Meet Andrea Carnevale: The mastermind of the scouting network behind Udinese, Watford and Granada

Picture: Action Images

Picture: Action Images

First published in Sport
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Watford Observer: Tales from the Vicarage Banner

When the Pozzo family took over Watford and began the process of filling the squad with loan players from their other clubs, Udinese and Granada, few people outside south-west Hertfordshire took much notice.

But when the Hornets started challenging for promotion, opponents to the business model queued up to claim that it was in danger of destroying the English game.

Rivals clubs instinctively opposed the method, even going as far to say it was an abuse of the loan system. They asked what would happen when all the loanees went back? What would the Hornets be left with then?

But little attempt was made to understand how the Pozzos operated or get under the skin of a global scouting network that is based on good financial planning as well as sporting sense.

In the Watford book Tales from the Vicarage Volume 2, journalist Paolo Tomaselli explains in detail how the model works and introduces us to Andrea Carnevale, who he describes as ‘the conductor, or the mastermind, or even better, the admiral given that his job is to co-ordinate three fleets in the often stormy seas of European football’.

Carnevale was a brilliant forward who starred with Diego Maradona at Napoli and alongside Roberto Baggio in the Italian national team.

Since 2002, he has worked for Udinese, establishing a ‘Big Brother-style’ television room at the club’s Stadio Friuli, where recordings of matches from all over the world are scoured for the glint of footballing gold.

In an exclusive interview with Tales from the Vicarage, Carnevale explains that the method is simple, even if there are no guaranteed short-cuts to success.

"Our secret on the international transfer market is simple – or at least it sounds it when you say it: we have to get there before everyone else, or certainly before teams with more money and prestige," he said.

Once a player has been spotted, the key is to nurture them and, with three clubs to choose from, they can be placed where they will be best suited.

"People said all we were doing was putting all Udinese’s rejects on a plane and taking them to London. But we don’t leave things to chance. We chose the ones who, in our opinion, were best suited to English football.

"I had to put myself through a fast-track education on English football and I came to the conclusion that the English second division (Championship) is excellent but that Italian football is more advanced on a tactical level."

So, if Carnevale is assembling a squad of more than 100 players for Udinese, Granada and Watford to choose from, who decides which players go where?

"Gian Luca Nani is the technical director of Watford, so he takes care of everything on and off the field. We, in Udine, have a lot of input into the footballing side, but there has to be unanimous approval before we do anything with any player."

And Nani said: "Watford is an independent club but we’d be foolish not to use the know-how of the Udinese scouting network. Thanks to that collaboration, we can build something big here."

The full interviews with Carnevale and Nani are in Tales from the Vicarage Volume 2.

Tales from the Vicarage (Peloton Publishing, £10.99) is available from Londis in Vicarage Road and Watford Museum as well as online at Amazon. However, readers of the Watford Observer can get the book with free delivery from www.watfordfcbook.com.

Comments (12)

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9:32am Thu 30 Jan 14

Dino1982 says...

Interesting to know.

Andrea Carnevale was an amazing forward who hit his best form in 1989-1990 to then win a place in the Italy World cup squad.

He played along side some of the best players in the world, Maradona, Careca, Alemau, Baggio, Vialli etc. The period he played for Napoli he also played against the likes of Platini, Zico etc in the Italian league.

To think he is one of our scouts from a distance is good to know as he has vast experience and played football to a very high level.

Again another step in the right direction.
Interesting to know. Andrea Carnevale was an amazing forward who hit his best form in 1989-1990 to then win a place in the Italy World cup squad. He played along side some of the best players in the world, Maradona, Careca, Alemau, Baggio, Vialli etc. The period he played for Napoli he also played against the likes of Platini, Zico etc in the Italian league. To think he is one of our scouts from a distance is good to know as he has vast experience and played football to a very high level. Again another step in the right direction. Dino1982
  • Score: 19

9:34am Thu 30 Jan 14

ForzaWatford says...

Isn't it nice to be part of a well run club.

Loved that first sentence.
Isn't it nice to be part of a well run club. Loved that first sentence. ForzaWatford
  • Score: 20

10:52am Thu 30 Jan 14

Hornankey says...

