Roma sporting director Monchi gave a lengthy interview in today’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport. These are his words:
I have a relationship with him that I never would have imagined would be so tight, especially since it’s not like I showed up here to give him a car, but to say, “Goodbye and thanks”. Anything could happen, but it’s been good. I have found a close, emotional guy. After 27 years on the same path, it is not easy to change. The club was smart in giving him the space and time he needed.
Is the Serie A far away from the European elite?
Compared to the past, Serie A has lost a bit of ground to England and Spain, but the difference is little and the distance is shortening. In our group in the Champions League, there are the champions of England and Atletico, who have made two Champions League finals in the last four years: at the top of the table there is Roma. Napoli, although losing, were close to City. And then there is Juve. Tactically, Italian football is at the forefront.
How have your first six months been in Italy?
We knew it would be a peculiar year. I knew from the very first day that I arrived that Spalletti, who did a great job here, would leave. Then there were players who left such as Salah, Rüdiger and Paredes, and the career ended for the most important player in history. In short, many new guys came, including a non Italian sporting director. The prospect was complicated, now we can be very happy, though, you have to still be ambitious and expect more. We need to find internal, economic and sporting stability, not having to sell players, and from the outside: we have to aspire to be an elite team with continuity in Italy and Europe. We can say that Atletico Madrid is a beautiful example to mirror. It may be that players continue to be sold, but it is done so without fear just like I happened to do at Sevilla. Sales, if any at all, will have to be done to consolidate a position, not to undermine it. The fans have to back us, but they will only do so if we get results, they don’t go to the stadium to applaud what we’ve done for our balance sheet. If I close a market at €45 million in the green but we don’t not win anything, the fans are not happy. And I’m here to win, I do not want to sell smoke.
In January will you come back in for Mahrez?
We will not do anything in January. Our purchases must be improvements from Defrel and Ünder, the arrival of Schick, the return of Emerson.
Should the transfer market change?
By all means. I would make the January window open for 15 days and close the summer transfer market much earlier. If we look at the statistics on the performance of the players bought between 24 and 31 August, for me, 60-70% of them don’t work out because there is no time to adapt, to settle, to train. I would close the window on 31 July.
Have you been given an explanation for all these injuries?
We have a problem and we should not be afraid to say that, but we have to find a way to improve things. Here we have great professionals and the solution is not to sack or change people, which is often the first temptation, rather we should change some of the details. We can change the breakfast time without having to change waiters.
If you could choose a player from Serie A, but not from Roma, who would you want?
Dybala, the most decisive player in Serie A.