It is a question which has been raised once or twice in the past. Of the current top six only Tottenham Hotspur have been buying anybody English from the lower divisions, that being Dele Alli, who arrived from MK Dons for £5 million a while ago.

Chelsea went down the tried and tested route by buying N’Golo Kanté from Leicester, shortly after he had become a Premier League winner, so no risk there.

Liverpool went for the unknown foreigners who have yet to prove themselves in the top flight, and Sadio Mané, who hasn’t.

Arsenal didn’t go for anybody having recently spent, for them, an absolute fortune on the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil. Their transfer budget for the next ten years has now been spent and Arséne must make do with what he has. He will probably realise that this will not be possible and so will sell one of Sanchez or Özil in order to fund a new player or six.

The other two spent money as though it was going out of fashion as usual, bringing in unknown foreigners, known foreigners, well-known foreigners and well-known Englishmen.

This all makes us here at WSA reach the conclusion that, if these clubs have any scouts at all, they must spend all of their time living it up in Milan, Rome, Paris, Monaco, Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon, occasionally sending a postcard to their manager with a picture of a player and the message, “wish he was there“, on it.

For example, how long was required to scout Paul Pogba before it was decided he should return to United? The Old Lady in Turin must have been laughing all the way to the bank having paid his release clause of around £800,000, only to receive £89 million in return a short while later.

Which genius scout was it who decided that Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the best midfielder in the Bundesliga, should sign for United?

Ilkay Gundogan and John Stones were both signed by City. Did they really need scouting? Surely they were both on TV often enough for the manager to run the rule over them without the need or expense of scouts to do the job.

Call us old-fashioned but we see the job of the scout, primarily, as that of identifying new and emerging talent, seeing the potential in a youngster BEFORE he is a household name. What is so innovative about watching Barcelona then telling a manager that Lionel Messi would be a good signing for the club?

Here’s an article from August, 2015 and absolutely nothing has changed since. Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard are the only players at Manchester United to have come through the youth system who are getting any game time and, in fairness, much better players than Lingard have been allowed to leave.

City don’t have anybody playing regularly who has come from the junior blues. Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea have teams full of expensively bought players, although to be fair to Arsenal, they haven’t spent as much as others.

As previously mentioned only Spurs have a number of home-grown players in the team, supplemented by shrewdly scouted young English talent.

So where are all the scouts at the other clubs? Are they really spread around Europe watching all the top sides or is this just a misapprehension on the part of journalists?

Are they actually attending games in Stockport, Cambridge, Lincoln and Carlisle? If that is the case then there are obviously no good players at that level and they need to get themselves to bigger and better clubs sharpish!

The fact of the matter is, as we pointed out in that previous article, that the top clubs don’t have time to wait for their own youth players to come through, they don’t want to “take a chance” on an unknown player from a lower division and they would rather spend a fortune on proven talent in order to “guarantee” instant success, which it quite often doesn’t.

These are the days of the super-player, super-manager and the super-agent. Not, unfortunately, the super-scout, or even the not-so-super-scout.


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