When Steve Rowley, a part-time scout, came across 11-year-old Tony Adams, Steve cemented his reputation. Rowley became a full-time employee while George Graham managed Arsenal, and he was given the title of chief scout upon Arsène Wenger’s appointment in 1996. He oversaw a worldwide staff, and the scouting division was influenced by StatDNA, a data analytics firm that Arsenal acquired a few years ago in a nod to the Moneyball ideas that had been effective in the US. Arsenal’s scouting was questioned, with Shkodran Mustafi, Granit Xhaka, and Lucas Pérez having rough stretches in their inaugural Premier League seasons. One of the staff members who had worked for Arsenal the longest was the top scout.
The club has confirmed that Steve Rowley, a former top scout for Arsenal, died at age 63 after a brief illness. Before retiring, Rowley worked for the north London club for nearly 35 years, including over 20 years as a top scout. Rowley was a pivotal contributor to the Gunners’ success. Rowley significantly aided Wenger’s Gunners during their heyday, when they won 38 games to become the first and only Invincibles in English football history. He reportedly became irritated with being made the scapegoat for the team’s transfer market missteps, contributing to their decline before his departure in 2017.
In recent times the Gunners have made significant purchases, and there may be more. Over £145 million ($174 million) was spent by Arsenal during the summer transfer window, more than any other European team. With Oleksandr Zinchenko’s arrival, their annual expenditure has increased to approximately £115 million ($138 million). Despite Arsenal’s collapse last season and failure to qualify for the Champions League, it’s yet another indication that owner Stan Kroenke is committed to the Mikel Arteta-led project in north London. Many believed Arsenal’s inability to finish in the top four would force them to take a back seat throughout the transfer window, observing while their competitors bolstered themselves around them.