In 2018, Arsenal made quite a name for themselves in signing either then-current or ex-Borussia Dortmund players.
This saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan join from Manchester United, as well as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang directly from Dortmund.
In the midst of all this, Arsenal had to make announcement videos, with Mkhitaryan’s leaving Arsenal fans anticipating Aubameyang’s arrival later in the same window.
Four things to know about Arsenal’s Borussia Dortmund connection…
- Arsenal’s big link to Dortmund last year came in the form of their chief scout, Sven Mislintat, who left Dortmund to join the Gunners.
- Mislintat was key in bringing Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang and Sokratis to the club last year.
- This month, however, Mislintat left his role as chief scout at Arsenal.
- Arsenal’s link with Dortmund goes back over a decade with club legends Jens Lehmann and Tomas Rosicky joining from the Black and Yellow.
In Mkhitaryan’s announcement video, Arsenal inadvertently dropped a hint that his former Dortmund teammate was also on his way to the Emirates as the Armenia international could be seen mouthing the line: “Yo Pierre, you want to come out here?”
The video was taken down from Arsenal’s official Youtube channel, but Twitter had already been sent into a frenzy as the 2018 January transfer window wound to a close.
Speaking to Arsenal fans on Reddit on Wednesday, Mkhitaryan was asked whether this was planned.
He replied: “When I did the video, it still wasn’t 100% that he was coming to Arsenal.
“But in case he did come, we just wanted to make the video earlier.
“I agreed and was happy for that because when I heard that he was going to come I was like ‘Hey, yo Pierre! You wanna come out here?”
Mkhitaryan is currently making his way back to full fitness after picking up an injury in Arsenal’s 2-0 Carabao Cup loss to Tottenham in December.
The 30-year-old took part in Arsenal U23s’ fixture against West Ham U23s. Arsenal led 3-0 at half time through promising youngsters Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Konstantinos Mavropanos but the match was abandoned due to weather conditions.
What a finish this was from Dinos tonight! 😉
Was it a bicycle kick? An overhead? Or maybe even a scorpion? 🤔
Your guess is as good as ours 🤣 pic.twitter.com/upfDiegBSw
— Arsenal Academy (@ArsenalAcademy) February 4, 2019
What now for Arsenal post-Mislintat?
The deals for Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang and Sokratis saw players who were either in their late 20s or early 30s join the club.
Although this brings experience, expertise and quality to the team, would Arsenal be better off finding younger players to integrate into the first-team?
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These players won’t be at Arsenal for the long term and looking at their ages, it’ll be increasingly hard to recoup their costs in the future.
In the summer, Mislintat showed ambition in bringing Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira to the club but with the German now out the door, what is the plan for Arsenal?
The squad is unbalanced in terms of age with many players either approaching or into their 30s, while others are just reaching their early 20s. There is no in-between. And the fact Arsenal reportedly only have a budget of £40m-£50m this summer suggests finding that balance could prove difficult.