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Arsenal Signed 'Wrong' Leicester Scout Ben Wrigglesworth, Says Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker poses for photographers upon arrival to the world premiere of the film The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 in London, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Joel Ryan/Associated Press
Christopher SimpsonFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 7, 2017

Match of the Day host Gary Lineker believes Arsenal have acquired the "wrong scout" from his former side Leicester City in Ben Wrigglesworth, as he attributed the captures of Foxes stars Riyad Mahrez and N'Golo Kante to assistant manager and head of recruitment Steve Walsh.

Lineker's full comments were noted by Sam Cunningham of the Daily Mail:

I love how Arsenal nicked the wrong scout. Steve Walsh is the guy who found these players and brought them in. I know when he found Mahrez he was sent to watch someone else and came back with him.

He’d done a brilliant job and that’s been the large key to Leicester’s success. As in all clubs, it’s about the people you bring in and they've done it on a relatively small budget compared with the giants.

Per Cunningham, Arsenal recruited Wrigglesworth—who was head of technical scouting at the King Power Stadiumbelieving him to be the man behind Leicester's magnificent work in the transfer market following the success of players such as Kante and Mahrez.

Lineker was quick to correct Arsenal on their mistake, though:

With the Foxes leading the Premier League title charge—after performing a miraculous escape from relegation last season—their scouting is rightly receiving plenty of attention. 

Mahrez was drafted in from Le Havre for just £400,000 in 2014, and he has had a stunning impact this season as Squawka Football revealed:

The winger's pace, creativity and impressive finishing will no doubt make him one of the most coveted players in the Premier League this summer, and his partnership with in-form striker Jamie Vardy could fire the Foxes to an unprecedented title win. Football writer Liam Canning has been impressed:

Meanwhile, Kante arrived from Caen in the summer in a move that largely went under the radar with Leicester also snapping up Swiss international Gokhan Inler from Napoli.

Kante has largely kept the illustrious midfielder out of the team, though, thanks to his incredible work rate and ability to recover possession for his side. Canning ran the rule over the 24-year-old:

Lineker singled him out as the best capture made by any Premier League side last summer:

Arsenal were undoubtedly hoping for Wrigglesworth to help them make similarly shrewd but impactful purchases—and of course, the 24-year-old still can.

However, the claim that they perhaps haven't got who they were hoping for will certainly soften the blow for Leicester, who will equally be wanting to make further gains in the transfer market this summer—perhaps as champions of England.

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