Arsenal’s Scouting Network

Having stunned the football world once again by beating Wigan, the Arsenal youngsters have been the talk of the town but how did Arsenal get them?. Some have signed from abroad and others groomed from the academy. Chief Scout Steve Rowley told Arsenal Annual Members Magazine the process of identifying and bringing in such talents.

What’s the process for finding players? Do you tell them where to be or do they follow their own leads?

Well these scouts are all responsible for their own countries, they have built up a big network of contacts over the years. They have met players, coaches, other scouts, so they all get tip offs, they then go and watch, and then report to me via our database.

If the report sounds interesting then I will tell them to watch a couple more times, then I will send another scout to look at the player, to get a fresh perspective. If they come back positive too, I will go. But there is no set number of times we watch a player.

For Fabregas for example, you watch him once or twice and that’s enough. Other players though may play in a poor league, so you need to watch them more when they come up against a good team. So there is no set rule, basically I trust my scouts and if they say “Steve, stop messing about” then I’m there.

After I’ve watched the player I will compile a dossier for the manager, and also a video which contains the player’s good and bad points. The manager is so, so good at assessing a player that he can say straight away whether he likes what he sees or not. Then he will get onto his own contacts around the world to find out more about the player’s background, so it’s not just down to playing ability. When he’s made the decision, we move quickly to seal the deal.

Arsene Wenger has a reputation of signing lesser known names, so do you tell your scouts to focus more on those type of players?

Well we know about the bigger names too of course, we knew about Messi when we knew about Cesc obviously because they were in the same team, but we couldn’t do anything about it because he is Argentine. Generally though, yes the prices are more competitive when they are relatively unknown. I think the gaffer likes the fact that they are not going to cost millions and millions, but I also think that what’s important to him is that it gives him more scope to develop the player through his own coaching methods. At the same time if we bring a 16-year-old in through our scouts, I fully expect him to be able to train with the first team and not look out of place. They have to be of a very, very high standard.

What was it that made Cesc Fabregas stand out for example, when you first saw him play?

It’s a combination of things. The boss loves intelligent players, physically they also have to be of a certain level. Midfielders have to have great stamina and with Cesc, even at 15, you could see he would run all day. He had the basic requirements, added to great intelligence and great technique, just as every player we bring in has. We also look for that winning attitude. People like Cesc, Denilson – all of them in fact – they have the right mentality. There are also players we scout who are undoubtedly very talented, but you know that for whatever reason, they will not be a success in England. Can they adapt to this league? It’s a big question..

Read more to find out about the scouts at Arsenal.Boro Primorac- First team coach: The former Yugoslavia captain is considered to be Arsene’s ‘real’ right hand man as the having been part of Wenger’s backroom staff in Japan at Grampus Eight and Nagoya. He is a highly rated tactician and has watched players from Southern Europe in particular, including Miralem Pjanic, Eduardo, Luka Modric and Erdin Dzeko to name a few.

Steve Rowley- Chief Scout: The leader of a scouting operation that includes seven English scouts and 16 more abroad, Rowley will always travel to watch a player before he is recommended to Wenger. First alerted to Abou Diaby when watching a France U19 match on T.V in Northern Ireland.An interesting finding was Denilson who after being alerted to Wenger, the manager asked for him to be monitored closely. Denilson was due to play a local men’s team in Sao Paolo with the Brazil Under-19 team but the game was fenced by barriers. Rowley got a peak and got to saw 45 composed minutes. Turned down a big money move to new superpower Zenit St Petersburg recently.

Francis Cagigao- Spanish scout: Cagigao was a youth player at Arsenal and Barcelona during the 1980’s and identified such current Arsenal players as Fabregas, Merida and Miquel but also Barcelona’s Messi who was unable to join to work permit issues.

He is selective with his phone calls so when Rowley received a call on a mobile from pitch-side at an Under-15 game, he knew it was important.

“You have to see this kid,” said Cagigao. “He is special.” Rowley did and was suitably impressed. Fabregas joined after a settlement was reached due to the Catalan club not being able to give a professional contract before 18.

Other scouts:

  • Sandro Orlandelli, Pablo Budner and Everton Gushiken: South America (Denilson)
  • Gilles Grimandi: France and Switzerland (Sagna, Flamini, Song)
  • Bobby Bennett: Scandinavia (Bendtner, Nortdviet)
  • Thomas Kost: Germany
  • Tony Banfield: Italy, Slovenia and Croatia
  • Peter Clarke: Holland (and Ireland)
  • Danny Karbassiyoon: USA and Mexico

Notable Mentions:

Steve Morrow: The international partnerships performance supervisor

Manages Arsenal’s international partnerships, which currently includes the Colorado Rapids of the MLS, BEC Tero of Thailand and Hoang Anh Gia Lai of Vietnam. Morrow also assists Arsenal’s academies in countries such as Egypt and Ghana.

