Rarely in football does a Director of Football find themselves in the news for having a positive impact at a club but for Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo, or Monchi as he’s commonly known, that most certainly is the case.
Monchi, a former goalkeeper who spent his entire career at Sevilla, oversaw a truly remarkable turnaround during his 17-year spell as their director, helping to transform a rudderless club languishing in Spain’s Segunda Division into a major force domestically and continentally.
In his first season Sevilla achieved promotion, and since then they’ve never failed to finish outside the top 10 in La Liga, collecting five Europa Leagues and two Copa del Reys along the way.
Monchi’s role in their success has been twofold: he’s helped to revitalise their academy as well as establish one of the most successful transfer models in European football, based on a buy-low-sell-high strategy. Sevilla’s scouting network branched out far and wide and the club have gained plenty of success by tapping into underappreciated markets in South America and smaller European leagues.
A glance through Sevilla’s dealings over the past 17 seasons truly highlights the remarkable job Monchi did, as plenty of stars have been signed for peanuts and sold for multi-millions.
Now, though, Roma will hope to bear the fruits of Monchi’s work as he finally ended his association with Sevilla for a stint in Serie A.
OFFICIAL: Roma have confirmed Monchi has landed in Rome ahead of his expected appointment as sporting director. pic.twitter.com/hnui09PStE
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) April 24, 2017
They will certainly be hoping he can land them some bargains, just like these players from his time in Seville.
*All fees have been taken from Transfermarkt.
Signed from: Bahia (2002)
Sold to: Barcelona (2008)
Alongside Luis Fabiano and Frederic Kanoute, Monchi ranks Dani Alves in his top three ever signings, and it isn’t hard to see why.
At the age of 19, Alves was plucked from the obscurity of Brazilian club Bahia, initially on loan and then on a permanent basis for under half a million pounds.
Six years, 246 appearances, two Uefa Cups and a Copa del Rey later, he was transferred to Barcelona for £26.63 million, becoming the most expensive right-back of all time.
Signed from: São Paulo (2003)
Sold to: Real Madrid (2005)
Julio Baptista arrived at Sevilla as a solid, if unspectacular defensive midfielder from Brazilian football, but left just two years later as a prolific brute of a striker.
Nicknamed ‘The Beast’ due to his immense frame, Baptista struck 47 goals in his two seasons at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, earning a big-money move to Real Madrid in 2005.
In hindsight, he probably would’ve been better off staying put as he struggled to emulate his form Sevilla elsewhere.
Signed from: Coritiba (2004)
Sold to: Barcelona (2010)
You may notice a theme here. Certainly in the early days, Monchi regularly scoured the Brazilian market for bargains and Adriano, while not as spectacular as his compatriot Alves on the opposite flank, was another excellent addition.
Just like Alves, Sevilla got six good years out of Adriano before selling him to Barcelona for a tidy profit.
Signed from: Ferro Carril (2006)
Sold to: Tottenham Hotspur (2014)
Another money-spinning gem signed from South America. Sevilla somehow stumbled across Federico Fazio as a teenager while he was playing in the Argentine second tier for Ferro Carril.
They quickly snapped him up and sent him to play with their B team, before gradually developing him into their first-choice centre-back and captain. Following a disappointing spell with Spurs, Fazio returned to Sevilla on loan in January 2016 and now plies his trade for Monchi’s current club, Roma.
Signed from: Schalke 04 (2006)
Sold to: Juventus (2008)
Yes Liverpool fans, it’s the same Christian Poulsen. Maybe Monchi is a magician after all. Sevilla didn’t spend a single penny on the Danish defensive midfielder, snapping him up on a Bosman free transfer from Schalke 04 after the 2006 World Cup.
Following an excellent couple of seasons in Andalusia, Poulsen was transferred to Juventus for just over £7 million, where it would be fair to say he found it tougher to secure a regular spot in the team.
Signed from: Lens (2007)
Sold to: Barcelona (2008)
With Sevilla in need of a midfield general for the 2007-08 season, Monchi and his scouting team came across Seydou Keita playing for Lens in France, securing him for a bargain £3m.
A season of all-action displays followed before the Malian embarked on the well-trodden path to Barcelona, becoming a key squad player for the next four years in Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering side.
Signed from: Universidad Católica (2011)
Sold to: Cardiff City (2013)
He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but no one can deny Gary Medel (or the Pitbull as he’s affectionately referred to) is extremely effective at what he does, i.e. snapping into tackles and generally making a nuisance of himself. Think of a South American Robbie Savage.
The Chilean spent two years at Sevilla before moving to Cardiff City, where he excelled despite the club suffering relegation in their first season in the Premier League. Nowadays, Medel is giving Turkish attackers sleepless nights as he patrols Besiktas’ defence.
Signed from: Schalke (2010)
Sold to: Barcelona (2014)
Aside from Sevilla, Barcelona are the perhaps the biggest losers from Monchi’s departure seeing as they’ve benefited more than anyone from his eye for talent, Ivan Rakitic being the most recent example.
With his contract winding down at Schalke, Sevilla signed him for a bargain £1.88 million, and he quickly established himself as one of the best midfielders in Spain, captaining the side to their 2014 Europa League triumph before leaving for Catalunya.
Signed from: Barcelona (2011)
Sold to: Juventus (2012)
A rare transaction between Sevilla and Barcelona that saw a player swap the Camp Nou for the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Martin Caceres enjoyed a productive loan spell in Andalusia before signing permanently the following season.
The versatile Uruguayan spent just one season as a Sevilla-owned player, though, leaving in 2012 for Juventus.
Signed from: Lens (2012)
Sold to: Monaco (2013)
Yet another starlet signed from a lower league club abroad, Geoffrey Kondogbia moved to Spanish football after just one full season in Ligue 2 with Lens, but quickly made a big impression at his new club.
The Frenchman’s excellent displays in central midfield sparked interest from a host of top European clubs, but it was newly-promoted Monaco who took the plunge on him for £15 million – five times what Sevilla paid just one year previously.
Signed from: Club Brugge (2013)
Sold to: Milan (2015)
An example of just how far-reaching Sevilla’s scouting network spans is Carlos Bacca, who was signed from Club Brugge in the Belgian Pro League for just over £5 million.
The Colombian hit the ground running straight away, netting 21 goals in his first season and then 28 the next campaign to secure a dream move to Milan in 2015. He’s now back in La Liga after penning a season-long loan deal with Villarreal.
Sold to: Barcelona (2015)
Signed as a talented but inconsistent winger, Aleix Vidal was converted into a marauding right-sided full-back in the mould of Dani Alves, playing a key role in Sevilla’s Europa League win in his first season.
His electric displays on the flank attracted the attention of, you guessed it, Barcelona, who snapped him up in the summer of 2015 in spite of their transfer ban.
Sold to: PSG (2016)
The biggest money-spinner on this list bar Alves, defensive midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak had been kicking around Ligue 2 and the lower half of the French top flight before Monchi snapped him up for £5m as a 24-year-old.
The Poland international was sold on to PSG for about five times that amount, but not before helping the club to two Europa League titles in as many years in Seville.
Total spent – £29,403,000
Total received – £177,570,000
Profit – £148,167,000