In the latest edition of the kicker-meets-DAZN VfB Stuttgart’s sports director Mislintat speaks podcasts about the engagement of shooting star Silas Wamangituka and the missed transfers of Kylian Mbappe and Niklas Süle during his time at Borussia Dortmund (BVB chief scout from 2009 to the end of 2016, editor).
Sven Mislintat is considered a pioneer when it comes to tracking down talent and has been making his skills available as sports director at VfB Stuttgart since April 2019.
In the podcast kicker meets DAZN He talks, among other things, about how he became aware of shooting star Silas Wamangituka and how he once renounced a transfer from Niklas Süle at BVB.
… the VfB Stuttgart model: In the first discussions in March 2019, we and Thomas Hitzlsperger considered what VfB Stuttgart should look like and what sets the club apart. Junge Wilde and the magic triangle were able to give the club an identity again, because that was also the successful VfB from history. Young and wild suits us.
… the identity of clubs: This of course includes playing football and not just, to put it badly, “parking the bus”. Catenaccio used to be successful, but is no longer successful today. Working against the ball is just as important for us. We didn’t sign an offensive player for the Bundesliga, but instead brought in defenders Konstantinos Mavropanos, Pascal Stenzel, Waldemar Anton and defensive midfielders Wataru Endo, Naouirou Ahamada and keeper Georg Kobel. We understand how important it is to have defensive stability. On the one hand, this is the basis for ball possession football and, on the other hand, for our switching game. I think we’re one of the better teams in the league when it comes to switching play. We have a lot of speed.
Sven Mislintat on …
… the financial burden of relegation: Creativity is always in demand when certain resources are not available. The reality after relegation was: that initially costs 40 million euros. We then sold our entire defensive network: Timo Baumgartl, Ozan Kabak and Benjamin Pavard. But we couldn’t spend the money as we wanted. We used that primarily to avoid going into debt. That shows the problem of a relegation.
… the transfer policy: Data is extremely important in scouting. I was looking for someone early on who could create models and algorithms so that the data would provide me with even more qualitative statements. At BVB they weren’t interested in it at the time and so it happened that I founded my own company with my partner. In addition to classic game scouting, qualitative video analysis and personal conversations, data-based scouting has become a very important point. It would be reckless not to use that today. This helps a lot for smaller clubs with limited resources. However, this type of scouting is not the egg-laying woolly milk pig. It helps me generate names or review players I spotted on sightings. I discovered Sasa Kalajdzic through data analysis. We were looking for a second division striker with a profile similar to Sebastien Haller. Kalajdzic’s name was the result of data analysis. Ultimately, however, it is always a 360-degree analysis.
… the transfer of Silas Wamangituka: The eight million euros that we paid for Silas is roughly the same as the 80 million euros that FC Bayern Munich spent on Lucas Hernandez. Interestingly, Silas was a classic scouting case that did not attract attention based on its data. I follow the French second division regularly, for example I brought Matteo Guendouzi from Lorient to Arsenal. She is very strong physically and very interesting. Many of the absolute top players from France start in the second division. I don’t know why no one else had Silas on the slip. He scored eleven goals. This value doesn’t knock you off your feet. There are players who score 24, 25 or 26 goals in a season. In Silas’ case, Paris FC scored a total of just under 30 goals in the league. That means that he has almost scored every third goal. Silas was an absolute one-man show because the team was defensive. In addition, he is a full grenade in human terms. Accordingly, it was easy to handle so much money. Schalke were also interested, but luckily they chose us. When bigger clubs are in the running, we have to beat financially stronger offers with our athletic path and perspective.
… an offer from Jürgen Klopp: When Marcin Kaminski got injured in our house, Klopp came up to me and said I should take a look at Nathaniel Phillips because he was looking for a loan shop for him. Even if I blindly trust Klopp with such an offer, I am of course responsible. That’s why I first had to look at him myself and convincingly assure him that he had a real chance of playing with us. In the end, it turned out to be exactly the kind of player we were looking for.