Interview

Eye for talent

A mastermind of player recruitment and development, sporting director Monchi explains the secrets behind Sevilla’s success

INTERVIEW Graham Hunter

“The president sets the economic tone, the coach decides the player profile he needs and the sporting department gathers names. The coach could say, ‘Look, I want a left-footed right winger.’ From all the work we’ve done we say, ‘Coach, we have names that meet that player profile.’ On that list, if there’s one he knows then it’s the icing on the cake – the squaring of the circle. There’s no time to waste: let’s try and sign that player.

“July to December is when we expand and fill our database; it’s when we watch the most football. But we’re not looking for one specific player; in the second half of the season, our monitoring of those players highlighted during the first half is more comprehensive, much more precise. Then we scout each of those players seven or eight times. We draw up a final list, which will serve as a starting point when discussing with the coach. In the end we have a list with around 200 players – around 15 to 18 players per position. That’s the list we show the coach when he decides the type of player he needs.

Centre-back Jules Koundé has turned heads since joining Sevilla

“There are 12 of us in the sporting department. We divided the championships into three big groups: tier one championships, tier two championships and tier three championships. They are not divided into the most important and the least important championships; instead they are the championships from which Sevilla have traditionally signed the most players.

“Whoever has been assigned the French league comes up with a dream team based on his reports in July, August, September, October and November. Same thing for whoever has been assigned the Italian league, the English league, the Brazilian league, etc. By the end of December we have watched between 2,500 and 3,000 players and we have 25 or 30 reports about a single player. I don’t have time to look at all the reports so what do we do? A very easy grading system: A, B, C, D and E. Then when I read a report I can quickly see, say, D, A, B, D, A, C, B, A – there’s a very interesting player. A player with an A grade is a player we’d sign straight away.  I don’t spend time on these reports because I completely trust my team. I know that they have watched the players a lot more than I have, so they can classify them a lot better than me.

“The president sets the economic tone, the coach decides the player profile he needs and the sporting department gathers names. The coach could say, ‘Look, I want a left-footed right winger.’ From all the work we’ve done we say, ‘Coach, we have names that meet that player profile.’ On that list, if there’s one he knows then it’s the icing on the cake – the squaring of the circle. There’s no time to waste: let’s try and sign that player.

“July to December is when we expand and fill our database; it’s when we watch the most football. But we’re not looking for one specific player; in the second half of the season, our monitoring of those players highlighted during the first half is more comprehensive, much more precise. Then we scout each of those players seven or eight times. We draw up a final list, which will serve as a starting point when discussing with the coach. In the end we have a list with around 200 players – around 15 to 18 players per position. That’s the list we show the coach when he decides the type of player he needs.

Centre-back Jules Koundé has turned heads since joining Sevilla

“There are 12 of us in the sporting department. We divided the championships into three big groups: tier one championships, tier two championships and tier three championships. They are not divided into the most important and the least important championships; instead they are the championships from which Sevilla have traditionally signed the most players.

“Whoever has been assigned the French league comes up with a dream team based on his reports in July, August, September, October and November. Same thing for whoever has been assigned the Italian league, the English league, the Brazilian league, etc. By the end of December we have watched between 2,500 and 3,000 players and we have 25 or 30 reports about a single player. I don’t have time to look at all the reports so what do we do? A very easy grading system: A, B, C, D and E. Then when I read a report I can quickly see, say, D, A, B, D, A, C, B, A – there’s a very interesting player. A player with an A grade is a player we’d sign straight away.  I don’t spend time on these reports because I completely trust my team. I know that they have watched the players a lot more than I have, so they can classify them a lot better than me.

Read the full story
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“I believe in making errors because they help us to grow – as long as you admit them and you do what’s necessary so that they don’t happen again. In 2005, when Real Madrid took Sergio Ramos from us, that transfer happened on the last day of the player market, on 31 August. I hadn’t anticipated that we would need to look for a defender because I didn’t think Sergio would leave.

“With virtually no time, we tried our luck. I had heard of a guy called Ivica Dragutinović. I didn’t know him. He was playing for Standard de Liège. I called four or five people who knew Belgian football and they told me very good things about him. We signed Dragutinović without any references. He proved to be a very good signing but it was by pure luck; this success wasn’t down to the sporting department. Since then we’ve always followed players in every position. We’ve changed the way we work since that error; before that we would only follow players in positions we thought we would need. I call it the Dragutinović Error.

“I always refer to Dani Alves’s transfer as the best Sevilla have made in the past few years, and the one I feel most proud of because the whole process ticked along nicely. It was a complex transfer. We are talking about a time that was very different. Now you can send an email from any device; at that time we used fax. Truth be told, it was also a last-minute operation: the fax wasn’t coming through. When it eventually did it had more correction pen marks than actual ink. It was all very complicated but luckily, at the eleventh hour, we brought Daniel on board.

