Emi Buendia to Arsenal: Ex-scout Francis Cagigao recommended Norwich ace under Unai Emery

Arsenal: Arteta provides transfer update

Former chief Arsenal scout Francis Cagigao has long been a fan of Emiliano Buendia, attracting the interest of Mikel Arteta’s side this month, and recommended him to the club’s hierarchy under Unai Emery, it has been claimed. Buendia has emerged as a January transfer target for the Gunners as they look to sign a new playmaker.

Buendia was the fourth-most creative player in the Premier League last season, only Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish and Trent Alexander-Arnold managing to create more chances.

And in the Championship this season he has seven goals and seven assists from 19 games as one of Norwich’s most important players.

But the Argentine has long been admired within the north London outfit, who are reportedly eyeing up a potential move for the attacker this month.

He has spent three years with the Canaries, whom he joined from Getafe for less than £2million in the summer of 2018, since contributing 16 goals and 32 assists in 99 games.

And Cagigao, who spent almost a quarter of a century as a well-renowned scout at Arsenal, was among the admirers of Buendia at the Emirates.

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Former head of international scouting Cagigao was made redundant in the summer as one of 55 redundancies designed to free up cash for first-team investment.

Cagigao played a role in signings such as Cesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie, Santi Cazorla and Hector Bellerin to name a few and was well regarded for his work.

Buendia also had his approval, with Goal’s Charles Watts, speaking on his YouTube, saying that the South American No 10 has been scouted extensively by the club in recent years.

Cagigao and Brian McDermott are said to have been among the clutch of high-ranking scouts who rated Buendia highly.

So highly in fact, that Buendia was not just shortlisted as one to keep an eye on but has even previously been recommended to Arsenal’s recruitment team as a player worth trying to sign, including under Arteta’s predecessor Emery.

Arsenal’s set-up has since been revamped with technical director Edu and Arteta in chief charge of transfers.

Arteta said last month: “The plan is done; what we want to do in January and what we want to do in the summer.

“Sometimes you can do it [and sign your targets], sometimes not. It depends on a lot of factors. Edu is dealing with that at the moment.

“I am focused with all the games, I don’t have much time to expend energy now on that. It’s clear what we want to do.

“My job is to make the most out of this squad, the players that we have.

“We know what we want to do and we will try to execute it knowing that the actual context, the market and what we have been through makes it difficult.”

Norwich boss Daniel Farke meanwhile says Buendia, who is under contract until 2024, is going nowhere this month given his stellar form at Carrow Road.

“He is our player. He is on a long term contract. He is happy here. I am not worried about speculation,” he explained.

“He is a great character, totally focused and totally committed to us. He is under a long term contract so I expect we will keep him.

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“He is our player, he is a key figure in our push to finish this season very well.

“I am pretty happy we have him and delighted he scored this quite important goal [vs Barnsley]. I am delighted with his performance and his performances over the last few months.”

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