Roma director of sport Monchi described his role, which includes “hiring and firing” Coaches, and insisted “selling players is not a bad thing.”
The Spaniard spoke to Grant Wahl for his Planet Futbol podcast and discussed the surprise decision to leave Sevilla for Rome.
“It is not easy to describe my work in a few words. I take care of everything concerning the sports planning at Roma, from who the coach is, to the club's philosophy, to buy and sell players.
“I really thought it was time for me to change after 29 years divided between life as a footballer and a sports director. I felt I needed to try new things and test myself to see if I could do my work outside my home. Many think that I did it for money, but the truth is I needed a new experience.
“I thought that Roma was the club that, among the many who looked for me, offered me the possibility of being myself, of being Monchi.
“It was important to maintain independence and responsibility, the possibility of continuing my work. Roma gave me the opportunity not to change my professional identity and after 16 months, I can say that it was the right choice.”
It could be argued that Monchi wields even more power and certainly more day-to-day control over the club than President James Pallotta.
“My boss is Pallotta, but fortunately I can work independently, obviously keeping him updated on all news. Our relationship is excellent, as well as that with Baldissoni and Gandini.
“Hiring and firing Coaches is my responsibility because the sports project depends on the Coach's decisions.
“My biggest goal is to build an economic model that is sustainable and stable, while on a sporting level it is to bring Rome as close as possible to the highest level. These are my two goals.”
This constant whittling down of the squad every summer, selling the likes of Mohamed Salah, Alisson Becker and Antonio Rudiger, irritated some fans who feel Roma are just cashing in rather than building for the future.
“We are working above all to find a sustainable economic model, which would allow us to decide who to sell and when. We are on the right track, but that doesn’t mean we won’t sell in future, because selling players is not a bad thing. It’s normal and then you reinvest that money in structures, Coaches and players who can help the club grow.
“In football, everyone sells players. Barcelona sold Neymar to PSG, Real Madrid sold Cristiano Ronaldo, while Juventus sold Paul Pogba and Gonzalo Higuain. Clubs must be smart when reinvesting the money.”
Roma had been on the verge of signing Malcom from Bordeaux and he was even at the airport ready to get on the plane when Barcelona made a bigger offer.
“All we could’ve done more was to shoot down the communications satellite linking Barcelona with Bordeaux! I don’t think we could’ve done anything different. We had organised his flight to join the rest of the squad at pre-season training in America, booked the hotel and the medical was all arranged.”