Francis Cagigao has told the Mirror about his time as a scout at Arsenal, with the Spaniard responsible for some of the Gunners’ finest signings during the past two decades.
Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Emiliano Martinez and, most recently, Gabriel Martinelli were all identified by Cagigao, but he was relieved of his duties last month when Arsenal decided to restructure their scouting network.
The Gunners have signed a number of players based on Cagigao’s recommendation and most of them proved excellent deals. However, there have been times when he has looked at a player but been unable to get the deal over the line.
Arsenal wanted Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Fabregas all together but could only get one. Barcelona refused to sell the former, while Manchester United beat the Gunners to the defender’s signature.
Another player Arsenal could have signed is Andy Robertson from Hull City. The Scotsman is now a Premier League and Champions League winner with Liverpool – but he could easily have been a Gunner.
Arsenal passed on chance to sign Robertson in 2017
Cagigao has revealed the Gunners watched Robertson a lot, even before his final season at Hull, but decided to pass on the opportunity of signing him because of interest in another left-back.
He said: “We looked at the player for a long time, the whole of the previous season, but we’d had our heart set on Kieran Tierney for a long, long time.
“Obviously the longer you wait, the more the price goes up. But that is why it makes sense to invest in development players and that’s why it has proved so successful for some of the players we have signed over the years.”
That is strange considering Arsenal signed Tierney two years after Robertson joined Liverpool. The Gunners even paid over three times more for the former Celtic star than the Reds paid for their left-back in summer 2017.
Tierney is still a fantastic addition to Arsenal’s squad. However, one can only wonder how good he would be now if the Gunners had signed him right after they snubbed Robertson three years ago.