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“Moneyball” Man Monchi: United’s ticket to prominence?


Famed for turning cheap buys into expensive sales, Seville’s director of sport Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo (or Monchi) has acquired over 200 players in 16 years. 

A perfect fit for Manchester United’s Director of Football position, Monchi has quite the reputation. The former footballer boasts a network of over 700 employees dedicated entirely to finding the latest talent, which he ranks in three categories.

  • Category A – To be acquired immediately
  • Group B – “Very Interesting” players
  • Category C – Need to be followed

Monchi, the Sevilla miracle man:

When Monchi took over in 2000, Sevilla faced a financial crisis and had just been relegated. A few years ago at this time, they were seeking their third title in a row. It was their fifth in a decade, and success is what most satisfies.

The former goalkeeper has been hailed as the secret behind the Spanish club’s success in recent years. The period is also deemed as a tenure famed for shrewd transfer-market dealings. Sevilla won a record five Europa Leagues, including three in succession between 2014 and 2016, two Copa del Reys, the Supercopa de Espana and the UEFA Super Cup.


What very few know about Monchi is that he is a self-confessed Coca-Cola addict. His eye for picking up unknown players and giving them the opportunity to perform in Spain, is however undeniable.

The Spaniard turned Dani Alves into a €40 million sale to Barcelona. The Brazilian was acquired for a mere €500.000. Among the others, Ivan Rakitic cost him €2.5m, Carlos Bacca €7m, Gary Medel €3m… only to be sold for €18m, €30m and €13m respectively. 

This all totals to €300m’s worth of profits from the transfer market alone. His scouting set-up further saw Sevilla unearth gems from their academy like Sergio Ramos, Jesus Navas, and Jose Antonio Reyes.

But despite running the show at Sevilla, it appeared as though the restrictions at the club had taken its toll. A continued pressure to perform on such a tight budget and an ever-increasing demand for results, looked to have taken the transfer genius to breaking point.

As a result, he decided to seek greener pastures in the form of Serie-A giants Roma. The Spaniard signed a four-year contract before returning back to Sevilla after just two years.

Unsuccessful stint at Roma:

Unfortunately, while focused on adapting to his new environment in Rome, there was a negative impact on the factors Monchi has highlighted as the most important for success.

He said: “I left Rome for a simple reason: we realised that the idea of ownership was different than mine. The president thought it was better to go to the right, I to the left. It was not right to continue like this. I can only speak well of Pallotta and of all those who had a reason to take me to Rome. You will never hear my word against society and against Rome. We understood that the roads were different and we decided to stop.”


Monchi’s signings in Rome didn’t turn out to be as effective. The failure of attacking players, and defensive issues not being addressed, came under special focus. Although the sales of Mohamed Salah, Antonio Rudiger, Radja Nainggolan and Alisson, to name just a few, brought in plenty of transfer funds, new signings repeatedly failed to fill the shoes of their predecessors.

Monchi could have moved to London with the Gunners but turned them down, in favour of a return to Sevilla. The Gunners recently sacked Unai Emery and remain rudderless.

Understanding the method and strategy involved:

At Sevilla, he had nearly 20 scouts watching games around the globe, while he himself would watch as many as 10 games a weekend.

From that he would keep an updated list of around 250 potential transfers, in all positions and with a range of degrees of interest. From there he would close in on specific targets as his manager required, removing some when negotiations became too complex.

This constantly expanding and deepening scouting network ensured Sevilla could react to replace any player. It would prove to be a key reason that the club could continue to contend on all frontiers for more than a decade.

The deal-making don spent 17 years with the Spanish side as a player and a director of football. This has earned him a wealth of player profile knowledge, with the art of conducting shrewd business.

As player transfer fees, agent fees, image rights and several other technicalities complicate the already enough complex process of the sale/purchase of a player, the ever-increasing number of zeros at the end of the fees don’t let the investors let out money easy as money is no guarantee for success.

Monchi ticks all these boxes including his never-ending loyalty to Sevilla (the last bit, unfortunately for Manchester United). A club that’s looking to get back to where it belongs but is clearly to be targeted as a deer in headlights because of its desperate situation.

One thing is for sure. The future of Sevilla looks very bright.


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