Marseille – The five most beautiful transfer window shots of Javier Ribalta, future sports director of OM

5. Dani Alves, efficiency, free

In Turin, the arrival of Javier Ribalta coincides with the return to the forefront of Juventus in Italy. First recruited by the Old Lady to find young players, the Spaniard ends up specializing in the search for experienced players whose contractual situation presents an opportunity. Which, in the long term, should allow the Piedmontese club to find the gratin of Europe.

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Thanks to a work carried out in good intelligence with his two superiors, Fabio Paratici (technical coordinator) and Beppe Marotta (sporting director), Ribalta and Juve achieve several masterstrokes (Khedira, Tévez, Evra…). And Daniel Alves. At the end of the 2015/2016 season, after discussions with several members of his network in Catalonia, where he is from, Ribalta learns that a secret clause appears in the contract of the Brazilian side, then linked to Barça until in the summer of 2017.

This stipulates that in the event of activation before June 5, 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 side celebrated the titles on the lawn of Camp Nou, without saying goodbye. Until the last moment, none of his teammates had considered his departure.

4. Leandro Paredes, the nerve sale

Javier Ribalta has a skill that could be very useful at Olympique de Marseille. He knows how to sell. Quick. Well. When he arrived at Zenit in the summer of 2018, the Saint Petersburg club had not been able to win the league title since 2015. To stop the domination of the Moscow teams (CSKA, Lokomotiv, Dynamo), the ‘Spanish must free up funds to rebuild an entire squad.

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That’s good, Paris Saint-Germain is looking for a midfielder and is interested in Leandro Paredes, indisputable holder at Zenit. A year earlier, the Russian club made a major financial effort to afford the Argentinian international – 23 million euros. And accepted the idea that at this price, a capital gain on resale would be a miracle: historically, the big European clubs refuse to take big financial risks for players playing in the Russian championship.

So when Antero Henrique, sporting director of Paris Saint-Germain at the time, comes to the information, Ribalta responds with nerve. “I told him that for less than 40 million, Leandro wouldn’t go anywherehe will reveal to the local media […] We knew they had money. We had seen how they had performed in the market in previous years. And that gave us some strengths“.

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

3. Kingsley Coman, the discovery of the good vein

2014, Paris only has eyes for the stars that Qatari owners can offer it. Ribalta has his eye on Kingsley Coman. For several months, the Spaniard dissects the videos of the young winger, takes notes and multiplies the trips to Paris to observe him more closely. The Titi becomes the youngest player in the history of the club to play in Ligue 1. But his trainee contract is coming to an end and the PSG, already very armed on the offensive level, cannot offer 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 does not wait until the end of the season to submit 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 several 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 the agents to choose Juventus over many other offers and a possible extension. with PSG.”
Without the eye of his recruiter, the Old Lady would never have unearthed a vein that will benefit many other European clubs in the following seasons. Coman will never become a major player for the Turin club. But will bring him 21 million, three years later, during his final transfer to Bayern.

2. Pogba, the record find

Two years earlier, Ribalta had already detected a similar but much more fruitful opportunity for Juventus, sportingly and economically. As soon as he arrived in Turin, Ribalta breathed the name of Paul Pogba. Like many, the Spaniard saw the exceptional athletic and technical qualities of the Frenchman. He is also wind of the strong character of “La Pioche” and the tensions maintained with Sir Alex Ferguson concerning 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 blow. And 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). Ribalta changes status. And enjoys blind trust.

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

In Novara, Ribalta finally gets the job he has always dreamed of. After passing through Milan, he became, in 2011, the 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 submits one last idea. During his many hours of viewing in his office, Ribalta flashed on a young player playing with the Boavista U19s. Bruno Fernandes.

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

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