Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Report: Arsenal hire headhunters to recruit new scouts

According to the Guardian, Arsenal have hired a headhunting company to recruit several scouts nine months after gutting the department.

Nolan Partners have been tasked with finding two scouts to cover Germany and personnel to cover the UK, France and Spain.

In August last year, the Gunners raised eyebrows when Francis Cagigao, the club’s highly-experienced head of international recruitment, was released. The 51-year-old’s exit was the most high-profile of a spate of departures that also included Brian McDermott, Peter Clark, Ty Gooden, Leonardo Scirpoli, Julio de Marco and Alex Stafford. Between them, they covered the UK, France, Belgium, Germany and Spain.

In February 2020, Steve Morrow, who was head of youth scouting, Dave Lee, Kevin Beddell, Dan Price and Joe Sutton were also released.

Reflecting on the changes he helped push through, technical director Edu said in September: “The decision we made, to change a little bit our infrastructure, it is clear for me. I want to work with less people. I want to work with StatDNA a lot more, which we have internally here at the club and is very important.

“The people I want to work with, I want them to be very close to me. I want to create a group of people working together.

“I don’t want individual people working in one area or for one country. I want a group working together. Less people with much more responsibility. That is my vision and for me in this process the most important thing is that everyone is very clear on the responsibilities which everyone has to make the right decision.”

Given we’re now hiring country-specific roles, it does appear we’ve changed tact somewhat. For their part, the club have briefed the Guardian that the opportunities constitute “the latest phase of their revamp, the first stage having involved an installation of data-led processes and the latest complementing that with feet on the ground.”

Arsenal are expected to be very busy this summer. Manager Mikel Arteta insists he has the backing of the club’s owners and is promising to be ruthless when it comes to reshaping his squad.

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Proper Fawlty Towers, you can’t make this stuff up!!


Nothing highlights the total incompetency of your technical director quite like having to pay an external consultancy to hire a load of scouts, after you’ve just fired the whole scouting department about 6 months ago…

Well its not as if the transfer window is open in like a month or something..

*squints at calendar*


Johnny 4 Hats

Whats the point in hiring scouts when we can’t see talent right under our noses? We saw Bissouma play an absolute blinder against us in the 19/20 season. But we are not a club with the financial or clout or the pull to go up against Man City or Liverpool who are now apparently interested. It pains me to say it but someone like Bissouma may already now be too in demand for us to capture his signature. We cannot operate by waiting for players to have outstanding seasons and then snapping them up. We need to see their potential… Read more »

Frank Bascombe

Yet, we did find the Martinelli’s and Tierney’s – didn’t we?


That brings up the question of who found them for us and whether or not they still with the club.


Haha, I quite literally had that same thought… “can’t make this stuff up!”


“In other news, Arsenal have hired Gunnersaurus to host a reality TV show that will find the clubs next mascot.”



Lord Bendnter

I was thinking more like The Thick of It


The Office?

Mayor McCheese

“I don’t want individual people working in one area or for one country.”

“Nolan Partners have been tasked with finding two scouts to cover Germany…”

This is also a gem: “I want to create a group of people working together.” Genius!

Limpars chip

I hope they’re not over thinking it,….. Arsenal where minions over think things, and owners just don’t.


Being in the corporate line for about 16 years now, what I would do is setup an enquiry to see if Edu & the hiring management company have any dubious links. To be honest the money saved earlier is probably two/three times the money lost here in paying the new team. So of course I will have my doubts.


At least they’re trying to put this error right but still, embarrassing.

El Mintero

How do we know it’s an error? Reasonable that maybe they did not think the scouting set up was good enough, fired them and now finally in a position to bring in a New team…happens all the time in clubs, business etc etc…as we all know 2004 long time to wait for another league title…sigh…

The Far Post

Not sure about that… did Edu really need to wait nine months before starting the recruiting process? Why?


