Chelsea go after top scout Campos

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Luis Campos
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Michael Emenalo departed Chelsea last week. (Reuters)
Updated 14 November 2017
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Chelsea go after top scout Campos

LONDON: Chelsea have approached the man regarded as European football’s most accomplished talent scout to canvas his interest in succeeding Michael Emenalo as the club’s technical director.
Identifying then recruiting the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar, Anthony Martial, Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Fabinho, Luis Campos built an AS Monaco squad capable of dethroning Paris Saint-Germain as French champions while simultaneously generating unprecedented sums in transfer fees.
Currently employed by Lille and formerly Jose Mourinho’s senior scout at Real Madrid, the Portuguese is said to be interested in the opportunity. His work at Monaco — which also helped the principality club reach last season’s Champions League semi-finals — resulted in the club grossing “€360million or thereabouts” in transfer revenue last summer alone, according to Vice President Vadim Vasilyev. 
In 2015, Monaco became the first club to secure more than €200 million in transfer fees in a single window. In both summers a global record fee was secured for a teenager through the sales of Martial to Manchester United for a potential €80 million ($93 million) and Mbappe to PSG for a guaranteed €180 million. Campos specializes in the age range, one which is of particular importance to Chelsea.
Emenalo resigned last week, citing a desire to spend more time with his family as a reason for voluntarily bringing a close to a 10-year spell in which his role evolved from Avram Grant’s opposition scout through an enforced appointment as Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant to his 2011 elevation to technical director.
Brought to Stamford Bridge from a job coaching schoolgirls at Tucson Soccer Academy, the former Nigeria international oversaw a modernization and rationalization of Chelsea’s scouting system that helped turn substantial profits on a number of first-team and farm-system players.
It is understood that owner Roman Abramovich attempted to prevent Emenalo’s exit, the Nigerian having established himself as a valued pair of eyes and counsel at Chelsea’s training ground, in the dressing room and behind the bench. Emenalo also served as a buffer between Abramovich’s managers, de facto chief executive Marina Granovskaia and the board.
Ironically, Emenalo is expected to take on Campos’ former role as Monaco’s sporting director. Should that appointment be confirmed, the 52-year-old can look forward to a substantial increase in his after-tax remuneration.
Asked about the possibility of working at a Premier League club in an interview with Yahoo Sport earlier this year, Campos said: “It may happen, but I think most English clubs do not know how to recruit for an issue that I almost think is cultural as almost everyone makes the same mistake. 
“English clubs really, really like top attacking players, yet to a large extent make them play alongside medium-quality defenses. And that, in my opinion, explains their relative lack of success in European competitions despite them spending exorbitant sums in recent years. 
“Successfully building a good team project always involves the ability of players to relate and ‘match’ to each other. In the Premier League there is a big difference between great talents and the medium quality of support for the same offensive talent. Most teams lack great defenders and defensive midfielders. 
“So I do not know if they would understand me culturally. The great forwards who are already in the Premier League would be even better if they had the support of great full backs, for example. And how many great full backs are there in England? Right now, maybe just Tottenham’s.”


India and Pakistan ready to renew rivalry in Dubai showdown

Updated 11 sec ago
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India and Pakistan ready to renew rivalry in Dubai showdown

  • India brace for Pakistan after surviving stern test against minnows Hong Kong
  • Usman Shinwari: Any player who performs well in an India-Pakistan match will find his career reaches a new high

DUBAI: As delirium sweeps the UAE ahead of the mouth-watering encounter between arch rivals India and Pakistan at the Asia Cup, it seems one man — at least outwardly — is not as excited as the rest of the country and cricketing fans the world over.
India captain Rohit Sharma played with a straight bat when asked about the biggest clash in world cricket, set to take place today at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. On his first Asia Cup media outing the 31-year-old seemed unconcerned by the impending showdown with their fiercest opponents, his focus instead on facing Hong Kong, who Sharma and Co. had a big scare against on Tuesday.
“Right now, we are not focusing on Pakistan as (first) we are playing Hong Kong,” Sharma said on Sunday. “Obviously we have to focus on that particular team but once we have finished that game we will focus on Pakistan and what their strengths and weaknesses are.”
These are clearly the words of a man so media trained that by now he could easily be on the other side of the desk, asking the same questions he and his colleagues sometimes enjoy batting back with crafted clichés that speak of focusing on “one game at a time” or the like.
Sharma was clearly right to not take his eyes off the ball with Hong Kong — they are not here to merely make up the numbers, as their brilliant, battling performance on Tuesday illustrated. But at the same time, Sharma will be all too aware that as India skipper the one match you do not want to lead your side to defeat in is the one against Pakistan, regardless of competition and location.
Clearly India are not leaving Pakistan preparations to the 14 hours or so (sleep included) between the close of the Hong Kong clash and the toss prior to resuming Indo-Pak cricketing rivalry. To suggest they are would be naive at best.
A year on from Pakistan’s show-stealing Champions Trophy final victory over the old enemy in June last year, and a whole five years since the two sides met outside of an ICC or ACC event due to strained political relations, the appetite for the first of potentially three matches at this year’s Asia Cup is huge and one borne out of starved hunger.
Pakistan’s Usman Shinwari, fresh off defeating Hong Kong on Sunday, was more candid than Sharma.
“Any player who performs well in an India-Pakistan match will find his career reaches a new high, and every player dreams of doing well in this contest,” the fast bowler said. “I took three wickets (against Hong Kong), I hope that can be five wickets against India.”
Shinwari’s sentiments were echoed by his captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, who is absolutely clear on the levels of expectation that this fixture demands from fans on both sides of the border.
“The passion is always there,” said Sarfraz. “When you play against India everyone wants us to win as it’s against India.
“The fans say that whatever happens you have to win but as a captain I have to win against every team. It would be the same for India whose fans want them to win. It has happened in the past that any player who performs in the Indo-Pak match becomes a national hero.”
UAE cricket fans cannot wait for the clash. It took just a few hours for the first batch of tickets to be snapped up, the second bought in equally ravenous fashion. It has left a huge number of tickets now being touted across online marketplaces, social media platforms and, ultimately, will likely see the inflated resales being pawned outside the stadium on matchday too.
An expected 25,000 fans will swell the Ring of Fire, set to deal not only with cricket’s most fierce rivalry but also with all the unpredictability that will be thrown their way.
The famed traffic jams around Hessa Street, leading up to the stadium, and local entrances of Dubai Sports City will heave and efforts have been made to ease the burden of vehicles that will cart both sets of fans in and out of the area. Gates will open from 12p.m. local time, a whole three and a half hours before the first ball has been bowled. In an emirate where the last-minute rush is a daily fact of life, this will be not be an easy thing to execute but that, alongside the immense presence of volunteers and security, should prove welcome additions to the day’s running order.
This, though, is India vs Pakistan. Anything could happen.