A month ago, ESPN Brasil had a story in which a scout said Arsenal could have signed Willian when they had the chance back in 2005.
Daniel Musatti did a job for the Gunners at that time, having suggested that the club should’ve gone after the Corinthians winger, who later moved to Shakhtar Donetsk, Anzhi and Chelsea.
His version said Arsenal didn’t listen to him, and preferred to scout Neto Baiano, a striker who currently plays for the Brazilian Second Division side CBR.
The story sounded pretty reasonable, especially for the huge scouting network that Arsenal have around the world. But maybe it wasn’t 100% true.
After the article came up, Sandro Orlandelli, another Brazilian scout who works for Premier League clubs, has responded to ESPN Brasil with his version of the story.
In a very strong statement, Orlandelli claimed that Musatti never really worked for Arsenal, and things didn’t work so simply to sign South Americans at the time.
“This guy has never worked for Arsenal. I don’t want to cause any sensationalism, as I work for Manchester United today. I was responsible for the scouting of Arsenal in Latin America for 11 years just in this period. In 2006 I had a very high demand for work and needed someone to help me in Brazil. We did interviews with three professionals and he was one of them. Just participated in an interview process, nothing more.
“This guy never worked at Arsenal, just scouting in a selection process, we did not hire him, he did a week or two, at most he made some reports. No report came to Arsene Wenger. We had a digital platform where mine would go direct and his would go via email to me and my boss.
“A technical decision of scouting in a structured club comes at least six months before completing a business. He participated in a test with us in 2006 in which I asked him to analyse some players precisely to see the level of observation he would have. According to some characteristics that we set we wanted to know the potential each of three candidates would have.
“I’ve known Willian since 2001 when I worked at Corinthians, I trained him a little. We had a chance to bring Willian for US$200k, at that time (2005) it was a very interesting amount, but he had no European citizenship. That made it impossible for us to bring him up against the rules of the Premier League. If he had European citizenship we certainly would have tried. He had already been detected by us long before what he mentioned.
“After that, we created a project in South America that we were able to bring players to Spain with a partnership so that they could obtain citizenship and then join Arsenal. The only exception was Denilson. We made the decision to take him in September 2005. We agreed with São Paulo to negotiate in December 2005 and I was responsible for that. He joined as an exceptional talent because he participated in a considerable amount of games in the Brazilian national team. This enabled Arsene Wenger to ask the Premier League the permission as an exceptional talent.
“Being from a representative national team we got him. But in the case of Carlos Vela, who was of the Mexican national team, for example, this was not possible. He had to go to Spain. As a matter of the weight of tradition of Mexico in relation to Brazil.”
Defending himself, Musatti later responded to ESPN Brasil with screenshots of emails from Arsenal official Richard ‘Dick’ Law, proving he indeed did some job for the Gunners.
He also spoke to the website, and said: “The big question is: was he a scout from Arsenal or to Arsenal? The way Sandro speaks, I understand that I was a scout during the 2006 Paulista for Arsenal. If I was never scout for Arsenal it’s because I never had contract with the club Arsenal. That really I never had. But it was a job that I did, in which I dedicated myself, used my money and took three months to receive, I did everything right at the request of England and then for them to say that I did nothing, just one game and another… I can prove it.”
And he did prove it, with his screenshots. This is quite the quarrel.