Arsenal’s famed global scout Francis Cagigao – the man who discovered Cesc Fabregas – is set to be one of the high-profile casualties of the club’s redundancy cull.
Just days after their euphoric FA Cup victory over Chelsea, the Gunners confirmed the hugely disappointing news that 55 members of staff will lose their jobs as part of a restructuring following the Coronavirus pandemic.
Sportsmail understands that among those who have been informed that they will be affected is Cagigao, who has played key role in club’s worldwide recruitment for over a decade.
Arsenal have made redundant their head of international recruitment Cagigao – who discovered Fabregas, Martinelli and Bellerin – as part of cost-cutting measures
Cagigao has been with Arsenal for two decades and helped discover a number of key players
He famously scouted before recommending Arsenal sign Fabregas from the Barcelona academy.
The influential scout was also behind the club’s move for Gabriel Martinelli last summer – and helped Arsenal sign Hector Bellerin.
Arsenal, it is understood, have also told head of UK scouting Peter Clark and fellow recruitment specialist Brian McDermott that they will lose their positions – though redundancies are still in a consultation period.
The Gunners have moved more towards agent-led recruitment strategies in recent seasons, a likely reason behind the restructuring of their senior scouting set up.
Raúl Sanllehi, the club’s head of football and Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal managing director confirmed: ‘Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have been working hard to ensure that Arsenal Football Club emerges in a robust and strong position for the future.
Cagigao was the one who discovered Cesc Fabregas, who spent eight years with Arsenal
Hector Bellerin was another player unearthed by Cagigao, joining Arsenal back in 2011
Gabriel Martinelli, the 19-year-old Brazilian forward, is another to have been scouted by him
‘In line with other football clubs and many other businesses operating in the sport, leisure and entertainment arena, we have been impacted directly by Covid-19.
‘Our main sources of income have all reduced significantly. Revenue from broadcasters, matchday and commercial activities have all been hit severely and these impacts will continue into at least the forthcoming 2020-21 season.
‘The pandemic represents one of the most challenging periods in our 134-year history and we have responded promptly by implementing wide-ranging measures to reduce our costs.
‘Our players, senior football staff and executive team have volunteered pay cuts, we have stopped pretty much all of our capital spending, and our discretionary operating expenditure has been strictly controlled.
‘We have also received significant financial support from our owners, Kroenke, Sports & Entertainment in terms of refinancing our stadium debt.
‘These steps have all reduced the impact of the pandemic on the club and have helped us continue to maintain investment in the team. This will continue to be a key priority.
Arsenal announce they are proposing 55 redundancies to help the club in the Covid-19 crisis
A lack of matchday revenue, amongst other reasons, has impacted the club during the crisis
‘It is now clear that we will be facing more significant and longer-lasting reductions in our revenue than we all hoped.
‘Current indications are that we will not have fans back at Emirates Stadium for the start of next season and fans will only be able to return in limited numbers after that. The global economic projections are also very negative.
‘This will impact the disposable income of our fans, the money corporate clients have to spend on hospitality and sponsorship, and the ability for broadcasters to invest in TV rights.
‘We all hope there will be no ‘second wave’ but we also need to accept that is one of the many uncertainties ahead of us and plan accordingly.
‘Over recent years we have consistently invested in additional staff to take the club forward but with the expected reduction of income in mind, it is now clear that we must reduce our costs further to ensure we are operating in a sustainable and responsible way, and to enable us to continue to invest in the team.
‘Our aim has been to protect the jobs and base salaries of our people for as long as we possibly can. Unfortunately, we have now come to the point where we are proposing 55 redundancies.
‘We do not make these proposals lightly and have looked at every aspect of the club and our expenditure before reaching this point. We are now entering the required 30-day consultation period on these proposals.
‘We know this is upsetting and difficult for our dedicated staff and our focus is on managing this as sensitively as possible.
‘These proposed changes are ultimately about ensuring we take this great football club forward, creating the right organisation for a post-Covid world, and ensuring we have the resources to return to competing effectively at the top of the game here and in Europe.’
A statement from the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust on Wednesday read: ‘AST is sad to see the news that 55 members of staff are to be made redundant. Arsenal players have contributed to savings at the club by taking voluntary wage cuts. We had hoped these savings would be used to ensure all Arsenal staff are looked after in these difficult times.
‘It is also really important that those staff let go are given as much support as possible in terms of their redundancy package. We will be contacting Arsenal to stress these points.’