Sunday, April 11, 2021

“In Toulouse, we are not in a speculative approach with our young people”

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Recruiter for Monaco and Arsenal, sports director of Liverpool, Damien Comolli became, in July 2020, president of Toulouse Football Club (TFC), just bought by the American investment fund RedBird. Hostile to the “trading” model, the boss of the Violets (third in Ligue 2) wishes to keep his young talents over a longer cycle.

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Outside of loans, there was very little movement in the player transfer market in January. Does this herald a more reasonable summer transfer window?

Indeed, this suggests that we will have a very calm market, deflationary both in terms of transfer allowances and salaries. Most of the players at the end of their contract on June 30 will find it difficult to find the same salary level. We will see fewer transfers and a reduction in staff. This situation is likely to last until the 2022-2023 season.

Unlike other leaders, you have a critical position on “trading”. What do you hold against this model?

I don’t call it trading, but speculation. Take Juventus, which have 120 players under contract but run with a hard core of 25 at most. Why have so many? This helps to add additional income – especially to stay in the nails of financial fair play – with the sale of players they have no intention of using in the first team. The idea is to buy them for a million and sell them for five.

This is not exactly the model of French clubs, outside of Monaco …

With trading, French clubs are in a system where they say to themselves: “We have a significant operating deficit every year, but that’s okay because we’re going to make up for it by selling players. I do not subscribe to this reasoning at all.

However, the TFC sold this winter Manu Koné (19) to the German club Borussia Mönchengladbach for an estimated sum of 9 million euros. Did you have no other choice?

He was on contract until 2022 and, as soon as I arrived, I wanted him to extend it but he didn’t want to. Mönchengladbach’s offer fell well, for the player and for us, since we had the opportunity to keep him on loan for another six months. But if we could have kept it for two or three years additional, we would have. We are not in a speculative process with our young people. We want to install them over time and for them to progress in a precise, offensive and spectacular game.

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