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REVEALED: Wenger rejected Arsenal scouting recommendation to sign a young Mata

Former Arsenal's head scout Francis Cagigao was overruled by manager Arsene Wenger when recommending a move for Juan Mata.

In 2011, the Gunners were left with a hole in their midfield when Fabregas moved to the Nou Camp and scoured the globe for a creative spark to replace the Spaniard.

Mata, who was playing his football for Valencia at the time, was reportedly top of the club's list of transfer targets after being flagged by former head scout Francis Cagigao.

The Athletic reports Cagigao urged Wenger to launch a bid for Mata, while he also identified Santi Cazorla, then at Villarreal, as another potential signing.

He said: "The idea was for Arsenal to acquire like-for-like replacements and still turn a profit. Unfortunately, the club were not able to complete the deals — Mata went to Chelsea and Cazorla joined Malaga."

Unfortunately for Arsenal, Mata moved on to Chelsea in 2011, while Cazorla joined Malaga, before eventually moving to the Emirates for £25m 12 months later.

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Paul Vegas

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