How Arsenal Recruit Young Players


| July 29th 2016 | Mustafi >

How Arsenal Recruit Young Players

Having been the manager of Arsenal since 1996, Arsene Wenger has developed a refined set of recruiting skills and tactics that have allowed the team to secure impressive new talents without facing much competition in the process.

Other teams and members of the media have taken note of Arsenal’s recruiting tactics and many teams are now modeling their scouting efforts after the same techniques Wenger has been using for nearly 20 years. So what’s his secret and how’s he able to pick great players like Nicolas Anelka and Patrick Viera from seemingly out of nowhere?

Going Beyond the Borders of England to Find Talent
Arsene Wenger is widely regarded as a pioneer in foreign scouting, being one of the first football managers in England to actively look into other countries for athletes that might enhance the depth of the team’s roster. Even during his first few years as Arsenal’s manager he signed players from countries like Japan, Lithuania, and Liberia, and to this day he continues to attend youth tournaments as far away as the soccerloco Surf Cup in Oceanside, California. Originally there was some resistance to this approach with some fans wanting the team to avoid reliance on foreign players, but after seeing the results, most people have become convinced that Wenger’s approach is the best way to build a well-rounded team.

Utilising a Far-Reaching Network of Scouts

Wenger is one of the fortunate managers who had the privilege of working with Steve Rowley – a legendary chief scout who is widely considered one of the best of all time. Arsenal have built a network of scouts that operate throughout the UK, as well as a team of foreign scouting specialists including Tony Banfield, Francis Cagigao, Sandro Orlandelli, Gilles Grimandi, Peter Clarke, Danny Karbassiyoon, and Jurgen Kost scouting talent in the countries of Italy, France, Holland, Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal, Germany, areas of central Europe, North America, Central America, and South America.

Limited Budget Leading to Meticulous Research
Historically, Arsenal have not had the same financial leverage as other teams like Chelsea and Manchester United, leaving Wenger to rely on exhaustive research and talent scouting to find players that are good enough to play excellent football, yet not widely known in the global arena. Wenger is also known to enlist former players as his scouts because he believes that many of them know exactly what to look for without much training.

Finding Gems in the Rough
Overall, Wenger’s secret to recruiting these great players from obscurity relies on his willingness to go where other scouts are not looking or have already overlooked. For a while he was signing athletes from West Africa, but more recently Arsenal signed a slew of German athletes, including Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski, and Serge Gnabry. One of Wenger’s recruiters, Danny Karbassiyoon, recently signed Gedion Zelalem out of North America and already the young player is drawing attention in London. It’s underestimated finds like these that bring good athletes from small time to the Champions League practically overnight, and it’s this “find a diamond in the rough” mentality that makes Arsenal’s recruiting tactics so powerful.


29th July 2016 : 13:25pm

Author: Ian H.
Twitter: @arsenalshorts
Instagram: @shortsarsenal
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