The day after the end of the January transfer window, Monchi unveiled Roma’s new signing to the media and gave his take on the Giallorossi’s performance in the transfer market, the season so far and the future of the team.
Below is a full transcript of the Roma sporting director’s comments in Thursday’s press conference.
Monchi on Jonathan Silva
"We’re here to introduce Roma’s new signing: Jonathan Silva. We want to welcome him and wish him the best of the luck for the time he’ll spend with us. We’re convinced that he’ll be very successful here. We started speaking with his agent at the start of the transfer window, when we began discussing the likely departure of Emerson.
"He’s a player that we know well – he’s progressed well with Estudiantes, Boca and Sporting Lisbon. He has all the attributes and ability we’re looking for in the kind of full-back that Eusebio Di Francesco likes. He’s still young and he can obviously still improve, but he has what it takes to do well."
Monchi on the January transfer window
"From a football perspective, in terms of ins and outs, I think it’s been standard. [Leandro] Castan and Nura [Abdullahi] have left on loan, with Emerson Palmieri and Hector Moreno departing on permanent transfers. We’ve also signed Jonathan. The four players that have left haven’t been involved much. Perhaps we could have done better, but the window has been in line with our objectives.
"It’ll be easier to work once I have a better understanding of the club. I need to improve to continue the project I have in mind for Roma, which I have full confidence in. I’m sure that the past nine months will help me to do better in the future."
Monchi on the team’s current form
"I don’t think anyone can be happy with fifth place. It’s not about looking for someone to blame, but finding solutions. I’m ultimately responsible – I built the squad and I take the decisions. So if people want to find someone to blame for the team’s current form, here I am. No need to look further. We can all improve: the players, the coach and obviously the sporting director too. But I’m 100% convinced that the team, the players and everyone understands that individually we can all improve. Having said that, I’ll stress again that ultimate responsibility lies with the sporting director, who is the one with the power to make decisions for the club."
Monchi on the future
"I don’t think that looking backwards helps. I need to look to the future and work hard to build a Roma side more like the one the fans want. It’s true that we’re not achieving our sporting objectives right now. I think the time has come for us to shut up and work even harder. It’s time to give everything we have and acknowledge that the fans are angry. Nobody cares about looking to the past right now.
"We need to look to the future and take responsibility – starting with me. Because in my opinion this club is of a very high standard from a structural perspective, so we need to try to bring the performances on the pitch in line with that. What I thought in the past is not important – what counts is the present and the future. And right now, as I said, we need to get our heads down and work harder."
Monchi on his first nine months as sporting director at Roma
"It’s true that I said I chose Roma because I thought people would be able to see the real Monchi here. That’s proved close to reality. I don’t know if you know my history, but when people speak about Monchi they speak about someone who buys and sells a lot. That’s what we’re doing here. I recommend you read the book about me to get to know me better. As I’ve said before, I know that I need to improve. I take responsibility. There are things I could have done better, no doubt about it, but it’s also true that you know this city and this club better than me.
"I’ve been here for nine months and I’m sure of two things: that I know the club better and that I'm a better professional now than I was when I joined. I’m 100% convinced of those two things. I’m not looking for excuses – I take responsibility – but the role of a sporting director is not just focused on the present. It would be easy for me not to focus on what’s important for the club and just to think about myself. But I think the main priority of the Roma sporting director should be Roma. The second priority is Roma too. They should only think of themselves third."
Monchi on Hector Moreno
"I’ve always stuck by the same principle as a sporting director. You’re always learning: every day, every year, every season. Six or seven years ago, I learned that if you make a signing and it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, the best thing to do is to move on. It would have been easy for me to tell Hector to stay here, but I think we need to recognise that it didn’t work out. We received an offer yesterday that was more or less in line with the price we paid to bring him to Roma, so we decided to accept it.
"The player’s opinion comes into it too – he wanted to play to ensure he was in good form for the World Cup, so we were all in agreement. We can go through the rest of the signings one by one, but there are lots of factors that influence how well players perform. There are loads of players that have done nothing for their first six months and then have turned into important figures for their teams. It happens in Italy, Spain, Portugal and all over the world. I’m convinced that all of the players we’ve signed will justify us bringing them in sooner or later. It’s difficult with [Rick] Karsdorp and Patrik [Schick] has never been at 100%. Cengiz [Under] comes from Turkey and he doesn’t speak Italian, but in recent games he’s been a lot closer to his true level. It would be unfair to rate everyone today. As I’ve said, we all need to improve – the new signings too – but I think everyone needs time to adapt."
Monchi on the current squad
"It’s difficult to take stock right now because we’re fifth and we’ve gone seven games without winning. I believe these players have real quality – I see them every day and I mean it when I say it. They’re fantastic both technically and physically and they train well. Teams don’t just lose their way for technical or tactical reasons. I’m convinced that this team is very strong both physically and in terms of individual quality. I’ve been surprised by the players. When I arrived in Rome in April and was more relaxed during the first few months, I was met with top-level players. If you asked this question on 8 December there would be only one answer from everyone and that would be confirmation of the quality of the squad. It’s difficult to do that now, because we’re not in good form. But we’ve sold a player that has made just one appearance all season to Chelsea, which shows that we have a strong team."
Monchi on Daley Blind
"[Daley] Blind was offered to us three or four days ago. We evaluated the idea from a footballing and economic perspective and decided that he wasn’t the right player for us. We can’t ever forget about economic considerations, otherwise we’d sign every top player in the world."
Monchi on Alisson
"We didn’t receive any offers for Alisson. I don’t think it helps the team to start talking about who’s going to leave and who’s going to stay on 1 February. Let’s forget about the transfer market for now – the window shut yesterday. Let’s start talking about football, about results, about tactics and technique. It’ll be better for us all."