Marseille – The five best shots of the transfer window by Javier Ribalta, future sporting director of OM

5. Dani Alves, efficiency, free

In Turin, the arrival of Javier Ribalta coincides with the return of Juventus to the front line in Italy. Recruited for the first time by the Old Lady to find young players, the Spaniard ends up specializing in the search for experienced players whose contractual situation represents an opportunity. Which, in the long run, should allow the Piedmontese club to find the gratin of Europe.

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Thanks to a work done with good intelligence with his two superiors, Fabio Paratici (technical coordinator) and Beppe Marotta (sporting director), Ribalta and Juve make several master strokes (Khedira, Tévez, Evra…). And Daniel Alves. At the end of the 2015/2016 season, after having discussed with various exponents of his network in Catalonia, of which he is a native, Ribalta learns that a secret clause appears in the contract of the Brazilian team, then linked to Barça until the summer of 2017 .

This provides that in case of activation by June 5th Daniel Alves can leave the blaugrana club freely. In a few days the Turin management is activated, negotiates a contractual agreement with the Brazilian and completes his transfer. A few days earlier, the team celebrated the titles on the Camp Nou lawn, without saying goodbye. Until the last moment, none of his teammates had considered his departure.

4. Leandro Paredes, the nervous sale

Javier Ribalta has a skill that could be very useful at Olympique de Marseille. He knows how to sell. Soon. Good. When he arrived at Zenit in the summer of 2018, the St. Petersburg club had not managed to win the Scudetto since 2015. To stop the domination of the Moscow teams (CSKA, Lokomotiv, Dynamo), the ‘Spaniard must free up funds to rebuild a’ whole team.

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Well, Paris Saint-Germain are looking for a midfielder and are interested in Leandro Paredes, the undisputed owner of Zenit. A year earlier, the Russian club made a big financial effort to afford the Argentine international – € 23 million. And he accepted the idea that at this price a capital gain on resale would be a miracle: historically, big European clubs refuse to take big financial risks for players playing in the Russian league.

So when Antero Henrique, Paris Saint-Germain’s sporting director at the time, learns, Ribalta responds with courage. “I told him that for less than 40 million Leandro would not go anywherewill reveal to local media. […] We knew they had money. We had seen how they had performed in the market in previous years. And this has given us strengths“.

Result of the races: Paris pays 47 million euros to afford the Argentine. The investment doubled. With this money, Zenit will offer three players (Azmoun, Barrios, Rakitskiy). Chelsea, where Maurizio Sarri had asked for the arrival of the Argentine, had offered only 20 million euros.

3. Kingsley Coman, the discovery of the good streak

2014, Paris has eyes only for the stars that the owners of Qatar can offer her. Ribalta has its eye on Kingsley Coman. For several months, the Spaniard has been cutting the videos of the young outsider, taking notes and multiplying his trips to Paris to observe him more closely. Titi becomes the youngest player in the club’s history to play in Ligue 1. But his trainee contract is about to expire and PSG, already heavily armed on the offensive level, cannot give him sporting guarantees.

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Very early on, Ribalta felt that Coman’s situation within his training club was a dead end. And he doesn’t wait for the end of the season to present his name to Fabio Paratici. “He worked there for six months, day and nightconfided the Spaniard to the Guardian. We first went to see the player together multiple times because Fabio wanted to make sure it was worth investing in him. Then, as soon as he was convinced to sign Kingsley, he made many – believe me, many – trips to convince Coman, his family and agents to choose Juventus among many other offers and a possible extension with PSG.. “
Without her recruiter’s eye, the Old Lady would never have unearthed a streak that will benefit many other European clubs in subsequent seasons. Coman will never become an important player for the Turin club. But he will bring him 21 million, three years later, during his final move to Bayern.

2. Pogba, the record found

Two years earlier, Ribalta had foreseen a similar but much more fruitful opportunity for Juventus, from a sporting and economic point of view. As soon as he arrived in Turin, Ribalta took in the name of Paul Pogba. Like so many, the Spaniard saw the French’s exceptional athletic and technical qualities. He is also confident in the strong character of “La Pioche” and the tensions maintained with Sir Alex Ferguson regarding his short-term future and his playing time. The opportunity is too good.

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Alerted by its recruiter, the Turin management tries the coup. And you won’t regret it. In Piedmont Pogba exploded and became one of the best midfielders in Serie A. Four years later, he returned to Manchester United to become the most expensive player in history (105 million euros). Limelight changes state. And he enjoys blind trust.

1. Bruno Fernandes, the farewell gift of 40,000 euros

In Novara Ribalta he finally gets the job he has always dreamed of. After moving to Milan, in 2011 he became head of the recruitment unit of the small Piedmontese club. The leader discovers a very unstable environment there and decides to look elsewhere after only one season. But before leaving, he proposes one last idea. During his many hours of watching him in his office, Ribalta showed a young player playing for Boavista U19. Bruno Fernandes.

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In Portugal not many believe in this midfielder who has not even passed under the radar of the “great ones” (Porto, Benfica, Sporting). Convinced by his recruiter, Novara tries the bet. And he pays … 40,000 euros. The first season of the Portuguese in Serie B is a success. A year later, Udinese rushed to the player with a check for € 2.5 million. Novara has multiplied the investment by 62.5.

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