Scouting for talent: a report from one of Untold’s intrepid reporters

Scouting for talent: a report from one of Untold’s intrepid reporters


There has been a lot of speculation here and elsewhere about who the Arsenal should sign this summer. Big names such as Vidal, Higuain, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger (let’s face it they don’t get much bigger than those two!) have been bandied about in the press and the mysteries of vapour transfers have been discussed in depth on this site. Sir Hardley’s column has enlightened us on possible targets and Tony regularly exposes the machinations of what used to be known as Fleet Street.

I am in the fortunate position of having worked as an independent football scout for the Indiana Red Hawks since I retired from the Royal Marines in 1998. The marines gave me the opportunity to travel all over the world and I’ve taken that experience with me to work with youngsters in Africa, Eastern Europe and closer to home. In that time I’ve identified a number of potential stars, some of whom I believe could add something special to this current Arsenal squad should M.Wenger and Ivan Gazidis see fit to follow my advice.

We can all speculate on what or who we need and in which positions, and recently we’ve added Petr Cech so perhaps negated the need for a reliable keeper (no disrespect to our incumbents implied though, Ooooooooosssssspina has been one of most effective guardians for many years). Most seem to think, despite the emergence of le Coq (something none of us expected*) that we need to add a defensive midfielder. Others will say we need a proven goalscorer or at least someone that can guarantee 25-30 goals a season.

But it isn’t easy to find these ‘missing links’, especially in the cutthroat world of oil rich mega clubs and greed driven agents. If Arsenal wants a high profile professional footballer you can bet your life savings that so do City, Utd, Chelsea, and the Spanish, Italian or German Giants.

So it pays to have embedded scouting networks and (as Arsenal have done) make use of new technologies that allow us to identify and monitor future stars; stars that our competitors have NOT noticed (well not yet anyway).

So here are some names for you to conjure with, some may be familiar others less so. But remember where you heard them first!

First up is Cistač Zamiatarka, just 19 but a real hot prospect in the French second division. Cistač was born in Turkey but his father moved to France in 2007 with his catering business. His son had already shown evidence of his ability and was being tracked by Fenebache  and a number of other Turkish sides. Cistač is a strong tackling midfielder who could, at a pinch, play centre half. His future probably lies in a classic sweeper role. He has European citizenship so there’s no problem with work permits. I reckon Arsene could do worse than give him a trial as a potential understudy to Coquelin.

Next I’d like us to take a look at Onbekend Doelskieter. Onbé (as he prefers to be called) is muscular centre forward. He is a Namibian national but currently plays for FC Duisburg in the German second division. He is 18 so perhaps a bit early for this season but is being talked about as Drogba-esque. For him to still be relatively unknown until now is amazing but we’d have to act fast.

One player that I’ve had my eye on for a few years is  Don Kri. He plays in Hungary for Vasas FC and suits the holding midfield position best. Already 20 and beginning to catch the eye of Italian scouts he is a raw talent than someone like M. Wenger could cultivate

Finally a bit of pace on the wing (just in case Theo does decided not to sign ‘da ting’). I saw this guy playing for the German side Nurnberg last year in a reserve match and boy is he quick. He’s Moroccan and has all the tricks – Al Alzata Rapida is his name.

So there you have it (or them) – four potential under-the-radar buys we could make. Not box office or marquee maybe but in a few years time I reckon one of two of these could be household names.

Scott P. Reid (an IUN affiliated coach)

* except Tony of course J

The books

Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years

Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910

The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal


22 Replies to “Scouting for talent: a report from one of Untold’s intrepid reporters”

  1. Purte-a ed
    elzeta repeeda a Bresceea Trentu i Bulzunu Purte-a ed elzeta repeeda a
    Bresceea Trentu i Bulzunu Purte-a ed elzeta repeeda a Bresceea Trentu i
    Bulzunu Purte-a ed elzeta repeeda a Bresceea Trentu i Bulzunu

    La luru stroottoora ootupurtunte-a in lemeeera dee ecceeeiu preferneecietu
    pressu peeegetu, il muntu unteestreppu in tessootu puleeestere-a igneeffoogu in
    clesse-a 2, il muture-a treeffese-a oo munuffese-a cun sbluccu dee imergenza in cesu
    dee essenza dee tenseeune-a, la luru feluceetà dee 1 metru el secundu in
    epertoora rendunu qooesta meccheena effffeedebile-a i dooretoora nel tempu.
    Bork Bork Bork!

  2. Scott and Gord,

    Since you have both obviously been imbibing some potent liquor and I noticed some blackthorn trees with the makings of a great crop of sloes this year. They were growing in a park in South London and are a common hedgerow shrub throughout England. Anyway here is my recipe for sloe gin.

    Pick enough sloes to fill a large(ish) food container, take them home wash and dry them. (Elf and safety notice – Blackthorns have the most vicious thorns so please take care during the picking operation otherwise cuts will happen)

    Add granulated sugar to the container, shaking it down between the berries till you can’t get any more in.

