Blues eye su­per scout to take over Eme­nalo as tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor

Arab News - - SPORTS - DUN­CAN CAS­TLES

Iden­ti­fy­ing then re­cruit­ing the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Le­mar, An­thony Mar­tial, Ben­jamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Fabinho, Luis Cam­pos built an AS Monaco squad ca­pa­ble of dethroning Paris Saint-Ger­main as French cham­pi­ons while si­mul­ta­ne­ously gen­er­at­ing un­prece­dented sums in trans­fer fees.

Cur­rently em­ployed by Lille and for­merly Jose Mour­inho’s se­nior scout at Real Madrid, the Por­tuguese is said to be in­ter­ested in the op­por­tu­nity. His work at Monaco — which also helped the prin­ci­pal­ity club reach last sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League semi­fi­nals — re­sulted in the club gross­ing “€360mil­lion or there­abouts” in trans­fer rev­enue last sum­mer alone, ac­cord­ing to Vice Pres­i­dent Vadim Vasi­lyev.

In 2015, Monaco be­came the first club to se­cure more than €200 mil­lion in trans­fer fees in a sin­gle win­dow. In both sum­mers a global record fee was se­cured for a teenager through the sales of Mar­tial to Manch­ester United for a po­ten­tial €80 mil­lion ($93 mil­lion) and Mbappe to PSG for a guar­an­teed €180 mil­lion. Cam­pos spe­cial­izes in the age range, one which is of par­tic­u­lar im­por­tance to Chelsea.

Eme­nalo re­signed last week, cit­ing a desire to spend more time with his fam­ily as a rea­son for vol­un­tar­ily bring­ing a close to a 10-year spell in which his role evolved from Avram Grant’s op­po­si­tion scout through an en­forced ap­point­ment as Carlo Ancelotti’s as­sis­tant to his 2011 elevation to tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor.

Brought to Stam­ford Bridge from a job coach­ing school­girls at Tuc­son Soc­cer Academy, the for­mer Nige­ria in­ter­na­tional over­saw a modernization and ra­tio­nal­iza­tion of Chelsea’s scout­ing sys­tem that helped turn sub­stan­tial prof­its on a num­ber of first-team and farm­sys­tem play­ers.

It is un­der­stood that owner Ro­man Abramovich at­tempted to pre­vent Eme­nalo’s exit, the Nige­rian hav­ing es­tab­lished him­self as a val­ued pair of eyes and coun­sel at Chelsea’s train­ing ground, in the dress­ing room and be­hind the bench. Eme­nalo also served as a buf­fer be­tween Abramovich’s man­agers, de facto chief ex­ec­u­tive Ma­rina Gra­novskaia and the board.

Iron­i­cally, Eme­nalo is ex­pected to take on Cam­pos’ for­mer role as Monaco’s sport­ing di­rec­tor. Should that ap­point­ment be con­firmed, the 52-year-old can look for­ward to a sub­stan­tial in­crease in his af­ter-tax re­mu­ner­a­tion.

Asked about the pos­si­bil­ity of work­ing at a Pre­mier League club in an in­ter­view with Ya­hoo Sport ear­lier this year, Cam­pos said: “It may hap­pen, but I think most English clubs do not know how to re­cruit for an is­sue that I al­most think is cul­tural as al­most ev­ery­one makes the same mis­take.

“English clubs really, really like top at­tack­ing play­ers, yet to a large ex­tent make them play along­side medium-qual­ity de­fenses. And that, in my opin­ion, ex­plains their rel­a­tive lack of suc­cess in Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tions de­spite them spend­ing ex­or­bi­tant sums in re­cent years.

“Suc­cess­fully build­ing a good team project al­ways in­volves the abil­ity of play­ers to re­late and ‘match’ to each other. In the Pre­mier League there is a big dif­fer­ence be­tween great tal­ents and the medium qual­ity of sup­port for the same of­fen­sive tal­ent. Most teams lack great de­fend­ers and de­fen­sive mid­field­ers.

“So I do not know if they would un­der­stand me cul­tur­ally. The great for­wards who are al­ready in the Pre­mier League would be even bet­ter if they had the sup­port of great full backs, for ex­am­ple. And how many great full backs are there in Eng­land? Right now, maybe just Tot­ten­ham’s.”

LON­DON: Chelsea have ap­proached the man re­garded as Euro­pean foot­ball’s most ac­com­plished tal­ent scout to can­vas his in­ter­est in suc­ceed­ing Michael Eme­nalo as the club’s tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor.

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