Liam Brady: The head of youth development

The Arsenal and Ireland legend oversees the development of the young players once they arrive at Arsenal, ensuring they can play Wenger’s unique brand of football.

Promising home-grown talents: Jack Wilshere, Henri Lansbury, Mark Randall, Conor Henderson, Benik Afobe, Gavin Hoyte, Jay Simpson, Sanchez Watt, Kieran Gibbs, Rhys Murphy, Luke Ayling
Signed from other clubs: Luke Freeman, Kyle Bartley


25 thoughts on “Arsenal’s Scouting Network

  1. Yeah I had the information from a source from a season ticket holder or similar but I didn’t want to type it out so I went to see if anyone had it on Google search. A couple of people had it and I know it is not exclusive news and I’m trying to sell it as it is. If there is a problem please inform me but I don’t think it should be.

  2. I am a Football Manager and i will like to work with Arsenal because they are the best team that encourage youth players and they desever an award every year for that performance

      We are into the business of providing football clubs with quality football players. We have good quality, matured and young Players ranging from Goalkeepers, Defenders, Midfielders and Attackers, who have played for Local and National Teams in Nigeria.

      As you and I knows that African Continent is blessed with good and quality players most especially Nigeria as a Country has produced so many great and talented players whom has played the game for a very long time and still playing.

      Our players are Free Agent and they are all ready and willing to Travel for any Trials anytime that they are called upon to do so and most of my players are Utility Players, they can be able to Play in any position that they are asked to Play.

      We will like to work and partner with you and we will also like you to arrange a Trials for our Players so that they will come over to your Country and show you the stuff that they are made of. We will also send you their C.V’s regarding the number of Players that you are looking for.

      We will appreciate it immensely if my request is considered by you.

      Take a very good care of yourself.

      Manager John


  3. Good day, we run a football Academy in Nigeria(Earlystart Football Academy).We want a scout here in Nigeria to check out our Academy and get Affiliated if possible.We have young talents from the ages of 3-17years in the Academy.Hope to hear from you soon.

    For: Multisports Services & Entertainment Limited

  4. what if I wnt to be scouted coz I have a gr8 tallent ( am not being selfish ) and I can bring smile to the house of arsenal because that was my dream ever since I remember , can you please help me

  5. I am a good foot baller and I wish to join arsenal to play good foot ball email me if you are willing to help a world class foot baller at 19 I await your email thanks.


  7. i am a young fitted player from nigeria playing the role of LWF and AMF,i am 15 years,i have played in various part of nigeria like osun state,lagos,kogi,kaduna,katsina, minna,i wil like to play among the best and go for best with litle more trainin

  8. hey… im just trying to get some information on how to go about starting
    my career as a professional football player. Me and my very close friend are very talented football players but we face a very serious location probl
    em. we are from the small Caribbean country name Guyana and no scouts
    come here. So we need as much help and guidance as we can to get the attention of professional scouts .Time is not on our side either( both of us are 20 years old ) … plz help

  9. Pls I have always wanted to play for arsenal I want to lift up a trophy at arsenal and I am an arsenal fan . I have always eyed arsenal players like carzorla,walcott,wilshere and podolski and I want to be like them pls help me out .we really need your scout in nigeria and pls if you are in nigeria pls email me or call my number 08141664790

  10. hello dear friend
    am ethiopian 22 years talented player who live in israel.i have great hope to play for arsenal.i need arsenal to scout me.i will be a great player for me in or call me +972542414711 waiting you soon.

  11. Hey I’ve read your blog and i’m just wondering why there are no scouts in Africa as there is raw talent here waiting to be developed and to be exposed into the Arsenal FC such as Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, etc.

    Please come check it out

  12. I’m a Nigerian and I want to join arsenal F C please how can I be helped out by the scouts.

  13. Hello
    to whom it may concern
    please can I have the opportunity to talk or meet with one of the football staff? concerning a promising young rising star who I believe will be the next missy. His 13 years old and his is in my team in Africa which I will be happy if anyone can take the time and chance for us to meet thank you.

  14. Do you have scouts in son plays goalkeeper our local under 12 side and has this year been picked to play for the county,he is a very talented young man.

  15. Am a die-hard fan ! Writing to recommend one Erick Johann a 20 year old Kenyan midfielder currently on form and just won the title of the best midfielder of the year in the 2015 Kenya premium legeaue .has been benefial in the harambee stars nation team playing along side victory wanyama in the campaign in world cup qulifaction .playing for matharee united club Kenya.

  16. I am taofeek from nigerian.I am good at tackling,.marking,and defencive.I wan to play at all cost 4 my club me 08058773321,07058773321.

  17. please i’m Daniel Effah 16yrs old a Ghanaian i also play the DCM position please help me in the name of GOD i want to join the arsenal academy it has always been my dream to play for the Arsenal senior team please help me this is my gmail account danieleffah91@gmail.comand also my whatsapp contact 0570014254 thank you

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