The reason it’s more likely to be an error than not is that if you legitimately notice a department is underperforming then a) it’s incredibly unlikely that this is actually due to so many individuals that you actually go ahead and fire just about everyone b) and if at the same time you see a business need that should be fulfilled by this department then you don’t go ahead and fire everyone without having replacements lined up to take over and therefore ensure the existing business need that you see is completely unfulfilled for a few months!! ffs this guy… Read more »


This is like when a company outsources something essential, watches as it becomes an unavoidable mess up and then spends years and masses of resources then bringing it back in house so they can pretend it never happened


Right. It is the classic built it or buy it inflexion point. Has anyone suggested to KSE that Arsenal could simply arrange for scouting to be done on a contract basis by the “world-class” set up at some other club? Don’t!

Chipper 49

So, we are now paying people to recruit people to replace the people we sacked? I am beginning to despair…

Spanish Gooner

How would you rather we filled these positions? We’d all be furious if Edu filled them with his contacts (or decided to ignore scouting altogether and just use agents) so we have used industry-specific consultants to ensure an unbiased and professional recruitment process is followed. The same process is followed in higher positions at almost all FTSE 100 companies and it’s actually commendable that the club have had the humility to use external experts to fill these crucial pecisions.

Hermann Bando

I don’t think the original poster was disparing at the thought of what Arsenal are actually doing now – I think he was just stunned by the previous ineptitude. Which, I agree with him, is staggering.

Eddie Ritchie


Spanish Gooner

Sorry but what was so good about our scouting team beforehand? We all complain about the club spending serious money on Mustafi, Xhaka, Elneny etc and yet everybody seems to be angry that those responsable for reccomending these failures are being replaced!


None of these signings were immediate disasters, they were actually pretty good for a while. They clearly deteriorated with Arsenal at a point where they should be developing. I really don’t feel this is a problem of scouting, but of coaching.


They were also statdna signings.

our last non stat dna signing? Gabi.

Spanish Gooner

Gabi was signed by the South American scouting department and Edu, all of whom kept their jobs

Group Captain Mandrake

Maybe the issue was that they sacked the entire scouting department to use StatDNA instead, and now they are backtracking and hiring new scouts. If they had bad scouting, replace them, or at least replace the bad ones. Don’t get rid of all of them and then wait a year until right before the next transfer window to hire new ones.


But did they really use StatDNA? Kia’s little black book, and Raul’s contacts seem to have featured heavily in some of our recent transfer dealings more than StatDNA.

Did Pepe, Wilian, Luiz or Soares have much to do with Stat DNA? I think not.

how much has this process and these players cost us and what could could we have done with the millions lost?

Answers on a postcard please.

Edu’s scheme has been a failure overall and he should have stuck with the scouting system he had, and perhaps refreshed some of its components rather than disband it completely.

John C

What could we have done with the millions lost on Lucas Peres or Ozil’s last contract?


What you fail to mention is that the scouting team had identified both Kante and Xhaka. Unfortunately Wenger opted for Kante. Mustaphi was highly rated when he arrived. Elnelny was a young hot prospect who was bought as a squad player. The fact Arsenal are known for almost signing a number of current and former superstars before they were household names should tell you how decent our scouting department was. CR7, Varane, Buffon, Kompany, Bale, Yaya, Sancho, Messi, and many more would’ve been Arsenal players because the scouting department identified them.


Precisely. I was wondering what young talents Cagigao had unearthed in recent years that made an impact on the first team.


I’m furious that Edu got rid of the scouts in the first place.


Think you are missing the point. The issue is that he’s having re-hire scouts in the first place! KSE let him (and Raul) dismantle an entire scouting network headed by one of the most respected scouts in the game in favour of an agent led recruiting process that has proven to be a failure, cost us millions that could have been invested elsewhere in youth and talent, and led to the departure of Raul after the family lawyer investigated just one of the many deals brokered by Raul, Edu and his pal Kia because Raul’s didgets were more than likely… Read more »

Hank Scorpio

Hilariously, this is perfectly normal corporate behaviour I have seen play out time and again.


It’s even worse than that – we are now paying people to recruit people to replace the people who recruit people!


