Edu: StatDNA will come more to the fore as part of Arsenal revamp
Written by Training Ground Guru — September 11, 2020
ARSENAL Technical Director Edu says he will be working “a lot more” with StatDNA, their in-house data and analytics company, as part of the club's revamp of recruitment.
Last month the Gunners announced an overhaul of their scouting network. This involved Head of Recruitment Francis Cagigao, Head of UK Recruitment Pete Clark and top scout Brian McDermott being made redundant.
In addition, Ty Gooden (who covered France and Belgium), Leonardo Scirpoli (Germany), Alex Stafford (Scotland), Julio de Marco (Spain) and Alessandro Sbrizzo (Italy) lost their jobs.
Speaking for the first time about the changes, former Arsenal midfielder Edu explained he wanted the club's recruitment policy to become more centralised and data-driven.
“The reasons for changing our infrastructure a bit are clear," said the Brazilian, who re-joined Arsenal in July 2019 following three years as general co-ordinator for the Brazil national team.
“I want to work with fewer people. I want to work a lot more with StatDNA, which we have internally here at the club. It is very important.
“I want the people I want to work with to be very close to me. I don’t want individual people working in one area or for one country. I want a group working together. Fewer people with much more responsibilities. That is my vision.”
Arsenal bought US firm StatDNA in 2012 and Sarah Rudd, the company’s Vice President of Software and Analytics, heads up data science at the North London club.
Arsenal also announced that Mikel Arteta’s title had changed from head coach to manager ahead of the new season. Arsene Wenger was always known as manager during 22 years with the club, but his successor, Unai Emery, was given the title of head coach when he took over in May 2018.
This was in recognition of the fact he was now working in a Continental structure, with Raúl Sanllehí having been appointed Head of Football Relations at the club.
Arsenal Chief Executive Vinai Venkatesham explained: “Mikel joined as Head Coach but he hasn’t been (just) a head coach from the very first day he walked in the door. He has been doing much more than that.
“So we are going to change his job to first-team manager and that is a recognition of what he has been doing. He walked into probably the toughest nine months this football club has had in its 134-year history.
“During that period, Mikel lifted the spirits of fans, staff and players and drove this team to an FA Cup final, winning that trophy and winning the Community Shield. That is no mean feat. And we acknowledge the man’s capabilities fit much better as a manager than as a head coach.”
Venkatesham said Edu and Arteta would be leading "all of the other disciplines responsible in the men’s first team - whether that’s analysis, scouting, medical, high performance."
He added that the duo would “be responsible for the technical recommendations we make - the players we sign, the players we sell, the players we loan - working closely with me, the board and the ownership, particularly on the financial element."
“Mikel and Edu are talking to each other all of the time about the relative strengths and weaknesses of our squad. I’m in those conversations periodically, the board and owners are in those conversations, so they know what’s going on," Venkatesham said.
"One of the things I’ve talked about across the whole organisation in light of the proposed redundancies is this is an opportunity for us to be quicker, faster, more efficient and better."
Director of Football Operations Hussein Fahmy and Edu will “in the main... do the negotiations with agents, clubs and the players themselves", Venkatesham said.
“But it depends on the circumstances," he added. "There are no hard and fast rules. There may be a really specific reason why I might get involved in the negotiation. But in the main, that is the responsibility of Edu and Huss.”
Edu said his remit was to be the custodian of the long-term values of the club.
“If you ever get to a point where the manager changes, does everything change? No, because we have the Technical Director in place."