May 8, 2021

Revealed: Cagigao’s shock Arsenal axe a result of Edu recruitment review

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The major changes within the Gunners’ recruitment network are separate from the proposed 55 redundancies that were announced on Wednesday

The vast number of scouts that have been let go by Arsenal over the past 48 hours are not part of the proposed 55 redundancies that the club announced on Wednesday.

The departures – including that of head of recruitment Francis Cagigao – are separate to the planned cuts as the scouts are contractors and are in fact the result of a review that has been carried out by technical director Edu, who plans to now implement his own blueprint for the recruitment department at the north London club.

As well as Cagigao, who had been at Arsenal for more than two decades, senior scouts Brian McDermott and Peter Clark were also told on Wednesday that they no longer had jobs.

And since then several further figures within the scouting network have also been released – including Ty Gooden, who had been overseeing France for the past few years and played a key role in the work done to secure William Saliba from Saint-Etienne last summer.

Sources at Arsenal insist the overhaul is not down to saving money, but that Edu and the hierarchy want to ensure the club’s recruitment department runs in the most effective way possible going forward.

Earlier in the year, Edu also decided change was needed within the recruitment department at Arsenal’s Hale End academy. The decision came after a stringent review carried out alongside academy manager Per Mertesacker.

Steve Morrow, who had been head of youth scouting, was the most high-profile casualty – but a number of other figures within the academy followed him out of the door, including Kevin Beadell, Dan Rice, David Lee, Jay Leffe and Joe Sutton.

Lee Herron, who had been head of football operations at the academy following his arrival from Reading in 2018, took up a newly-created role of head of talent ID and was tasked with leading the new talent ID department and building a team to replace the figures that had been moved on.

That rebuild saw Steve Brown join from MK Dons to be lead talent ID co-ordinator, with Ayo Durojaiye (U9s-U11s), Phil Antwi (U12s-U14s) and Conan Watson (U15s-U16s) making up the new recruitment team.

It was a major overhaul, just as the one currently being overseen in the senior recruitment department – but it is currently unclear how Edu plans to replace those who have been let go in recent days.

Sources have told Goal there is a sense of shock and bemusement at the club that such respected figures like Cagigao – credited with discovering talents like Cesc Fabregas, Hector Bellerin and Gabriel Martinelli – have been let go.

Cagigao has been at Arsenal for 24 years and has long been hailed as one of the most important figures within the club’s recruitment network, with his extensive contacts book the envy of many and his talent for unearthing some of the best young players respected across football.

But following Arsene Wenger’s departure in 2018, Arsenal – under head of football Raul Sanllehi and Edu – have increasingly moved towards an agent-led strategy when it comes to transfers.

That has seen players like David Luiz and Cedric Soares arrive during the past two windows, while 31-year-old Willian is expected to soon put pen to paper on a three-year deal and complete a free transfer from Chelsea.