With the youngest team in the big five leagues... we are putting them building blocks and platforms back into place. And then to invest strategically in the market, not just throw money at all different types of profile. Have a clear profile that is aligned with a clear style of play.
Big club rebuild
Mitchell joined AS Monaco in June 2020, having previously held roles at clubs such as RB Leipzig, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton. His relentless focus on recruiting and developing young players to build a winning squad has marked him out as one of the most revered Sporting Directors in world football.
Think Sadio Mane, Dele Alli, Dani Olmo and Nordi Mukiele. All have been spotted and recruited by the Englishman.
Now, at the Madrid Summit on March 21 and 22, Mitchell will talk about his journey in the Principality, from reshaping a squad with 77 professional contracts that had a year earlier narrowly avoided relegation, to a return to the Champions League with a young, vibrant set of players.
Mitchell was headhunted by AS Monaco’s owners to bring the club back to the top of the French and European game, following a model similar to the one implemented at the Red Bull teams: aggressive, counter-attacking, young.
This season, AS Monaco have used 11 players aged 21 or under in the first team, five of which are academy products: Benoît Badiashile, Chrislain Matsima, Eliot Matazo, Félix Lemarechal, and Maghnes Akliouche.
That willingness to trust in youth is the central pillar of AS Monaco’s new slogan ‘Rise. Risk. Repeat.’ launched midway through 2021.
Not that the club is adverse to spending money. Myron Boadu (21), Jean Lucas (23) and, most recently in January, Vanderson (20) were all brought in this season for transfer fees exceeding €10m, but, to quote Mitchell, the investment is now “strategic, not about throwing money at all different types of profile.”
There’s investment off the pitch too: Monaco moved into a new €55m performance centre in June 2021 and three months later a new residential base for the academy, La Diagonale, opened.
Communicate and execute
A club once again on the up and, most importantly, one with a defined strategy that “has the buy-in from everyone”, according to Mitchell.
Central to that has been getting internal communication right and taking “strategic short term decisions to build early momentum.”
The playing squad was halved, the head coach was replaced and all departments, from medical to sports science to scouting, were audited in Mitchell’s early months in charge.
The mindset was: assess, analyse and understand where critical decisions need to be made. And employ well.
In came Laurence Stewart, Red Bull’s global head of scouting, as Head of Recruitment and Development, James Bunce from US Soccer as Head of Performance and Aaron Briggs from Manchester City as Tactical Analysis Coach.
“Bring in the best in class… wherever they are,” says Mitchell. “It’s about the best people that are aligned to the vision and strategy and can execute in their departments.”
To hear more from Paul Mitchell on his big club rebuild, and meet with 200 club decision makers at the TransferRoom Madrid Summit, register your interest today.
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