I agree that the club now appears to be based on much more solid ground which we all welcome. However the fact is that all three sister-clubs are currently in the lower half of their respective divisions. We have some accomplished individuals in the ranks. Time will tell whether they (and others) can be blended into a team with the mettle and passion to scrap it out on the battlefield which is the English Championship
I agree that the club now appears to be based on much more solid ground which we all welcome. However the fact is that all three sister-clubs are currently in the lower half of their respective divisions. We have some accomplished individuals in the ranks. Time will tell whether they (and others) can be blended into a team with the mettle and passion to scrap it out on the battlefield which is the English Championship Hornankey
  • Score: 5

10:58am Thu 30 Jan 14

Harry's Bar says...

Not sure about Nani saying Watford are an independent club....eight members of staff have just started language lessons in Italian.
Not sure about Nani saying Watford are an independent club....eight members of staff have just started language lessons in Italian. Harry's Bar
  • Score: -7

11:34am Thu 30 Jan 14

Kismet110 says...

I will only consider him a true mastermind if he finds that elusive pacy small, prolific striker for us by 11pm tomorrow.

Until then he will just be a run of the mill garden variety maestro.
I will only consider him a true mastermind if he finds that elusive pacy small, prolific striker for us by 11pm tomorrow. Until then he will just be a run of the mill garden variety maestro. Kismet110
  • Score: -15

11:41am Thu 30 Jan 14

jasonwatford says...

I really don't think we will be getting that pacy striker by 11pm tomorrow , the one they want will not be released to summer to will have to wait.
I really don't think we will be getting that pacy striker by 11pm tomorrow , the one they want will not be released to summer to will have to wait. jasonwatford
  • Score: 5

12:23pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Nick El Greco says...

Harry's Bar wrote:
Not sure about Nani saying Watford are an independent club....eight members of staff have just started language lessons in Italian.
what's the problem with that? nobody is telling them they're not allowed to speak english
[quote][p][bold]Harry's Bar[/bold] wrote: Not sure about Nani saying Watford are an independent club....eight members of staff have just started language lessons in Italian.[/p][/quote]what's the problem with that? nobody is telling them they're not allowed to speak english Nick El Greco
  • Score: 7

12:45pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Harry's Bar says...

Nick El Greco wrote:
Harry's Bar wrote:
Not sure about Nani saying Watford are an independent club....eight members of staff have just started language lessons in Italian.
what's the problem with that? nobody is telling them they're not allowed to speak english
I haven't got a problem with it, although you'd have thought if someone is phoning England they could have a go at speaking English, it is the International language after all.
[quote][p][bold]Nick El Greco[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Harry's Bar[/bold] wrote: Not sure about Nani saying Watford are an independent club....eight members of staff have just started language lessons in Italian.[/p][/quote]what's the problem with that? nobody is telling them they're not allowed to speak english[/p][/quote]I haven't got a problem with it, although you'd have thought if someone is phoning England they could have a go at speaking English, it is the International language after all. Harry's Bar
  • Score: -5

1:12pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Dunderdale Pinner says...

In response to Harry's Bar I would say that the English problem over many years has been "if the foreigners cannot understand, shout a little louder". The world has moved on and it goes a long way to cement relations to show a willingnes to try to speak some words in theikr language. I have done a considerable amout of travel on business, so I do have some experience.
In response to Harry's Bar I would say that the English problem over many years has been "if the foreigners cannot understand, shout a little louder". The world has moved on and it goes a long way to cement relations to show a willingnes to try to speak some words in theikr language. I have done a considerable amout of travel on business, so I do have some experience. Dunderdale Pinner
  • Score: 5

1:38pm Thu 30 Jan 14

Nick El Greco says...

McEachran couldn't understand the difference between backwards and forwards in English so at least they'll be one up on him
McEachran couldn't understand the difference between backwards and forwards in English so at least they'll be one up on him Nick El Greco
  • Score: 7

4:05pm Thu 30 Jan 14

the jesterwestport says...

what i really like about our new owners is .. say we had this exact squad 2/5/ or even 10 years ago well could u imagine us in any of the transfer windows holding onto anya abdi deeney angella etc and when u hear beppe says he wants to hold onto battachio well he gets to keep his man! watford minus a goal tonite get on but most importantly 3 points plz
what i really like about our new owners is .. say we had this exact squad 2/5/ or even 10 years ago well could u imagine us in any of the transfer windows holding onto anya abdi deeney angella etc and when u hear beppe says he wants to hold onto battachio well he gets to keep his man! watford minus a goal tonite get on but most importantly 3 points plz the jesterwestport
  • Score: 4

10:01pm Thu 30 Jan 14

esercito giallo says...

Nice one Andrea keep em coming
Nice one Andrea keep em coming esercito giallo
  • Score: 0

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