He’s the scout who helped raise gamers akin to Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Gabriel Martinelli to Arsenal – and also tried to land Lionel Messi.
Nonetheless after 24 years of carrier, the club’s passe head of recruitment Francis Cagigao left by mutual settlement in August.
As he weighs up his alternatives before deciding his next pass, London-born Cagigao, 51, spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live’s European football expert Guillem Balague about his time at Arsenal, the art of figuring out potential, and upright how shut the club came to signing Argentina and Barcelona icon Messi.
Fabregas, Martinelli and a ‘smell for the game’
Affirmation of Cagigao’s departure from Arsenal precipitated a touching tribute from passe Gunners captain Fabregas, regarded as one of the most several talented early life he delivered to the club.
Fabregas, who beforehand tweeted ‘Francis Cagigao strikes over and over. Legend’ after two of his discoveries – Hector Bellerin and Martinelli – struck against Chelsea in January, talked about: “Nothing would devour been the the same for me whenever you did now not place me at 15 years passe. Your next crew will likely be very lucky to devour your football brain.”
On signing a younger Fabregas – who grew to become the club’s youngest player former 16 years and 177 days in October 2003 – from Barcelona, Cagigao talked about: “I cannot devour in thoughts any other case on the time of this form of younger player joining us from this form of terrific club.
“He used to be taking half in within the acceptable under-16s facet I’ve seen till on the unique time. He had to attain support to London by himself. I knew it used to be going to be tricky however the maturity he confirmed used to be extraordinary.
“Arsene former to call it that smell for the game – that smell for something particular. For sure, you have to quantify it and measure it. You might maybe roar that in a short time of someone admire Fabregas, for his intelligence, his awareness, for his football brain.
“It wasn’t something you might maybe veritably explore in a 15, 16-yr-passe – and in someone admire Martinelli for fully diversified causes. You dwell sense there is something diversified within the manufacture-up of those gamers. You might maybe explore something particular, once in a when probabilities are you’ll perhaps maybe no longer completely quantify it however something is there and also you purchase a wager.”
Chasing Messi – ‘discussions came about’
It might maybe well perhaps maybe devour been the signing of the century for Arsenal – however upright how shut did Arsenal without a doubt attain to touchdown Messi?
Messi wasn’t the acceptable Barcelona account that will devour arrived in north London round that time either, with defender Gerard Pique even closer to signing a take care of the Gunners – before as an quite so a lot of heading to Manchester United.
“I believe Arsene said whereas manager that we were shut to signing Messi [in 2003]. I’d no longer trudge as a ways as announcing we were shut. We were there or thereabouts and discussions came about with his representatives. He had elements with a work allow, so that used to be discarded,” talked about Cagigao.
“It be public recordsdata that Pique came inches away from signing a contract with us and signed for Manchester United six months later. Essentially the most attention-grabbing thing I’m able to train is there used to be some contractual incompatibility between the club and Gerard’s representatives on the time and it did now not trudge forward thanks to those.”
‘Cazorla is even handed one of potentially the most talented I’ve seen’
In August 2012, Arsenal signed Spain playmaker Santi Cazorla from Malaga.
The attacking midfielder used to be current with Arsenal followers however an Achilles injury sustained in October 2016 threatened his profession and cut his time on the club quick.
“I believe he is even handed one of potentially the most talented footballers I’ve ever seen,” Cagigao talked about on Cazorla.
“You might maybe explore Cazorla in coaching taking place-pieces with his left foot and upright foot and no longer know which used to be his stronger. He’s without a doubt an extraordinary figurehead and someone who younger gamers can without a doubt idea to.
“There devour been doubts about Santi. Of us would roar he’s so small, he’s no longer the quickest, he’s no longer sturdy, however he has an extraordinary football brain, extraordinary plot and he’s a winner. “
‘You’re going to no longer devour sufficient money to be bitter’ – what next for a scout in quiz?
Cagigao used to be “approached by quite so a lot of golf equipment” all the contrivance through his time at Arsenal – a length that represented the excellent majority of his working lifestyles.
Now unattached, he is anticipating his next inform following his abrupt departure from the Gunners.
“I did now not without a doubt feel it used to be upright on the time to pass to any of those golf equipment,” Cagigao talked about.
“Now I’m a free agent I’m able to idea at those affords with a diversified viewpoint. I’m regarded as one of those of us who finds it great to interchange off so I need to buy a step support, possess after which I’ll be ready for the next project.
“You’re going to no longer devour sufficient money to be bitter in lifestyles. You’re going to want to devour a thick skin and accumulate over things quick. I’m comfortable with my personal achievements and I without a doubt feel very privileged to devour worked for Arsenal – a club which gave me so grand and the place I was in a place to growth. “
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