in Lille, Luis Campos, screenwriter in the shadows

The Portuguese, head of the LOSC's sporting leadership since 2017, has shaped the squad with numerous transfers. The club nordiste found the Champions League on Tuesday against Ajax Amsterdam.

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Luis Campos (right), in February 2017, alongside LOSC General Manager Marc Ingla. DENIS CHARLET / AFP

He travels kilometers, controls the debates, knows how to be decisive and rarely misses … All these characteristics that could be applied to a good midfielder in football. At 55, Luis Campos has neither the technical qualities nor the age to occupy such a position. However, in Lille, his "leg" is felt on the ground. The Portuguese is key to the renewal of LOSC, which on Tuesday, September 17, faces Ajax Amsterdam for its first match of the Champions League.

Athletic advisor to the president of the northern club, Gérard Lopez – the latter took him in his luggage during the acquisition of LOSC in January 2017 – Luis Campos is a sports director who does not say his name. It is he who has, for a large part and in the shadows, shaped the team in the last two years, through his recruitments.

Arrived in football through the university pathway (a diploma of sports and physical educator obtained at the faculty of Porto), the person cultivates a paradox: central element of the Lille club, he is not an employee, but a collaborator through a consulting company. A situation that gives him greater independence and has not prevented him from placing men of trust in all strata of the club.

Arm wrestling

In the North, however, Luis Campos won his biggest arm wrestling alone. It was in 2017, after the arrival, in the summer, of the coach Marcelo Bielsa. Between the two men, the reports were quickly complicated: authoritarian assumed and interventionist, the Portuguese had to deal with the Argentinean, the character also very assertive and adept of an immutable principle: the refusal of any interference.

A defeat at Amiens in November will lead the club's management to decide: if the general manager, Marc Ingla, was rather in favor of maintaining Bielsa despite the poor results, Luis Campos will be more convincing, and President Lopez will separate from the coach.

The former coach and coach will then have his hands free. And his choices will strengthen his position: in the summer of 2018, he drives the recruitment of Jonathan Ikoné, Jonathan Bamba, José Fonte, Rafael Leao and Zeki Celik, and, at the end of the season 2018-2019, the Dogues finish second in the championship .

"When Luis goes to see a player, if he announces himself, there will be people who will be interested …"
Gérard Lopez, President of LOSC

Celik, now indispensable in club as in Turkish selection, symbolizes the Campos method. He had never appeared in the first division in his country, and therefore absent from radar of rival clubs, he had been followed for a long time by a recruiting cell that regularly visited him. Lille was able to conclude his visit without raising the stakes.


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