Sevilla sporting director Monchi recalls a very open, very honest, very mature conversation from 2015 when he broke a deal to bring Ciro Immobile to Sevilla from Borussia Dortmund. As Sevilla‘s sporting director, Monchi was looking for a third striker, “with a different profile” than the two currently employed by the club: Fernando Llorente and the explosive and tough Kevin Gameiro.
Immobile – which describes its own gifts as “strength, tenacity and cunning” – fits the bill. Renowned among the smartest pilots in the transfer market, Monchi saw the potential of a business. Immobile was no longer needed in Dortmund; Sevilla can obtain it with an initial loan, and subsequently and permanently, at an offer price, if it meets certain performance conditions.
Instead, the striker will come down as one of Monchi’s rare mistakes. He did not score his first goal for the club until November, he only made a handful of appearances. And then, in early January, he requested a meeting with Monchi and Unai Emery, the club’s coach at the time, to discuss his future.
Immobile explained that he felt he needed a change of scenery; admitted that he was not performing as he should have. “He was worried about the European Championship,” Monchi said of the 2016 tournament, which was drawing to a close. “He wanted to be in the Italian team and he knew he had to play in order to do that. And he didn’t play enough here.”
“There are two reasons why transfers don’t work properly,” Monchi said. “One is that the player does not get the confidence they need in their new club or a new league. This is especially important for strikers. And secondly, the team’s style of playing is not pleasing to them. I think both applied to Ciro. “For him, it was just one of those things. He knows that sometimes the offers don’t work.”