By Tony Attwood
So the word is that Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo known to us ordinary folk on Monchi, is going to be our new technical director. He is Spanish, so can talk to our manager, is 50 years old, and played in goal being one of those goal keepers who spent most of his time playing as a back up, rarely making the first choice except when injury hit the man before him. He is currently director of football as AS Roma.
Monchi became Sevilla director of football in 2000. He instituted a major new scouting system and his scouts picked up among others a certain Jose Antonio Reyes, and Julio Baptista, whom you may recall having seen. Jesús Navas was also one of his finds.
He is also known as a profit maker in terms of buying and selling players – and this could be another sign that the Wengerian model of running a club in order to pay for the stadium is now being used by the owner as a way of making profit for himself.
By the time Monchi left Sevilla in April 2017, he had played his part in a run of 11 trophies – and that is when he went to Roma working under Eusebio Di Francesco where the club continued its five year run of always ending up second or third. This season however has not been so good with the club currently fifth, 25 points behind the leaders Juventus. They might make third by the end of the season but that is far from guaranteed.
However it is the Sevilla connection that is central to this appointment, if it is confirmed,as Monchi built the three-time Europa League-winning squad for Emery there.
If we do get Monchi it will be a bit of a slap in the eye for the blogs and newspapers who for a second time have been saying that Marc Overmars is the man to replace Sven Milsintat.
Monchi’s contract, in common with most football contracts, expires on 30 June. If he does come Monchi will be in charge of recruitment. The tale being touted is that Monchi will be given full control of recruitment, which is, it seems, what Sven Milsintat thought he had negotiated.
Also being talked up is that the continuing expansion and development of the Arsenal youth system built by Arsene Wenger will continue – hopefully without getting into the all the financial and legal scrapes that Chelsea and Liverpool have done of late.
Certainly this area is going to be important, not just because Arsenal are not getting the development funds of Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool, but also because of political moves.
None of us knows what regulations will be brought in, in the aftermath of the UK leaving the EU, but certainly the signing of 16 year olds from the EU will be stopped, as that is dependent on us being in the EU not outside it, and the FA are pushing hard to extend the restriction on the number of foreign players that can be listed in each first team squad of 25 players.
Monchi indeed might do well to focus on youth as Sven is a hard act to follow, having brought us Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sokratis, Torreira, and Guendouzi.
In the discussion of these developments there has been some suggestion that the conflict that arose was that Sven was particularly buying older players such as Lichsteiner, rather than the younger men that the manager wanted. Whether true or not it is hard to say; I suspect the owner’s restrictions on money has a lot to do with it all.
One additional attraction is that with Monchi ending his contract there will be no compensation to pay – so money saving all round it seems. Monchi is a lot less famous than Sven, so his salary will be far less too, I suspect.
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