OM is expanding its management team with the arrival, Sunday July 26, of Pablo Longoria as deputy managing director in charge of football. The club wants to open a new period of development, marked by its return to the Champions League. This is the end of a first transfer window for OM, led by President Jacques-Henri Eyraud after the departure, in May, of the previous sports director Andoni Zubizarreta.
With the recruitment of the Spaniard Longoria, Hugues Ouvrard as “head of business”, and the maintenance of André Villas-Boas as trainer, the Provencal club has built a backbone to learn to run faster. “We are now starting the second phase of our plan together. Everything is in place so that we can climb the next summit together, ”reacted US owner Frank McCourt in the press release.
Responsible for “the entire sports sector”
Second in the last Ligue 1 exercise interrupted by the coronavirus, Marseille wants to keep this pace, and perpetuate itself in the Champions League, which the Stade Vélodrome will see again next season after seven years of waiting. This rise in speed also responds to an economic logic as OM was sanctioned in June with a fine of 3 million euros by UEFA for having broken the rules of financial fair play, due to too many deficits. high levels observed since its acquisition by McCourt in 2016.
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While Ouvrard, a marketing specialist appointed on July 2, will take care of all operational and functional functions of the club outside football, Longoria “will oversee the entire sports sector, from the first team to the training center. “, While being responsible for recruitment, explains the Marseille training. His young profile (33 years old), international and recruiter, corresponds to the robot portrait drawn by OM, which intends in particular to develop its “player trading” by multiplying the capital gains on the purchase-resale of players.
“I hope he will integrate well”
The Asturian, whose arrival was leaked Saturday in the press, has already worked as a recruiter in Newcastle (England), Huelva (Spain) and in Italy, in Sassuolo, Atalanta Bergamo and especially Juventus Turin, where he has was director of recruitment from 2015 to 2018. This talent hunter is known in Spain for having been part of the trio that brought Valencia CF back to the European scene, where he was sports director between February 2018 and September 2019.
“Pablo, I know him well, he is the first sports director to have offered me a position as number one coach, at Recreativo Huelva, in 2009, when I was Mourinho’s assistant (in Porto). He was 24, ”Villas-Boas said on Saturday. “So we have already been in contact, I hope he will integrate well,” added the Portuguese. “We were looking for a very experienced sports manager, who worked for top European clubs, who brought a new approach to this function. With Pablo Longoria, we found this combination, as well as human qualities which impressed us, ”said Jacques-Henri Eyraud for his part. The Spaniard takes office on Monday, as does Hugues Ouvrard.
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The prospect of a club buyout
While waiting for his arrival, OM have already recruited two promising young players, thanks to AVB networks: Le Havre midfielder Pape Gueye (21) and Argentine defender Leonardo Balerdi (21), on loan from Dortmund. With Longoria and his address book, the club should seek in particular an additional left-back and a striker. OM ended Saturday, with a defeat against the Slovak DAC (2-1), a positive internship in Bavaria, according to his coach. He will return to official competition on Friday August 21 against Saint-Étienne, for the 1re day of L1.
Until then, the Marseille city could hear again about the soap opera of the acquisition of OM, stirred by Mohamed Ayachi Ajroudi and Mourad Boudjellal, interested in the operation. But Frank McCourt formally rejected Mohamed Ayachi Ajroudi’s negotiation offer, according to an email that Agence France-Presse was able to consult last Thursday.