Arsenal ignored advice from own recruitment chief to sign Shkodran Mustafi

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Shkodran Mustafi of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Everton FC at Emirates Stadium on February 23, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)
Mustafi was signed against the scouting team’s wishes (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal pressed ahead with the signing of Shkodran Mustafi, despite being told not to by one of the most vital cogs in their recruitment process.

Francis Cagigao, who is credited with the signings of Cesc Fabregas, Hector Bellerin Robin van Persie and Gabriel Martinelli, is the head of international scouting at the Emirates and has been involved in the transfer decision making process at Arsenal for more than two decades.

But there have been times where his highly respected voice was ignored.

Most notably, in the signing of Mustafi, according to The Athletic.

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Arsene Wenger was open to data-driven recruitment, which meant Mustafi was signed based on compelling statistics.

But Cagigao’s department were not willing to recommend the Germany international based on what they saw.

His time at Arsenal has been littered with mistakes and he is a much-maligned figure among the club’s fanbase.

Another striking example of where the club got it wrong was in the signing of Lucas Perez.

SINGAPORE - JULY 26: Lucas Perez of Arsenal during the International Champions Cup 2018 match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Arsenal at the National Stadium on July 26, 2018 in Singapore. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Perez’s transfer didn’t work out (Picture: Getty)

An agent asked Cagigao if Arsenal would be interested in signing the then Deportivo La Coruna attacker, to which he reportedly responded: ‘Not a chance. He’s a mid-table player.’

However, with Arsenal chiefs desperate for a last-minute striking addition, Perez was signed against Cagigao’s wishes.

Cagigao was heavily involved, however, in the signing of William Saliba, who is currently on loan at Saint-Etienne. He is tipped to challenge Mustafi for a first-team spot next season.

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