    Pour in sufficient gin to again fill the container and secure the lid.

    Two or three times a week give the container a good shake.

    Just before Christmas (with luck) the liquid will be a lovely purplish colour and will be ready for straining and bottling. It can be enjoyed through the second half of the season but do keep some back for a toast when we are crowned champions in May.

  3. I should have said that the sloes ripen during August or early September.

  4. Andrew, I’m surprised you didn’t figure out what I had done. 🙂

    Surely you remember the Muppets? I believe that was the show that had a Swedish Chef, who ended every sentence with Bork Bork Bork!

    Well, here is your recipe, in Swedish Chef language:

    Seence-a yuoo hefe-a but oobfeeuoosly beee imbeebing sume-a putent leeqoour und I nuteeced sume-a bleckthurn trees veet zee mekeengs ooff a greet crup ooff slues thees yeer.
    Bork Bork Bork!
    Zeey vere-a grooeeng in a perk in Suoot Lundun und ere-a a cummun hedgeroo shroob thruooghuoot Inglund.
    Bork Bork Bork!
    Unyvey here-a is my receepe-a fur slue-a geen.
    Bork Bork Bork!

    Peeck inuoogh slues tu feell a lerge-a(ish) fuud cunteeener, teke-a zeem hume-a vesh und dry zeem.
    Bork Bork Bork!
    (Ilff und seffety nuteece-a – Bleckthurns hefe-a zee must feeciuoos thurns su pleese-a teke-a cere-a dooreeng zee peecking oopereshun oozeerveese-a coots veell heppee)

    Edd grunooleted sooger tu zee cunteeener, shekeeng it doon betveee zee berreees teell yuoo cun’t get uny mure-a in.
    Bork Bork Bork!

    Puoor in sooffffeecient geen tu egeeen feell zee cunteeener und secoore-a zee leed.
    Bork Bork Bork!

    Tvu oor three-a teemes a veek geefe-a zee cunteeener a guud sheke-a.
    Bork Bork Bork!

    Joost beffure-a Chreestmes (veet loock) zee leeqooid veell be-a a lufely poorpleesh culuoor und veell be-a reedy fur streeening und buttleeng.
    Bork Bork Bork!
    It cun be-a injuyed thruoogh zee secund helff ooff zee seesun boot du keep sume-a beck fur a tuest vhee ve-a ere-a crooned chempeeuns in Mey.
    Bork Bork Bork!

  5. What language was that, that is posted above? I don’t know it. Let’s hope the Boss will act on those 4 talents you have recommended to him. Talking about more signings, as the Boss continues with getting the Gunners to top physical and strong mental fitness which prime necessary for the commencement of the season opening that starts at Wembley. The Boss should please not jettison my own recommendations to him to sign a LB that has aerial prowess to deal with those kind of crosses that infiltrated into our goal last season. And also find a top quality right winger who can score sufficient goals and give many assists on a regular basis next season. Even if Jack Wilshere is made to play to the wide right, he must be supported and he too has to support the in-comer. Jack alone can’t hold down the right wing starting role. He will become overplayed and Ramsey will be forced there against his likeness to assist him. Moreover Jack has already started to complain about not preferring to play to the wide right. But I think he has to. This my idea is premised on my believe that the Boss will alternately play Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck centrally next season.

  6. The first thing I wrote, was I believe an Italian page which starts with:


    that was run through a perl program that translates into Swedish Chef on the basis of a recursive descent parser in Perl.

  7. That doelskieter guy, have heard lots of good about him. If Wenger doesn’t buy him he should be sacked

  8. All the above mentioned names are so weird that I do not believe they exist Added to the fact that the author is a mystery. I rest my case

  9. There is an Indiana University (actually Indiana University Northwest) which has sports teams that share the RedHawks name. They are a little university (6052 students last year).

    > Established in Gary, Indiana, in 1963, IU Northwest is located on a 36-acre campus in the northwest corner of the state. We are a focal point for our students and the region offering nationally recognized degree programs, a diverse student body, a supportive environment, and unique cultural opportunities.

    The only men’s sports they have are golf, basketball and cross country running (the ladies also have volleyball).

    The chance of someone from the Royal Marines retiring to Gary, Indiana and getting hired by them, to do recruiting all over the world for a sport they don’t play is pretty close to zero.

    The last name, didn’t look vaguely Moroccan to me, and finding parts of the name in lots of sites written in Italian more or less verified that it was a fabricated name.

  10. I gullibly googled Duisburg only to discover they did not employ anyone by the name of Doelskieter 🙁 My hopes have been shattered.

  11. New York City is a big city, with lots of suburbs. I think that Newark, New Jersey is among the worst suburbs of New York City. I once changed planes at Newark. I had heard that Newark was the asshole of the world.

