsenal’s head of football, Raul Sanllehi, has begun interviewing targets as he searches for a new technical director and Overmars will be considered despite the fact he is likely to come at a high price.
A gap in Arsenal’s recruitment team is waiting to be filled and Overmars would be a genius appointment given his experience and connection with Ajax, but how exactly would it impact the club in the coming years?
Football FanCast look at the potential consequences of Arsenal agreeing a deal with Overmars…
Crucial alliance formed
With five years of service devoted to Ajax during his playing days and a further six-and-a-half years worth of service as Director of Football in Amsterdam, Overmars naturally has a strong relationship with the Dutch giants.
Losing him to north London would be a huge blow for the Champions League quarter-finalists, but it’s likely that he would leave with their blessing after years of good service.
That in turn would provide Arsenal with a crucial new alliance. Ajax are globally renowned for their ability to consistently produce golden generation after golden generation of talent, so the benefits of establishing a positive relationship with the club cannot be expressed highly enough.
Overmars’ arrival would not single-handedly guarantee a supply line of Ajax’s finest talent, but it would give Arsenal an advantage over their European rivals in the transfer market.
Arsenal teenagers struggle to break through
An increase in signings from Ajax, though, could ultimately create some problems for players residing within Arsenal’s youth ranks.
Unai Emery has demonstrated a willingness to trust in youth players this season, with the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock all handed opportunities in the first-team, but that trend could be scuppered by Overmars’ appointment.
The chance to graduate from the youth ranks into the senior squad would not become a concept of the past but a steady influx of youngsters from Holland could make opportunities much harder to come by.
Return to Champions League
Ajax’s success in the Champions League this season has been symptomatic of a wider theme of development at the club in recent years, which Overmars has firmly been a part of.
After finishing outside the top-four for two seasons and with the prospect of a third season without Champions League football a likely possibility, it’s clear that the man who replaces Mislintat will have a mammoth task to undertake.
But, despite the size of the task at hand, the 45-year-old’s credentials and understanding of Arsenal’s values and expectations make him well placed to help Emery’s men return to Europe’s elite.