The feature length interview with Sky Sport and Roma sporting director Ramon Monchi has been released. These are his words:
January is here. Do you feel a bit like Santa Claus when the transfer market opens?
Yes, when the transfer market arrives, whether in the summer or winter, the world revolves around sporting directors, everyone expects them to buy three or four important players, but for me, the January transfer market is usually not for overhauling a team, it’s to change a few little things. If you have to make 4 or 5 purchases, it means that something went wrong in the summer. I never buy a player a manager doesn’t want and I never buy a player that only the manager wants and I do not want. This is my philosophy, my way of working, neither of us has to impose our point of view, everything has to be shared, it’s not only about Monchi, there are 16 people who they work in my department —- it’s about all of us as a collective.
How many times do you watch a player before deciding whether or not to buy him?
So many times, in the first part of the year, we do a general observation, then we begin to signal-in on a player, but then we’ll watch him several times, between 6 and 12 times, live or on TV.
What is the difference between the transfer market in Italy versus Spain?
It’s unique, in Italy, everything leaks out in the press. It’s difficult, for me —- this was the biggest change. In Spain, the market is important, but it is not a continuous news cycle. It’s not only new in August or July, but also in September, October, November…so it’s harder.
Your relationship with the fans?
Roma fans are all correct —- the supporter is always right, but Roma fans are more-so because it’s true that when one is supporting a team like Roma, which is a big team not only in Italy but also in Europe – you have to win something. It’s normal, the last ones who can be blamed are Roma fans because they’re right. I can not say anything more —- I’ve always had the feeling that they are close to me, but it’s true that we also have to give them something: they have not won anything in so many years so it’s normal. I did not come here to sell Salah, Ruediger and Paredes, but to do my job, and my job is to fix the numbers. Last year, slowly, slowly, we got the numbers in order and we made normal sales. I do not have a magic wand: what I did is what I’ve always done in the same form, working with young players and mixing in older ones. I believe that in the end, slowly, the fans and, you too, will begin to understand what my idea is. I know there’s hardly ever any time in football. But I am convinced, because I know how I work and work with those around me, that we are right.
Are you self-critical?
Very. I am the most demanding of myself. I always say that the sporting director must have 3-4 characteristics. One of these is to understand when you’re wrong and learn from what’s wrong. It’s true that I’ve had the opportunity to win many things, but the next day, I’m already worried because I never stop at success. I always go to work thinking that tomorrow I will not succeed. So every day I try to say, “Where did Monchi wrong?”. I never hide, I always put my face to things because I think this is the right way. I am lucky, here in Rome and in Sevilla, I am able to work with autonomy. So, if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. Pallotta told me: “This is your team, this is your Roma, you must do this”.
Can you tell us how the idea of Zaniolo was born?
We were in a negotiation and we had to look for names. We asked for Zaniolo and Radu (Genoa goalkeeper). Genoa has already closed a loan for Radu and we asked Zaniolo. They did not want to sell him, but it was not “either Zaniolo or nothing,” it wasn’t like that, but certainly they had to make a concession.
Did you think he would be decisive so quickly?