Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wenger's secret steps for succesful signings

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger is undoubtedly one of the best talent spotters in football.

During his tenure as manager in London, the Frenchman has signed relative unknowns such Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, and Robert Pires, assembling the first unbeaten team in the top tier of English football since Preston North End in 1889.

Since then the Arsenal coach has continued to buy fabulous talents at low prices. Robin van Persie cost Arsenal around £3. Gael Clichy was signed for £250,000. Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal's linchpin in midfield, came the Gunners for free from Barcelona at the tender age of 16.

Arsenal also has some bright talents on the verge of breaking into the first team squad. Mathieu Flamini, who has recently been chosen ahead of Gilberto Silva as Arsenal's defensive midfielder came for free, as did Nicklas Bendtner. In fact, of Arsenal's young stars, only Theo Walcott was expensive, costing Arsene Wenger £5 million which could raise to a a possible £12 million, still a deal for one of the greatest young talents in English football.

Along with all of the big names, youth and reserve squad players such as Fran Merida, Henri Lansbury, and Kieran Gibbs are all expected to do great things at Arsenal, and Lukasz Fabianski is looked at as one of the brightest goalkeeping talents in history.

So how does Wenger do it?

Does he just have a keen eye for talent? His history most assuredly proves this to be true.

But there must be something more. That something is the Arsenal scouting program.

In recent days Alex Ferguson has admitted that he had never even heard of Cesc Fabregas before the midfield maestro joined the Gunners. By the time he was aware of the talent, Fabregas had already signed for Arsenal, because of Arsenal's scouts.

Around the same time that Ferguson admitted this, Arsenal revealed that they were interested in signing Lionel Messi before he became a star at Barcelona.

Steve Rowley, Arsenal's chief scout, is a relatively unknown name even amongst the Arsenal faithful, but he could be one of the key figures in Arsenal's recent success, so the next time that you see Cesc Fabregas dribble by a defender, the next time you see Robin van Persie hit the back of the net, thank Arsene Wenger, but don't forget to give some love to the men working behind the scenes.