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Wenger Ignored Signing Willian in 2006 Because of Neto Baiano

The Chief of Arsenal’s scouting team, in 2006, ignored Daniel Musatti’s suggestion for them to allow him do a report on a 17-year-old player named Willian whom he knew would have plenty to offer the club in the future, but they were fixated on the pursuit of Neto Baiano, a player they never got and who never made it to Europe. When Arsenal failed to secure Neto, they made do with Denilson, one of the several players that the Chief of Arsenal’s scouting team suggested for Musatti to do reports on along with Neto.

Daniel Musatti had after working as a coach with Corinthians, the club Willian was playing for at the time, took up the role of observer for Arsenal, during the 2006 Paulista Championship, making analyses of young talents that are suggested to him by the scouting head of coach Arsene Wenger.

Musatti, who now coaches in the USA with Golden State Football Club, disclosed to ESPN in January 2018, saying, “I even did the report for (midfielder) Denílson, from São Paulo, that year, and not long afterwards he was moved to England. The players were recommended by Wenger’s chief of scouts in Brazil, and they were all selected by him.”

But because he had watched Willian at the time, Musatti suggested to the Arsenal scouts and the staff of Arsenal, to try and give a look at the talented Willian, advising that he will be a great signing. So he attempted to give a report on Willian who was not among the players listed by the Arsenal scouts, but they shrugged off the idea, with their minds fixed on Neto.

He said, “I suggested to the Arsenal scouts that they watch Willian and allow him to make a full report on him . At the time, however, I was told that there was no interest, as they were looking at another player. They asked me to do a full scout analysis of Neto Baiano, who was at Paulista de Jundiaí.”

“A year after I suggested Willian to Arsenal, he was sold for a lot to Ukraine and developed there, becoming this great player that everyone sees today. He could have gone to Arsenal, but they preferred to watch Neto Baiano… ” He added.

Willian went ahead to play 18 games for Corinthians in 2007 until he was sold for 14 million Euros to Shakhtar Donetsk, in August of that year. After six seasons at Shakhtar where he won 13 trophies, Willian was snatched up by Anzhi Makhachkala of Russia for €35.5 million in 2013.

But financial issues necessitated that Anzhi, who had amassed amazing talents from across the world, transfer-list most of their players in less than a year. Chelsea took the opportunity and snapped up the Brazilian attacking midfield player at the price of £30 million.

The Brazilian has won two Premier League titles and a Europa League with Chelsea. He has made 339 appearances for Chelsea, and from all indications, he is set to spend the last years of his football playing career as an Arsenal FC player. He has turned down an extension to his Chelsea contract and has agreed to discuss with Arsenal for a possible three-year contract worth about £150,000 per week wage.

He has made 339 appearances for the club since signing from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala for £30m in 2013, becoming one of the most popular players at Stamford Bridge in the process.

He has won five major honours with the Blues, including two Premier League titles and the Europa League, and won the club’s players’ player of the year award twice.

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