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Southampton close in on deal to hire Manchester City youth scouting guru

Southampton strike deal to hire Manchester City youth scout guru Joe Shields as their new head of first-team recruiting… while the Saints are desperate for his ability to identify young stars across Europe

  • Southampton are close to hiring Joe Shields, Man City youth scout expert
  • The Saints want Shields to be their new head of the first-team recruiting department
  • Shields is considered one of the best identifiers of talent in European football
  • Influential talent spotter Sam Fagbemi is a contender to replace him at City

Southampton are on the cusp of appointing Manchester City youth scout expert Joe Shields as their new head of first-team recruiting, with influential talent-spotter Sam Fagbemi a contender to replace him at the Etihad.

Shields, who has built a reputation as one of the best landmarks of young players in European football, is set to leave City this summer to take up his first role in senior recruitment at St Mary’s.

The news comes as a blow to City, given Shields’ expertise in youth recruitment. The scout was famously credited with bringing Jadon Sancho to City in 2015.

Southampton (manager Ralph Hasenhuttl pictured) are about to appoint Manchester City youth scout expert Joe Shields as their new head of first-team recruiting.

Southampton (manager Ralph Hasenhuttl pictured) are about to appoint Manchester City youth scout expert Joe Shields as their new head of first-team recruiting.

City are desperate to keep Shields but Southampton are confident they can strike a deal

City are desperate to keep Shields but Southampton are confident they can strike a deal

City have been able to fend off keen interest in Shields from rival Premier League clubs in recent years, with Arsenal and Chelsea both trying to lure the 35-year-old back to London.

But the opportunity to work within the first-team recruiting structure of a top club is a major draw for Shields.

City are desperate to keep Shields – and while the move isn’t carried out, feelings are growing with Southampton that they can strike a deal for the recruiting guru to join this summer.

If Shields, who currently holds the position of head of academy recruiting and talent management, does leave, City are expected to start researching internal candidates to fill the void, with influential talent scout Fagbemi lining up for a promotion.

It would be a big blow to Pep Guardiola if he lost one of the best young player identifiers in European football

It would be a big blow to Pep Guardiola if he lost one of the best young player identifiers in European football

Like Shields, Fagbemi – who has played a leading role in recruiting City’s current group of up-and-coming youngsters such as Liam Delap, Cole Palmer and Luke Mbete – has drawn strong interest from rival clubs including Arsenal and Newcastle in recent years.

Fagbemi currently holds the role of National Youth Scouting Manager at City and has worked closely with Shields since joining the Etihad as lead southern scout from his previous role as video scout with the Gunners in 2017.

Carl Walker, Stewart Thompson and Paul McLaren, who occupy recruiting positions within City’s scouting lineup, could also emerge as contenders to replace Shields.

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