Over the last 24 hours, news broke out of Barcelona that Aston Villa are trying to make Mateu Alemany their new Director of Football.
The 60-year-old made his current club Barcelona aware that he plans to end his contract, which was due to end in 2024 and take up a “professional project”.
Various reports go on to say that Villa offered both an economic and sporting offer that the La Liga giants couldn’t match. It is said that he will be handed ‘absolute power’ and an ‘unlimited budget’ as Villa look to push on in the Premier League.
This has led some Aston Villa fans to question the future of current Sporting Director, Johan Lange but it is thought that Alemany will work alongside Lange in a similar setup to the one he currently has at Barcelona with Jordi Cruyff.
I won’t pretend I knew who he was when the reports started last night through social media other than he worked at Barcelona so I have done some homework so you don’t have to.
Alemany has been working in football since 1990 when he took up a role with RCD Mallorca as Deputy Managing Director. In 1993, he was then promoted to Chief Executive Officer where he remained in that role until 2000.
When Florentino Pérez won the elections for the presidency at Real Madrid he was offered the role of General Director of the club but rejected it in favour of becoming the president at RCD Mallorca. Mallorca went on to win the 2003 Copa Del Ray and during his spell, he signed a certain Samuel Eto’o for just £ 4.4 million, we all know how that story played out.
Between 2000 and 2010, he had two different spells with Mallorca but it’s his work at Valencia between 2017-19 that he really started to make people take notice.
He worked alongside Marcelino García Toral to turn Valencia’s fortunes on their head turning them from a side struggling in La Liga into a top-four side. They also went on to win the Copa Del Ray in 2019. Tensions at the club with other high-figure members of the club resulted in him departing the club at the end of the 2019 campaign.
In 2021 he returned to work with Barcelona to work under the presidency of Joan Laporta where he has been until it was announced he would depart at the end of this season.
Analysing his transfer business
During his time at Barcelona, Alemany has overseen 19 signings. Some are a success, some you wouldn’t want to talk about.
First through the door were the free transfers of Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero. Depay had a successful first season but soon fell down the pecking order before being sold to Atletico Madrid. Aguero was forced to retire less than six months later due to heart problems but Eric Garcia has gone on to make 46 appearances for Barca.
In June 2021 they exercised their option to bring back Emerson Royal for €9 million before selling him to Tottenham later that window for a fee of £ 25.8 million. Clever business, eh?
Yusuf Demir and Luuk De Jong joined on loan that summer but neither failed to set the world alight and both returned to their owner clubs.
Next through the door were Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres and Adama Traore (loan). Dani Alves also returned to the club a few months prior but only Torres remains at the club making 67 appearances, scoring 14 goals.
Despite being under financial scrutiny Barcelona brought in Raphinha (£50m), Jules Kounde (£44m) and Robert Lewandowski (£39.6m) last summer. All three have impressed this season as Barca looks set to win their first La Liga title since 2019.
Pablo Torre joined from Racing Santander for an estimated £4.5milion but is thought to be one for the future.
They also captured Andreas Christensen, Franck Kessie and Marcos Alonso on free transfers.
Christensen (who has been linked with Villa today) has impressed this season and has been very important in their charge to La Liga glory. Kessie and Alonso have both done well when they have featured.
Hector Bellerin was also brought in from Arsenal but failed to impress and joined Sporting Lisbon in January.
Alemany’s business in the free transfer market is to be admired and is probably something that appealed to Aston Villa. On top of that, Villa boss Unai Emery has stated there would be new faces in this department and I am guessing he would have had a big say in this.
Although success is not guaranteed, I am certainly expecting an interesting ride this summer should the Alemany deal be confirmed.