Exactly, we hired scouts to find us scouts. That shows you vast network of contacts our technical director has. KSE will spend big this summer apparently. I’m scared already.


crunching numbers using statdna surely misses a few gem players…working less with people, I find that an odd thing to want to do, kind of less and less enthralled by Edu


It also does not cover attitude, charater or leadership qualities. These have been faulty or lacking in many of the players we bought.

Spanish Gooner

And if the scouting team was reccomending players based solely on stats without taking any of the factors you correctly identified into account then it was not fit-for-purpose and should therefore be replaced by modern scouts who know how to properly use stats

Cygans Parting

Why don’t we try using StatDNA to recruit our new group of scouts that Edu doesn’t want to work with?……I’ll get my coat.


I want a group working together. Less people with much more responsibility.”
[Edu turns to mirror]
“It’s just you and me now, you handsome, genius devil Eduardo César Daud Gaspar”



Amateur hour

SB Still

In recruitment yes as this news proves as well as in coaching as this season proves!

Manu petits left peg



Yeah, whatever, but are they headhunting the Gunnersaurus replacement too?


You’ve got to reckon any costs saved by firing all the scouts will be wiped out (and then some) by the headhunter fees alone. This is a hugely embarrassing and expensive fuck up from Edu.

The fact he seemingly knows no potential scouts in the game himself is also quite embarrassing. We’re in a huge hole and we’re being run by amateurish children.


I’m with you re Edu. Disaster hire.

A minor quibble, however: surely your math is wrong on the recruiters. They cost 30% of the total first year comp of whomever you hire from their sourcing.


I could well be wrong on that but the point remains that even a 30% fee across multiple roles is a large and unnecessary cost at a time when we’re hard up and facing a huge loss of revenue!

Vaibhav Pandey

Are investments supposed to pay off immediately? scouting would take longer to pay off, so horizon of this investment is longer.

Spanish Gooner

I’m seeing a lot of criticism for this move but I don’t really understand what the issue is. Our Talent ID and recruitment has been very poor in the last decade, especially when it comes to spotting players ready to make the leap to world class, which has lead us to have various players who have underwhelmed relative to their prices (Pepe, Xhaka, Mustafi etc). The club recognised this, pruned the recruitment team, and have now hired industry experts to fill the necessary positions. There are many issues within the club right now, but this isn’t one of them.


Uh, maybe the problem is having hired Sven Mislintat who had a sterling record, only to demote him and then force him out 15 months later. Hiring from Dortmund was a brilliant move, but of course we had to shoot ourselves in the head shortly thereafter.

Meanwhile, newly promoted Stuttgart is 10th, with Mislintat.

Spanish Gooner

Mislintat was a great head scout, but he wanted to be a director of football and was, at the time, underqualified for the postition at a giant club like Arsenal. He moved to take up a higher position at a much smaller club, which is a perfectly reasonable career move from all sides. He’s now turned a yo-yo club into a lower-mid table club, which is a commendable achievement but nothing any more special than what the Brighton, Burnley or Crystal Palace chiefs have done in England. I like a moan about the club as much as the next man,… Read more »


Not be snarky, but are we sure this isn’t a parody post?

Defending the Mislintat nonsense by saying he was “underqualified for the position at a giant club like Arsenal.” Have you seen who is running said giant club, friend? Edu/Vina/Mikel is like the all-time pantheon of “underqualified.”

“[Mislintat] has now turned a yo-yo club into a lower-mid table club, which is a commendable achievement.” Wow, our leadership have turned a former Top 4 and Champions League regular into a “lower-mid table club.” Is that a commendable achievement?

haha, I’m just having some fun. We’re all on the same side.

Spanish Gooner

Sorry if I came across as snarky! That was never my intention. I agree completely that Edu, Vinai and Arteta are underqualified for their positions and if it was down to me I’d hire Luis Campos tomorrow to start a search for a new manager. None of this is meant to defend the performances of the people who have dragged this club to its current position. My support for this use of headhunters is precisely because in my opinion it represents (presumably) Edu realising he needs help to fix an area in which he has no experience, so although I… Read more »


my bad… and my typo! I meant to write, “Not to be snarky” meaning me, not you. All you say makes sense. Thanks for the convo.