Dani Alves was a great Monchi signing

“The 70-30 rule is not a strict rule, but I always use it to give me an idea when planning on a transfer. I try to have 70% of players who might not produce immediate performances, but are potential future assets that Sevilla can sell or look to make a profit on. The 30% refers to those players that maybe don’t have a high future sell-on value, but can produce immediate performances. That helps the other 70% of players to grow.

“Jules Koundé became part of that 70%: a young player who we didn’t make demands on in terms of performances, but were convinced could grow as a player. His first six months were about his adaptation, with good performances and not-so-good performances; logical and normal steps must be taken to enable the player to grow. Youssef En-Nesyri is a similar story. He came from Leganés, he had six months of adaptation and now he is performing well. In Koundé’s case we had that confidence and we had to be patient. Dani Alves is a similar case to that one, and we can say a lot about players who need time to adapt in order to perform and continue to flourish.”

“The president sets the economic tone, the coach decides the player profile he needs and the sporting department gathers names. The coach could say, ‘Look, I want a left-footed right winger.’ From all the work we’ve done we say, ‘Coach, we have names that meet that player profile.’ On that list, if there’s one he knows then it’s the icing on the cake – the squaring of the circle. There’s no time to waste: let’s try and sign that player.

“July to December is when we expand and fill our database; it’s when we watch the most football. But we’re not looking for one specific player; in the second half of the season, our monitoring of those players highlighted during the first half is more comprehensive, much more precise. Then we scout each of those players seven or eight times. We draw up a final list, which will serve as a starting point when discussing with the coach. In the end we have a list with around 200 players – around 15 to 18 players per position. That’s the list we show the coach when he decides the type of player he needs.

Centre-back Jules Koundé has turned heads since joining Sevilla

“There are 12 of us in the sporting department. We divided the championships into three big groups: tier one championships, tier two championships and tier three championships. They are not divided into the most important and the least important championships; instead they are the championships from which Sevilla have traditionally signed the most players.

“Whoever has been assigned the French league comes up with a dream team based on his reports in July, August, September, October and November. Same thing for whoever has been assigned the Italian league, the English league, the Brazilian league, etc. By the end of December we have watched between 2,500 and 3,000 players and we have 25 or 30 reports about a single player. I don’t have time to look at all the reports so what do we do? A very easy grading system: A, B, C, D and E. Then when I read a report I can quickly see, say, D, A, B, D, A, C, B, A – there’s a very interesting player. A player with an A grade is a player we’d sign straight away.  I don’t spend time on these reports because I completely trust my team. I know that they have watched the players a lot more than I have, so they can classify them a lot better than me.

Eye for talent
Interview

Eye for talent

A mastermind of player recruitment and development, sporting director Monchi explains the secrets behind Sevilla’s success

INTERVIEW Graham Hunter

“The president sets the economic tone, the coach decides the player profile he needs and the sporting department gathers names. The coach could say, ‘Look, I want a left-footed right winger.’ From all the work we’ve done we say, ‘Coach, we have names that meet that player profile.’ On that list, if there’s one he knows then it’s the icing on the cake – the squaring of the circle. There’s no time to waste: let’s try and sign that player.

“July to December is when we expand and fill our database; it’s when we watch the most football. But we’re not looking for one specific player; in the second half of the season, our monitoring of those players highlighted during the first half is more comprehensive, much more precise. Then we scout each of those players seven or eight times. We draw up a final list, which will serve as a starting point when discussing with the coach. In the end we have a list with around 200 players – around 15 to 18 players per position. That’s the list we show the coach when he decides the type of player he needs.

Centre-back Jules Koundé has turned heads since joining Sevilla

“There are 12 of us in the sporting department. We divided the championships into three big groups: tier one championships, tier two championships and tier three championships. They are not divided into the most important and the least important championships; instead they are the championships from which Sevilla have traditionally signed the most players.

“Whoever has been assigned the French league comes up with a dream team based on his reports in July, August, September, October and November. Same thing for whoever has been assigned the Italian league, the English league, the Brazilian league, etc. By the end of December we have watched between 2,500 and 3,000 players and we have 25 or 30 reports about a single player. I don’t have time to look at all the reports so what do we do? A very easy grading system: A, B, C, D and E. Then when I read a report I can quickly see, say, D, A, B, D, A, C, B, A – there’s a very interesting player. A player with an A grade is a player we’d sign straight away.  I don’t spend time on these reports because I completely trust my team. I know that they have watched the players a lot more than I have, so they can classify them a lot better than me.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

“The president sets the economic tone, the coach decides the player profile he needs and the sporting department gathers names. The coach could say, ‘Look, I want a left-footed right winger.’ From all the work we’ve done we say, ‘Coach, we have names that meet that player profile.’ On that list, if there’s one he knows then it’s the icing on the cake – the squaring of the circle. There’s no time to waste: let’s try and sign that player.

“July to December is when we expand and fill our database; it’s when we watch the most football. But we’re not looking for one specific player; in the second half of the season, our monitoring of those players highlighted during the first half is more comprehensive, much more precise. Then we scout each of those players seven or eight times. We draw up a final list, which will serve as a starting point when discussing with the coach. In the end we have a list with around 200 players – around 15 to 18 players per position. That’s the list we show the coach when he decides the type of player he needs.

