Former Arsenal player and current Arsenal scout, Danny Karbassiyoon, was speaking recently with the Arsenal matchday programme about playing and scouting for the club.
Karbassiyoon signed for Arsenal in 2003 and scored on his debut in the league cup against Manchester City in October 2004 when he was 20.
A knee injury would cut his career tragically short – Danny was forced to retire when he was just 22 – but since then he has gone on to scout for Arsenal in north America although it’s not clear how that role can be maintained after he moved back to London.
“I recently moved back to London as my girlfriend is finishing her Masters here,” Danny said, “but I have been a scout for Arsenal for the best part of a decade. I focus on North America, which has been seen in recent years as a new frontier for players. There is a lot of good, untapped talent in the region.
“It took me a few good years before I spotted and brought over any players of notable talent, but I am delighted to have had a big hand in getting Gedion Zelalem and Joel Campbell here.
“OK, so Joel is actually from Costa Rica – and the region I’m in is geographically massive – but I had been tracking Joel for a long time when he was playing for the national team and eventually we made our move.
“Gedion was a very different case. While I spotted Joel when he was 18, Gedion was only 13. He was just a kid who had recently moved to the US from Germany. I suppose the funny thing is I have travelled tens of thousands of miles in my pursuit of new talent, but Gedion lived literally a mile from my apartment in Washington DC.
“But as a scout it is a strange job where you rarely see the fruits of your labours. So, in a way, it has been a nice defining moment as a scout of 10 years, to see the likes of Joel make his debut, get in the first team, and make an impact.”