Sampaoli, king of lively (and expensive) mercatos


New OM coach, Jorge Sampaoli arrives in a club with extremely limited room for maneuver in the transfer market. Surprising, so much the Argentinian technician likes to reshape the workforce, and therefore spend, when he takes charge of a team.

It is one of the common threads of his career. When Jorge Sampaoli arrives in a club, the locker room is shaken. Because the Argentine coach, just appointed to the bench of OM, is expressive and dynamic, but also because his assumptions are generally accompanied by very lively mercatos.

Where a Marcelo Bielsa – his mentor to whom he is often compared – has distinguished himself, in Marseille or even in Leeds, by making the best of an almost unchanged group, Sampaoli has shown in the past that he likes to have  » his « players, or rather players corresponding to his demanding style of play.

In Seville, ideas but also a lot of reinforcements

This was particularly seen in Seville. Propelled at the helm of the Andalusian club in the summer of 2016, the former coach of Chile quickly expressed his desires to the sporting director Monchi. If the departure of Kévin Gameiro to Atlético de Madrid (32 million euros) is not his fault, it is he who opens the door to Grzegorz Krychowiak, sold to PSG (27.5 million). « When Jorge Sampaoli arrived at Sevilla he told us he wanted Steven N’Zonzi his defensive midfielder, Monchi explained a few months later. He immediately told us that he didn’t want anyone anymore. one like Krychowiak, because he needed a comfortable player with the ball. « 

These two sales, as well as that of the « flop » Ciro Immobile (10 M at Lazio) allow the Monchi-Sampaoli duo to make significant purchases: Joaquin Correa, Franco Vazquez, Wissam Ben Yedder, Ganso, Gabriel Mercado, Pablo Sarabia or still Samir Nasri arrive in the summer, followed in the following winter by Walter Montoya and Clément Lenglet. In total, Sevilla exceeds 80 million euros in spending on the transfer market that season, greatly exploding its record – which will hold until the 2019-2020 season.

Carte blanche to Atlético Mineiro

After a nightmare experience at the head of the Argentine selection, Sampaoli falls back in the same pattern in Brazil, showing again his appetite for recruits. If he is hailed for having taken in 2019 a fairly limited Santos at the top of the table (second in the championship), the coach still obtained on his arrival the reinforcements of Felipe Aguilar (3.5 million euros), Yeferson Soteldo (3M), Felipe Jonatan (1.4M) or Christian Cueva. According to Transfermarkt, Santos thus posted for the 2018-2019 financial year (which takes into account certain transactions made before Sampaoli) a balance sheet of -8.24 million euros on the transfer market. Even if the sale of Rodrygo to Real Madrid will rebalance all that.

Similar to Atlético Mineiro. Many have wondered why Sampaoli’s record at the Galo, despite a nice third final in the league, three points behind champion Flamengo, has been described by Brazilian observers as mixed. This is largely due to the investment / results ratio. Yes, Atlético de Sampaoli produced play (second best attack), and yes he landed his ticket for the Libertadores. Except that when the technician obtained, so to speak, carte blanche in March 2020, and that he attracted Matias Zaracho, Marrony, Nathan, Junior Alonso, Keno, Alan Franco and a dozen others for a balance of -23.52 million euros on the transfer market (while Atlético Mineiro was always in the positive in previous seasons), it was to go for the title. And nothing else.

And at OM?

This is also why the arrival of Jorge Sampaoli in a bloodless OM could surprise. Already forced to tighten its belt before the Covid-19 crisis, and in addition – like other French clubs – hit by the TV rights fiasco, Marseille theoretically does not have the means to drop tens of millions of euros during the summer transfer window, even to replace the starters (Thauvin, Amavi, Germain, even Kamara…).

So, did the coach get any guarantees from owner Frank McCourt? Does he have absolute confidence in Pablo Longoria, who this winter showed a certain science of good business? Or is it quite simply ready to review its usual functioning to raise its rating in Europe? Response in the coming months.


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