    While going to university in Pittsburgh, I went to a conference in Chicago. And just before hitting Chicago, I was introduced to Gary, Indiana. Which is another asshole of the world. Unless you were a steel worker, I don’t see any reason for anybody to live in Gary, Indiana. But really, even if you were a steel worker, I still see no reason to live in Gary, Indiana. Or have things changed that much since 1984/85 when I drove by?

  12. Used to live in Duisburg. Not exactly a tourist destination…but lots of friendly Germans from Turkei like Mesut Ozil.

  13. Rantetta

    I would think you are an expert at converting English to Swedish Chef. Except for the cockrect part.


    > Cows may come and cows may go, but the bull in this place goes on forever.

    into Swedish Chef produces this wonder:

    > Coos mey cume-a und coos mey gu, boot zee booll in thees plece-a gues oon furefer.
    Bork Bork Bork!

    Good night Irene!

  14. I think it was good that only 1 person wasted time trying to verify something. Actually 2, I wasted time verifying it was nonsense in a different way.

    If we are looking for ways to get through the transfer window, I have ideas.

    There are songs for players. I think had an article about Bellerin hearing his song for the first time. Maybe write down the songs? The melody and the words.

    The world needs more lightbulb jokes. How many ManU supporters does it take to change/screw in a lightbulb?

    Do we have enough chicken jokes? Why did the ManU chicken cross the road?

  15. Smoke and mirrors –

    A guy goes to his friend and says “I’m sleeping with the priest’s wife. Can you hold him in church for an hour after mass for me?”
    The friend doesn’t like it but being a friend, he agrees and after mass, he starts talking to the priest and asking him all sorts of stupid questions just to keep him occupied.

    Finally the priest gets pissed and asks the guy what he’s really up to. The man feeling guilty confesses , ” My friend is sleeping with your wife right now.”

    The priest smiles and says ,” You better hurry home now. My wife is dead!”

  16. In Church there is a family that has recently been baptized. After a month of being new members the Bishop calls them in separately to see how they are doing. During an interview with the father, the bishop asks, “Will you give a talk next Sunday in Church?”

    The new convert replies, “Sure, but what would you like me to give my talk on?”

    “On anything you feel that would be beneficial to the congregation, like past experiences and such that have changed your life in a positive way.”

    So he goes home and immediately starts thinking about what he would like to speak about. One night as he is working on his talk his wife comes up to him and asks,

    “So honey, what are you going to give your talk on?”

    “Well, after much thought, I have decided to give a talk on water skiing.”

    “Water skiing! What? This is Church we are talking about; you can’t give a talk on water skiing. It would be indecent!”

    “The Bishop said I can give a talk on anything I wanted to and I want to give it on water skiing!”

    Her husband is known to be a big joker so she shrugs it off not worrying about it for the time being. As Sunday comes though, she starts to get nervous and can’t take it any longer. When they arrive at the church parking lot she says to him, “Alright sweetheart, the joke’s over. What are you really going to give your talk on?”

    “I was being serious; I really am going to give a talk on water skiing!”

    His wife responds, “Well, if that’s the way you are going to be, me and the kids do not want to be embarrassed by this, so we will wait out here in the car while you give your talk!”

    “FINE, be that way!” He replies.

    So he goes into Church while his family stays in the car. As he sits down and waits for his turn to speak, he thinks it over and realizes that his wife is probably right. Talking about water skiing in Church? What was he thinking?!!
    So he goes to his backup plan. He gives a talk on adultery. After he gives his talk and the session ends he goes back to the parking lot to get his wife and kids and to apologize for the way he acted.
    But before he could say anything to them the Bishop comes up, turns to his wife and remarks:
    “Your husband gave one of the best talks in Church. I mean there wasn’t a dry eye in the room after he finished!”

    The wife stared at the Bishop incredulously. “You must be joking! He’s only done it twice. Once with my mother and once with my sister and couldn’t stay up either time!!”

  17. What comes around goes around and comes around again ! The Greek bailout explained .

    It is a slow day in a little Greek Village. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted.

    Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

    On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the village, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

    The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

    The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.

    The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel.

    The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the taverna.

    The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him “services” on credit.

    The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.

    The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything.

    At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.
    No one produced anything.
    No one earned anything.
    However, the whole village is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.

    And that is how the bailout package works!

    I was in Walmart the other day pushing my cart around when I collided with a young guy.

    I said to the young guy, “Sorry about that. I’m looking for my wife and I guess I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going.”

    The young guy says, “That’s OK. It’s a coincidence. I’m looking for my wife, too. I can’t find her and I’m getting a little desperate.”

    I said, “Well, maybe we can help each other. What does your wife look like?”

    The young guy says, “Well, she is 24 years old, tall, with blond hair, big blue eyes, long legs, and she’s wearing tight white shorts, a halter top and no bra. What does your wife look like?”

    I said, “Doesn’t matter – let’s look for yours.”

    See? Older guys are helpful like that.

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