Monchi – Five of his best ever signings

Aston Villa are understood to be close to the appointment of Monchi as the club’s new sporting director, having agreed terms to bring the Spaniard in from Seville.

Monchi has formed a reputation as one of the shrewdest operators in European football, having been the brains behind Sevilla’s rise from the Segunda División to a formidable force in continental competition across the last two decades.

The 54-year-old has discussed his love for statistics and a data-driven approach has allowed Monchi to have huge success across two spells as Sevilla’s sporting director, a period which has seen the club challenge La Liga’s elite and win two Copa del Rey trophies and a record seven Europa League titles.

The Spaniard also had a short spell at Roma and ahead of his move to the Premier League we’ve decided to look back on some of Monchi’s best work in the transfer market.

Monchi – Five of his best ever signings

Dani Alves

Monchi has developed a reputation for unearthing gems, but perhaps none are comparable to the signing of Dani Alves.

Alves from signed for a fee of just £450,000 from Brazilian side Bahia in 2003, before developing into one of the best players of his generation. The right-back spent five seasons at Sevilla, a period which saw the club win the Copa del Rey, Supercopa de España, back-to-back UEFA Cups and the UEFA Super Cup.

Alves made 250 appearances for the club in all competitions before a £23m move to Barcelona, where he went on to become the most decorated footballer of all time. The Brazilian’s honours with the Catalans include six La Liga titles, four Copa del Rey successes and three Champions League titles, while he also won league titles with Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

Only Cafu has ever won more than Alves’ 126 caps for the Brazil national team and he twice won the Copa America with the Selecao, earning the tournament’s Golden Ball during the latter of those triumphs in 2019.

Alves is currently imprisoned in Spain while a sexual assault accusation against him is investigated, having been arrested in January 2023. He has been denied bail.

Frederic Kanoute

Frederic Kanoute had shown talent during five seasons in the Premier League at West Ham and Tottenham, but few envisaged the impact he would have after swapping London for Seville.

The languid forward hardly had a prolific record in English football, but shone after a €6.5m switch to Spain. He excelled in Europe as Sevilla won the UEFA Cup during his debut campaign and scored in the club’s 4-0 thrashing of Middlesbrough in the final, as the Spaniards claimed the first of their record seven titles in the competition and a first major honour in 58 years.

The goals continued to flow for Kanoute, who was named African Footballer of the Year in 2006/07 after scoring 30 goals in all competitions.

Kanoute scored 137 goals in just 290 appearances for Sevilla, the fourth-highest total in the club’s history and a leading total among non-Spanish players. Having arrived aged 28, after an underwhelming period at Spurs, he spent five fantastic seasons in Seville to become a club great and one of football’s great late bloomers.

Luis Fabiano

Luis Fabiano was hardly an unknown quantity when Sevilla signed the forward in 2005, but there was an element of risk in the transfer given his struggles in Europe.

Fabiano had been a prolific presence for Sao Paulo and had formed part of an inexperienced Brazil team that won the 2004 Copa América, but those highs were punctuated with lows as the forward failed to make an impact during spells at Rennes and Porto.

Sevilla took a chance on Fabiano after a disappointing debut season at Porto and their faith was rewarded. His first season showed flashes of talent despite a modest return of just seven goals, but Fabiano evolved into one of the most effective attacking options in Europe across six seasons at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium.

Fabiano scored 106 goals in 229 appearances for Sevilla, with his finest return coming in 2007/08 as the Brazilian fired in 33 goals in all competitions and narrowly missed out to Mallorca’s Dani Güiza as La Liga’s leading scorer.

His partnership with Kanoute fired Sevilla to a host of silverware success, as the club claimed two Copa del Rey trophies, two UEFA Cups, a Spanish Super Cup and UEFA Super Cup.

Ivan Rakitic

Ivan Rakitic proved to be one of Monchi’s best bargains at Sevilla after the club agreed a €2.5m deal to sign the midfielder from Schalke.

Rakitic had showed promise at Basel before his move to the Bundesliga, but struggled to live up to expectations at Schalke before fulfilling his potential in Seville. Across three seasons he developed into one of the best midfielders in La Liga, with his final campaign a standout season.

Rakitic captained Sevilla to Europa League success and was named man of the match in the final win over Benfica, while he was included in the La Liga Team of the Season after scoring 15 goals and providing 17 assists in all competitions.

The Croatian signed for Barcelona for a fee of €20m that summer and won four league titles, four Spanish Cups and the 2015 Champions League with the Catalans, before returning to Sevilla in a €1.5m cut-price deal in 2020. He has since made 147 appearances during his second spell in Seville and won another Europa League title in 2023, earning inclusion in the Team of the Tournament.

Wissam Ben Yedder

Wissam Ben Yedder’s impressive goal record for Toulouse saw Sevilla secure a deal for the forward in 2016, agreeing a €9m fee with the French side.

Sevilla earned a fine return on that investment as the France international shone in Spanish football, scoring 70 goals in 138 appearances in all competitions.

His contribution included a match-winning brace against Manchester United in the Champions League as Ben Yedder came off the bench to score twice and secure Sevilla’s place in the competition’s quarter-finals for the first time in 60 years.

Ben Yedder departed the club after Monaco activated his €40m release clause during the 2019 summer transfer window, earning Sevilla a record sale and a €31m profit on their initial investment.

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