In a lengthy and wide-ranging interview, Francis Cagigao, who worked at Arsenal for 21 years and is credited with spotting some of the biggest names to play for Arsenal, touched on a variety of subjects.
Asked about Odegaard and if he thought he might have been the ideal replacement for Luka Modric at Real Madrid, Cagigao replied, “Surely yes, but they are different as players.
“Odegaard was affected by arriving at Madrid so young. He had a lot of responsibility and pressure for a boy with little experience.
“That shirt weighs a lot and a footballer needs a point of maturity to consecrate himself in that demanding club. Maybe it was too soon.
“He is now one of the best creative midfielders in the world.”
One of Arsene Wenger’s right-hand men, Cagigao is known for bringing in key players to the club, such as Cesc Fábregas, Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta, Robin van Persie, Granit Xhaka, William Saliba, and Gabriel Martinelli.
Although he tried to sign Lionel Messi for Arsenal, it was not possible due to work permit issues.
He also recommended Mikel Arteta to the club’s management as a coach.
After leaving Arsenal, Cagigao served as the sports director of the Chilean Federation, but declined a reduced salary offer after they failed to reach the World Cup and did not renew his contract.
Cagigao left the role at the end of December.
He is now back home, deciding on his next step, but his contribution to scouting and nurturing talented footballers will be remembered.
Cagigao is reportedly planning to return to Europe to be near his family and has received an offer from Major League Soccer (MLS).