Centre-back Jules Koundé has turned heads since joining Sevilla

“There are 12 of us in the sporting department. We divided the championships into three big groups: tier one championships, tier two championships and tier three championships. They are not divided into the most important and the least important championships; instead they are the championships from which Sevilla have traditionally signed the most players.

“Whoever has been assigned the French league comes up with a dream team based on his reports in July, August, September, October and November. Same thing for whoever has been assigned the Italian league, the English league, the Brazilian league, etc. By the end of December we have watched between 2,500 and 3,000 players and we have 25 or 30 reports about a single player. I don’t have time to look at all the reports so what do we do? A very easy grading system: A, B, C, D and E. Then when I read a report I can quickly see, say, D, A, B, D, A, C, B, A – there’s a very interesting player. A player with an A grade is a player we’d sign straight away.  I don’t spend time on these reports because I completely trust my team. I know that they have watched the players a lot more than I have, so they can classify them a lot better than me.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

“I believe in making errors because they help us to grow – as long as you admit them and you do what’s necessary so that they don’t happen again. In 2005, when Real Madrid took Sergio Ramos from us, that transfer happened on the last day of the player market, on 31 August. I hadn’t anticipated that we would need to look for a defender because I didn’t think Sergio would leave.

“With virtually no time, we tried our luck. I had heard of a guy called Ivica Dragutinović. I didn’t know him. He was playing for Standard de Liège. I called four or five people who knew Belgian football and they told me very good things about him. We signed Dragutinović without any references. He proved to be a very good signing but it was by pure luck; this success wasn’t down to the sporting department. Since then we’ve always followed players in every position. We’ve changed the way we work since that error; before that we would only follow players in positions we thought we would need. I call it the Dragutinović Error.

“I always refer to Dani Alves’s transfer as the best Sevilla have made in the past few years, and the one I feel most proud of because the whole process ticked along nicely. It was a complex transfer. We are talking about a time that was very different. Now you can send an email from any device; at that time we used fax. Truth be told, it was also a last-minute operation: the fax wasn’t coming through. When it eventually did it had more correction pen marks than actual ink. It was all very complicated but luckily, at the eleventh hour, we brought Daniel on board.

Dani Alves was a great Monchi signing

“The 70-30 rule is not a strict rule, but I always use it to give me an idea when planning on a transfer. I try to have 70% of players who might not produce immediate performances, but are potential future assets that Sevilla can sell or look to make a profit on. The 30% refers to those players that maybe don’t have a high future sell-on value, but can produce immediate performances. That helps the other 70% of players to grow.

“Jules Koundé became part of that 70%: a young player who we didn’t make demands on in terms of performances, but were convinced could grow as a player. His first six months were about his adaptation, with good performances and not-so-good performances; logical and normal steps must be taken to enable the player to grow. Youssef En-Nesyri is a similar story. He came from Leganés, he had six months of adaptation and now he is performing well. In Koundé’s case we had that confidence and we had to be patient. Dani Alves is a similar case to that one, and we can say a lot about players who need time to adapt in order to perform and continue to flourish.”

“The president sets the economic tone, the coach decides the player profile he needs and the sporting department gathers names. The coach could say, ‘Look, I want a left-footed right winger.’ From all the work we’ve done we say, ‘Coach, we have names that meet that player profile.’ On that list, if there’s one he knows then it’s the icing on the cake – the squaring of the circle. There’s no time to waste: let’s try and sign that player.

“July to December is when we expand and fill our database; it’s when we watch the most football. But we’re not looking for one specific player; in the second half of the season, our monitoring of those players highlighted during the first half is more comprehensive, much more precise. Then we scout each of those players seven or eight times. We draw up a final list, which will serve as a starting point when discussing with the coach. In the end we have a list with around 200 players – around 15 to 18 players per position. That’s the list we show the coach when he decides the type of player he needs.

Centre-back Jules Koundé has turned heads since joining Sevilla

“There are 12 of us in the sporting department. We divided the championships into three big groups: tier one championships, tier two championships and tier three championships. They are not divided into the most important and the least important championships; instead they are the championships from which Sevilla have traditionally signed the most players.

“Whoever has been assigned the French league comes up with a dream team based on his reports in July, August, September, October and November. Same thing for whoever has been assigned the Italian league, the English league, the Brazilian league, etc. By the end of December we have watched between 2,500 and 3,000 players and we have 25 or 30 reports about a single player. I don’t have time to look at all the reports so what do we do? A very easy grading system: A, B, C, D and E. Then when I read a report I can quickly see, say, D, A, B, D, A, C, B, A – there’s a very interesting player. A player with an A grade is a player we’d sign straight away.  I don’t spend time on these reports because I completely trust my team. I know that they have watched the players a lot more than I have, so they can classify them a lot better than me.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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