Generation Next is our regular feature on Just Football profiling the best young talents in the world. And here’s another to keep an eye on – Atalanta’s bustling midfielder Franck Kessie… Last summer, when Genoa former coach Gian Piero Gasperini made the move to Atalanta, after seven wonderful years spent in Liguria (interjected by spells […]
Monchi’s remit as sporting director saw him oversee the youth setup and install a vast scouting network across the globe. Sevilla were promoted to La Liga and never finished lower than 10th under his watch, netting an amazing five Europa League trophies in that time and two Copa del Reys.
Y Sevilla se puso guapa vistiéndose de rojo y blanco.
Y ahora, a currar para seguir soñando pic.twitter.com/EaeuGJkAsq
— Monchi (@leonsfdo) May 24, 2016
His departure from the club has now been confirmed, however, with reported offers from sides in England, Italy and France to pick between for next season (Roma are believed to be the most likely destination). Sevilla will have to readjust without the one club man who has been there for 17 years, and was at the club since the 80s, when he was their backup goalkeeper.
The club had success off the pitch, too. Though Sevilla produced noted youth talent including Diego Capel, Jose Antonio Reyes and Sergio Ramos, Monchi is best known for his transfer acumen.
Let’s take a look at some of the unknowns he signed for next-to-nothing and sold for eye-watering figures.
Monchi’s best deals – 14 Sevilla transfer coups
Sevilla snapped up then-unknown Brazilian full-back Dani Alves from Bahia for less than £500,000. After six years of rampaging up and down the right flank, he became the most expensive right-back of all time when Barcelona parted with over £30m to prise him away from Sevilla.
Profit: +£29.7 million
Signed from Lens for a meagre £3m in 2007, the Malian midfielder emerged as one of Europe’s best all-action midfield players in his sole season in Seville. Seven goals in all competitions from the middle of the park saw Seydou Keita snapped up by Barcelona. In order to get him, they paid his release clause of almost £12m.
Profit: +£9 million
The transformation of Julio Baptista at Sevilla was quite something. He arrived from Sao Paulo – for £3m – as a central midfielder. But his new club had other ideas. In Spain Baptista was converted to a brutish striker, reminiscent of Ronaldo and “The Emperor” Adriano at his peak. Two seasons, and almost 50 goals, saw him get a £17m move to Real Madrid. Unfortunately, he could not recreate his Sevilla form at Madrid, or anyone else.
Profit: +£14 million
Another Brazilian full-back picked up at a bargain price and sold to Barcelona at a profit. Adriano was not quite at the same level as Dani Alves, but for less than £2m he gave the club five solid years of service before joining the Catalans for close to £8m.
Profit: +£6 million
The name Christian Poulsen may make Liverpool fans shudder, a grim reminder of the ill-fated Roy Hodgson era. But before the Dane was a plodding, uncertain presence in the Liverpool midfield, he had been impressive at Sevilla. Signed by Monchi on a free transfer from Schalke after World Cup 2006, he performed well enough to earn a big move to Juventus for around £7m.
Profit: +£7 million
Gary Medel may not be the most refined footballer, but even the classiest teams need a defensive midfielder. And it’s even better if they have a nickname like “The Pitbull”. The Chilean signed from Boca Juniors for just over £2m, and raised eyebrows two years later by opting to join newly-promoted Premier League side Cardiff City for £9.75m. It didn’t really work out for Medel there, but Sevilla were happy to make a nice profit.
Profit: +£7.75 million
It’s amazing to think now that Sevilla signed Ivan Rakitic from Schalke a little over £2m – you wonder how much he would be worth now. The talented Croat spent four seasons at the club, captaining them in his final season, before walking the well-worn path to Barcelona for £15.3m, having been earmarked as Xavi’s replacement.
Profit: +£13.2 million
Thanks to Monchi’s huge scouting network, Sevilla will often get players from leagues that other big teams don’t deign to look at. So it was that Sevilla were able to sign Geoffrey Kondogbia for just £3m from Lens in French Ligue 2. He spent just one season in Spain before returning to France with Monaco. The super-rich principality club had to part with £17m to bring him back, though.
Profit: +£13.6 million
A late bloomer, the Colombian striker was a part-time fisherman and bus conductor in his teen years and did not turn professional until the age of 22. Carlos Bacca rose to prominence at Sevilla, who snapped him up from Club Brugge for £8.5m. It might seem a big fee compared to some, but two seasons and 49 goals later, AC Milan were parting with £25m for his services.
Profit: +£17 million
A virtual unknown when signed from Almeria, Aleix Vidal was a winger when Sevilla signed him for roughly £2m. But he really came into his own after being converted to an attack-minded full-back. His consistently excellent form attracted the attention of (who else?) Barcelona, who were convinced to part with £14m to sign the heir to Dani Alves’ throne.
Profit: +£12 million
The tough-tackling Polish central midfielder arrived from Reims for a bargain fee of £4.7m and took charge of the middle of the park. Two years later he was back in France, moving to PSG for nearly £30m. Grzegorz Krychowiak followed his boss Unai Emery from Sevilla to the French capital, in a move that proved another massive money-maker for the Spanish club, and yet more vindication for the Sevilla sporting director’s scouting system as it proved one of Monchi’s best deals – and among the most profitable.
Profit: +£23.9 million
A victim of the Qatari takeover of PSG, the French striker Kevin Gameiro was ousted from the side by big money, big reputation signings. Sevilla saw his ability, and took the opportunity to give him a fresh start. For a fee of less than £7m the French international provided 67 goals over three seasons. Then he was gone, for a profit. Atletico Madrid parted with £27.2m to sign him.
Profit: +£20.8 million
Tottenham Hotspur fans won’t remember Federico Fazio too fondly, but he is much more appreciated in Andalucia. He as signed for just £680,000 as an unknown teenager from the Argentine second division in 2007. Fazio initially cut his teeth with Sevilla’s “B” team for a season before graduating to the seniors. He eventually captained the club before Spurs swooped for £8.5m in 2014. He failed to adapt in north London, and returned to Sevilla for a second spell on loan, before ending up at Roma.
Profit: +£7.3 million
Contrary to their reputation, Real Madrid’s youth system does produce quality players. The problem is, they rarely turn out for Los Merengues. Alvaro Negredo was one such player. Sold to Almeria, he impressed enough to be re-signed by Madrid, only to be immediately sold on again.
Sevilla were the beneficiaries. They signed the forward for £12.8m and sold him on to oil-rich Manchester City for just over £21m four seasons and 85 goals later. Like some of the others on the list, he has been unable to replicate his Sevilla form elsewhere. These days he turns out for relegation battling Middlesbrough.
Profit: +£8.5 million
In case you wondered how good Monchi is at buying and selling players at Sevilla, look at this… pic.twitter.com/Ia3wsmiDyt
— UNILAD Football (@UNILADFooty) April 4, 2017
Which of Monchi’s best deals do you think was the most impressive? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @JustFootball and Facebook for more transfer news stories, football news, features and analysis.
Main image credit: Kevin Poh (Flickr)