We were moaning about Mislintat being lazy by tapping heavily on his Dortmund contacts, or did you forget that?


dont remember that at all, I’m afraid.


Got a short memory eh.


I can understand that to a point, but Edu explicitly said they were moving away from having these kinds of scouts and then a few months later we’re hiring people in the exact roles he said he didn’t want!

Spanish Gooner

Just to clarify what I mean by a decade of failure to correctly identifying players ready to make the leap: -Our main successes scouting have been from players signed as teenagers. Martinelli is one, and the South American department was unaffected by the cuts. Bellerin is another, although I’m not sure how difficult it is to just buy all the 16 year olds in La Masia. Guendouzi on balance was still a success, and Bielik made a decent proft so he is also arguably a success, with the jury still out on Mavropanos. Crucially, these signings will no longer be… Read more »


You do realise that Pepe was brought in mainly because of Sanllehi, who did not work directly with scouts, right? Sanllehi who was also, apparently, the main reason for Minslintat getting fired. So, again, the onus is not on the recruitment team.

Vaibhav Pandey

Raul was fucking corrupt and KSE/board was at fault for not overseeing his actions, his actions literally took club down a couple of years, fucking scum.


Completely agree with you. His appointment was one of the worst things to happen to this club


Edu out


Maybe we could ask him to ask his mate Kia to hand back the keys to the Emirates and Colney while we’re at it.


”Those responsible for sacking the people who sacked the people responsible for the first error, have now been sacked.”

Lord Bendnter

Yes, minister


Monty Python?


The great stat Dna the system the brought us the likes of xhaka mustafi and elneny all hail stat dna


We need new DNA…stat!

Spanish Gooner

Liverpool, Leipzig, Leicester, Lille, Atalanta and many of the clubs who have punched above their weight in recent years have done so thanks to a modern approach to scouting that integrates stats as a crucial part of the process. Using stats should be mandatory for any modern scout, and recruiting people who can correctly use a £3m tool could potentially give us a huge advantage in the transfer market. This obviously has to be coupled with on-the-ground scouting, but Sven Mislintat who people seem to love was a HUGE supporter of stats and loved Stat DNA


Klopp was hired by Liverpool based on a Statistical analysis, they concluded his final season at Dortmund was an outlier.


remind me how sven mislintats arsenal signings worked out?


This recruitment vacancies cannot be more reflective of clubs current boardroom and first team. Take one forwards after taking two steps backwards.

The optimistic voice in my head says, well at least they’re acknowledging they did something wrong and now trying to fix it… after they probably laid off their highest paid scouts in their older “legacy” recruitment team. *insert biggest eye roll emoji here*


Well, you have been saying that Arteta should not be afraid to admit he’s made a mistake, and make substitutions earlier … but honestly, IamaGoober is exactly right. In any well-run club, Edu would be out on his ear.


The board have no idea what they are doing. Nobody has a clue, or a spine. God help our club.


When their super league went belly up there was a lot of loud shuffling of papers and hushed calls in hallways about “what to do now”. I picture Vinai, wide eyed, whispering to Edu “so do we give Raul a call orrrr, what if we get some more scouts”. Edu, who now has 12 separate bags under his eyes, goes along with it because at least he doesn’t have to make a decision this time. This will please Josh greatly during their once annual phone call in Nov 2021. It’s just the “build from within” ideals Josh has been preaching… Read more »

Faisal Narrage

I’m trying not to jump to conclusions here and discern there is a clear plan or that there’s something I don’t understand.

But if the problem was more implementing a data-led process, couldn’t that just have been done WITHOUT firing scouts, then implementing the process with existing scouts, and then if there are those who don’t want to be part of the process, can leave?


I fondly remember the time when there was just one man taking care of it all. #OneArseneWenger


Edu, Arteta and Kroenke out!!


When it comes to recruiting: why don’t we start with the executives at the top? Fire Edu and Arteta immediately, get in some competent football men. Then we can start re-building in earnest. Vinai can go later.


Just when you think the hierarchy of this club couldn’t get any more pathetic than they already were…..

