News have emerged on President Murthy travelling to Singapore for a meeting with Peter Lim. This has fed earlier rumours about a possible exit of Sporting Director Mateu Alemany from the club in the near future.
This happens once again at an awkward moment prior to a big game and busy schedule. I certainly hope that the team is focused on the pitch and not distracted by these ongoings, like during the previous international break.
For me, Mateu´s departure would be a huge loss. Even greater than the departure of Marcelino. Mateu has been instrumental in rebuilding the club over the past two years and also a key interlocutor between the owner and the team. He is well regarded across Spain and also a proven negotiator in the transfer deals.
However, ever since the exit of Marcelino and subsequently Pablo Longoria, I am not surprised by this latest development. He would have been perceived to have taken sides with Marcelino, and therefore a clear and obvious target for the owner. He has also been rumoured to speak ill of Celades, which would make it untenable to work together with Celades. The players also appear to have warmed up to Celades. For now, it might be a better move for him to leave and someone new twho can work well with the coach and team. It might be painful in the short term but possibly better in the long term. Essentially, Mateu no longer seem to have any allies in the club. Wherever he goes, he has my respect and I hope he finds another place where he gets to do what he does best.
I am not sure if there are many people out there who can replace Mateu. And I hope the club has a good backup plan, especially with the winter market and also pending renewals of some first team players.
Who will be next? I am not sure there are many who can do as good a job as Mateu. But I feel it has to be someone who has the trust of both the owner and the coach. The main reason for the crisis this summer was the breakdown in communication and trust.
Ultimately, the owner has his views and vision. Many of us might not understand or agree with it but this is the reality. The owner will have his own views. The consolation for me is that no rational businessman will undertake decisions that will ultimately mess up their business. If the owner is indeed driven by profitability, it will hopefully mean that he will invest and support in the business to ensure that it is a successful one.
For now, based on public information, it appears that the team is working well and united with Celades. That is the biggest positive for me. Atletico Madrid in Wanda will be extremely difficult. And we have a busy sequence of difficult games ahead. Team unity will therefore be extremely critical. Personally, I am greatly encouraged by the improved performances over the past few games. There are still some flaws that need to be ironed out, especially our defence. However, we have survived difficult away games including Chelsea and Bilbao. Who knows, maybe another surprise might be in store.