Former Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat has previously labelled its scouting “bloated” and the club “dysfunctional” and structure “an absolute mess”
Mislintat left Arsenal in February 2019. A key reason why he left is due to a row with Raul Sanllehi over Arsenal’s scouting department.
According to the Independent, Mislintat felt that Arsenal’s scouting department was too bloated and attempted to trim it down but was blocked from doing so by Sanllehi.
A lot of fuss has been made of Arsenal making 55 employees redundant. There are explanations behind every single redundancy.
The scouting department has been under review ever since Mislintat shared his view with Sanllehi. Just last summer, Arsenal trimmed the scouting department.
Following the appointment of Edu as technical director, Arsenal have continued to monitor the situation and decided to make further scouts redundant, including Head of International Recruitment Francis Cagigao.
In recent years, there has been a move away from “traditional scouting”.
Under Arsene Wenger, the scouting department was huge, with scouts in every corner of the globe.
It set Arsenal apart from other Premier League clubs. But that was over 20-years ago.
These days scouting is much more data driven.
Clubs pay big money (or in Arsenal’s case own) for data on footballers.
The stuff we see on Opts or Understat, clubs have access to much more.
In modern recruitment, clubs tend to be recommended players by local independent scouts who are not on the payroll. These scouts make commission if the player they recommended is signed.
Clubs then run the player through their data programmes, and analyse video footage of them.
Based on the opinion of their analysis, clubs then decide whether to send a scout out to watch said player or to not bother.
Back before the era of data and technology, clubs would be unable to rule out players without seeing them.
The technology allows for clubs to work in a more structured manner, focusing on players who have the data to back up the recommendation. No longer do clubs have to spend money on sending a scout out to the middle of nowhere based on a recommendation.
A mixture between the new technology and data meant that Arsenal’s huge scouting network had become bloated and hard to control.
It seems Edu agrees with Mislintat’s viewpoint and this has led to Arsenal to further trim down the scouting department.
Moving forward, Arsenal will act on recommendations of independent scouts and be paying a commission rather than a salary. In turn this saves the club money and allows the club to operate with a smaller, more manageable scouting department.
Arsenal making 55 people redundant has made a lot of people angry. But the scouting department has been bloated and dysfunctional for some time.
It was likely Arsenal would have culled the scouting department even if Covid19 did not happen.