Baichung Bhutia

The combination of data based analysis and a scouting network is the best approach. Its good that we are recruiting scouts as well as relying on the data analysis – this way once we have the best of both, we can then decide NOT to buy any of the suggested players and get ex-Chelsea players.

Off the pitch has been whack-a-mole since Wenger left. You think one problem is resolved and then two more appear.

John C

That’s because the club diverged from modern managerial best practice about 12-15 years ago, it means we’ve basically had to start from scratch

Lord Bendnter

Previously they were trying to save their money. Now that there’s no European football and fans on their back, they are showing us that they are “spending, spending, spending”
This way we will remain quiet and return back to our shells once again. To be fair, it’ll probably work.
Be excited, be so very excited…


100%, they literally have to splash some cash around because the value of their asset is at greater risk than at any point previously during their tenure. This season will be full of leaked rumours of transfer kitties, big picture plans, interview with Mikel and Edu talking about how amazing the connection with the owners is, and we might get a big name signing – probably another of Kia’s mercenaries – and people will forget how these guys tried to bust the game to line their pockets. No subs, no tickets, no merchandise from me. Not even sure I’m that… Read more »


“The club believe Nolan Partners’ involvement will provide an objective stance on developing their new setup.”

that’s quite an interesting statement. the whole way sanllehi was given the boot was strange and there were rumours of corruption. if i remember correctly, shortly after they sacked chief scout francis cagigao and most of the scouting network. and now they are saying they need an objective stance on their new setup.

feels to me there is a big story there about what has been going on behind the scenes in the scouting/transfer department in recent years. 


Honestly, this a f’ing hilarious. This club is run as if controlled by your daft, senile uncle. From top to bottom, our “executive suite” is one unqualified person after another: Edu, Mikel, Vinai and Per. Three former players, none of whom have proven themselves in their new fields but were quite literally handed enormous roles in what is (in theory!!) one of the biggest clubs in the world. Plus Vinai, who is a 40 year old “right place, right time” guy when Ivan left. We could hire Rangnick, Zorc, Monchi… I don’t know, Overmars, Campos… give me another 15 minutes… Read more »

President Eckener

To be fair, the academy is the only place that we are getting quality recruits from regularly, these days. Just this last weekend people were clamoring to see more youngsters being played. I think Per is probably doing a good enough job in his role.

The rest I would not mind seeing go. Especially if we could somehow land Rangnick, who has an excellent track record.


Are you sure? Saka and ESR long predate Per. Incredibly, it’s Emery we can thank for Saka, giving him serious minutes as a 17 year old and persisting even when Saka was often physically overmatched and dispossessed too often.

Name a Per-produced quality player? There’s not a single one.

You might be *hoping* that Per comes good, but that’s just a hope. He went from first team football straight to his new role. That’s not meritocracy.

President Eckener

It would be pretty hard for Per to give Saka a first team start, so yes, Emery can take credit for playing him in the first team. Otherwise, if you think Per has not been in the job long enough to affect player’s development, then I have to say it is weird to give Emery credit for Academy development. Per predates Emery, in fact, so whatever you are trying to say is not easily understandable. Saka was not “produced” by Emery, for sure, and Per has been in the job since 2018, since which time many Academy players have shown… Read more »


Bring Cagigao back post haste!

Der Kaiser

I just wanted to put a halt to negativity. Recent observations:- We have discovered that Gabriel and Mari are good enough. Tierney, Smith-Rowe and Saka are a revelation. Personally, I think Pepe is coming good and Partey will. I really, don’t think we anywhere near as poor as many say. WE do need:- Right Back as it seems Bellerin is off Reserve left back World, world class central midfielder The difficult one – trade in one of our experienced strikers for another one Personally I would still like to keep Eddie. Joe and Ainsley as I think a home grown… Read more »


We don’t need a “reserve” left back. We need a left back who is good enough to compete with Tierney for that position.


So we made people jobless for no reason? Real class from a club that used to epitomise class! What have we become?



Eddie Ritchie

Monkeys pulling random levers.
Edu sounding like someone who’d smile at you whilst stomping on your toes.

