“If the coach tells me he wants a short, mobile left-back, there’s no point in me buying him a tall, static right-back.”
“I consider myself a tool for the manager. Unai Emery tells me the profile of player he is looking for. Then, my scouting team starts working. Coordination with the manager is very important. Coordination in the scouting structure as well.”
– Monchi (Source)
Well, that’s Ramón Rodríguez “Monchi” Verdejoto to begin with – uncomplicated, precise and pragmatic. Thanks to him, Sevilla are considered as one of the most productive clubs in Europe at this point in time. Their ability to buy players on the cheap, nurture and integrate them seamlessly into the team while being successful has provoked envious glances from clubs across Europe and in the process has made ‘Monchi’ one of the most sought-after sporting directors in club football.
Having come through the ranks of the Andalusian based club, Monchi plied his trade as a goalkeeper before deciding to hang up his boots in 1999 prematurely, aged just 30, and in the following season when Sevilla were relegated from the Spanish top-flight, he was appointed as the club’s sporting director.
Monchi hasn’t looked back ever since, he has created an extensive scouting network that spans across the globe and has managed to unearth gems who have either gone on to have fulfilling careers at Sevilla and or have been sold for massive profits.
Dani Alves, Sergio Ramos, Jose Antonio Reyes, Gary Medel, Luis Fabiano, Alberto Moreno and Geoffrey Kondogbia are some of the notable signings that have been made under his regime. Dani Alves, in particular, must be considered as a coup as he was signed for a meagre £500,000 from Bahia in 2003 and was later sold to Barcelona for a hefty £23.5 million five years later.
Monchi is known for such astute moves in the transfer market; this is exactly what he has doing since the turn of the millennium – it is hardly surprising that his already enhanced reputation has been burgeoning ever since.
One of Monchi’s key yet underrated strength is his ability to work admirably with his managers. He has worked with 9 different managers and there has not been a single reported instance of a bust-up or animosity between him and his manager.
Sevilla’s 5-4 defeat to Barcelona in the European super cup, if anything to go by, was a clear indication of the club’s standing among Europe’s elite. They are just about good enough to compete with any club in Europe, but not enough to win the major honours just yet.
The way they clawed back from 4-1 down to make it 4-4 against arguably the best team in the world exemplifies Sevilla’s rise in recent years.
Monchi, having stabilized the club, more than anyone, knows that the time has come for him and the club to go the extra mile and push for top prizes in European club football. If Sevilla keep improving the way they have in recent years, it might not be too distant a dream.
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