Reports in the Seville-based publication El Desmarque say that Sevilla’s much-heralded sporting director, Monchi (real name: Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo) has announced that he will be leaving the three-time Europa League winners.
Allegedly a heated meeting at the Sánchez Pizjuán ended with the 47-year-old cancelling two prearranged appearances on the club’s television channel. If the news turns out to be true, this would be the most devastating departure the Europa League holders have had to contend with in the last 15 years.
Monchi’s contract with the La Liga side runs for another year and, while this is not the first time news has been leaked out about a possible move elsewhere, never before has he declared his intentions so forcefully to the board.
Manchester United have been linked with Monchi for several months now as Jose Mourinho is said to be a big admirer of Monchi’s successful recruitment policy at Sevilla.
Monchi is one the best sporting directors is the game with an uncanny ability to find and recruit players that nobody else knows off. During his time in Sevilla, he has helped club make a £152 million profit in the transfer market over the last 10 years!
Just as important he has won nine titles with Sevilla, the most recent coming two weeks ago when Unai Emery’s team came from behind to beat Liverpool in Basel and clinch their third successive Europa League trophy.
In a May interview with the Daily Mail, Monchi gave a fascinating insight into his approach of finding and identifying players:
“The first five months of the season we watch an incredible amount of football but with no particular criteria.
‘There are 16 scouts and each concentrates on his league and every month comes up with an ideal XI. In December, with all the accumulated information, we start to look at the players who made the ideal XI month after month. We end up with around 700 names.
‘We now all forget our own leagues and focus on the players. We watch them five or six times each under different circumstances – home, away, international. And then from the first of May we do another ideal XI with around 20 players for each position.”
Since Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill left their full-time positions at United three years ago, the area that has suffered the most from their departure has been player recruitment.
Jose Mourinho will help United attract the big stars, but Monchi would provide the guidance and scouting network that will allow United to add quality players without having to play over-the-top prices for them.
If Monchi does end up at Old Trafford, it would also allow Ed Woodward to move away from the playing side and focus on the commercial side of the club, where he is a lot more useful and successful.