Arsenal’s head of recruitment Sven Mislintat holds Ousmane Dembele in a high regard, amid the uncertainty surrounding his Barcelona future
The 21-year-old forward has struggled to make an impact at Camp Nou following his €105m transfer from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.
And now Dembele’s troubles at Barcelona have been brought into the spotlight amid reports of an uneasy relationship with manager Ernesto Valverde.
Due to this, Dembele has been linked with a January move to Arsenal with Barcelona legend Rivaldo suggesting that the Frenchman is trying to force an exit.
Now Mislintat, who helped recruit Dembele to Dortmund while he worked at the German club, has done little to deny these reports.
“I saw him, he had not even played for Stade Rennes in the first team,” Mislintat told Zeit.
“I bet he did not know which foot he used in certain situations because he just did not think about it.
“I felt this is a really special player.”
Mislintat, who joined Arsenal last year and helped wager a move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January, holds no hard feelings towards Dembele for his behaviour in the summer of 2017.
Upon learning of Barcelona’s interest in him, Dembele refused to attend training sessions at Dortmund in an attempt to force a move to Catalonia.
“Ousmane did not come to training – right,” added Mislintat.
“But this ability to develop strategies to exploit every gap was worth gold on the field.
“Ousmane decided to play games for us and was significantly responsible for the 2017 cup victory.
“Many of these top players who make the difference come from different environments, where they became hungry for promotion and success. They have a special intrinsic motivation.”