Medium Mozart

Arsenal are expected to be very busy this summer.’

Oops, better hire some scouts first eh?

Plus this thing about the club seeking two scouts in Germany, one of whom will be focused on youth recruitment… erm, think someone better re-read those pesky post-Brexit transfer rules, no?


Eddie Ritchie

Edu Blackadder


Might be more Mikel Blackadder and Edu Baldrick…


Can we hire scouts to look for a new owner?


You’ve got to be a Tottenham fan, Kroenke, or Kroenke’s rent boy to downvote this comment, surely.


What do Edu do?


I hope we scouted the headhunting company carefully.


Seriously, just dissolve the fucking club and save us further embarrassment ffs


Surely someone must get sacked for this. Oh wait owners can’t sack themselves for preempting the ESL and banking on the riches to attract talent. More we know why they sacked everyone just to save pennies. Headhunting firm cost far outweighs the 6 months salary and severance if any. And still no responsibility taken by the owners. We can see why they hired novices in Edu and Mikel. This esl was planned ages ago. Raul assisted them to the top table with his contacts and richard garlicky was to give the inside information on the legal wrangling with the premier… Read more »


I wonder how many bullet holes are in the arsenal feet!


Wenger needs to be appointed to the Board.

He knows the club, and can help Arteta and Edu if the owners are going to persist with them.

There is a massive vacuum of experience, which he could help fill.

Ferguson is in Ole’s ear, which helps.


Seriously can we just stop with the Wenger nonsense. He didn’t win the PL for his last dozen years and never won a single European Trophy. If you think he’s the solution, then god help you.


He’s the best manager this club ever had, better even than Herbert Chapman.

You talk about the Premiership and Europe, ask yourself who was the last manager to win the Premiership for Arsenal Football Club and take this club to the Champions League Final – in fact who was the last manager to get us at least into the top fucking four….?

Show the man some respect FFS.

John C

What a load of nonsense, he left us out of Champions League and 37 points off the champions, which is 6 points further away than we currently are from Man City with only 4 games left, so actually Arteta is currently an improvement on that score! He left us up shit creek and in need of a total overhaul both on the pitch and off it, because he refused to delegate authority. Here’s his quotes; “Director of football? I don’t know what it means, is it someone who stands on the road and directs traffic. “I am not prepared to… Read more »


Is Arteta humble enough to acknowledge he needs help?


Another funny thing about this, is that when Arteta gets the elbow, they will need to hire consultants to do the managerial search.

Mikels Arteta

So it looks like edu is learning on the job, much like arteta
Just admit you made a mistake releasing a plethora of scouts in the first place. This guy’s a joke


At minimum…

Get rid of Edu.

Replace him with people with in trench experience bc we have to be perfect in market this summer.

Overmaars at Ajax or Campos at Lille.

But the owners will likely not do it and stick with wet behind the ears compounding issues with Arteta.

Venkatashem should be kicked sideways too.

Ridiculous we got rid of scouts and have to rebuild it again. Absolutely retarded.


Can we sign Fekir and Emre Can as well?

Monty Bergkamp

This club man. Its a mess from top to bottom, wasting time, money and potential at executive and playing level shows how poorly things are being done. We’re supposed to be a professional club but it seems like we can’t get anything done right. Should’ve kept Sveb Mislintat and Francis Cagigao if this is the direction We’re going in now but I don’t think anyone knows what they’re doing at exec level. It’s just an absolute mess. The Kroenkes have let it come to this so they should go – a fish rots from the head down and all that… Read more »


Only Arsenal. You really couldn’t make this shit up.

Old Highbury Corner

New Owners Now. This is nonsense.


The term “reinventing the wheel” comes to mind.
Karma says this new firm of head hunters ends up recommending some of those they let go!

Disarmed Gunner

Makes me miss the days Wenger had the entire young market on tap. Now we are shopping at Poundland via Uber Eats. State of us


After an extensive search, the headhunters have recommended hiring someone named Francis Cagigao. Anyone ever heard of this guy? Seems promising.

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