AC Milan’s chief scout Geoffrey Moncada has given an interesting interview with L’Equipe in which he highlighted why he likes focusing so much on players from France.
Moncada of course has a background in France having been credited with identifying some of the players who were a big part of their run to the semi-finals of the Champions League a few years ago, and he has also received praise for his work at Milan too.
The Rossoneri have bet a lot on players from the French league with the likes of Rafael Leao, Mike Maignan, Pierre Kalulu and Yacine Adli acquired from there in the past few summers, and Milan continue to be linked with the latest up and coming names in Ligue 1.
Moncada spoke to L’Equipe as part of a discussion on the talent that France continue to produce, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.
“I saw Strasbourg-Troyes, there were young players like Odobert (18), Diarra (19) and Doukouré (19) who were starters. It’s not a normal thing. I travel a lot and I see that the strongest market is the French one,” he said.
“I’m not crazy about the Brazilian one: it’s too expensive and involves difficulties in adapting. In France, the market is incredible: in every club there are interesting players. I see that teams also buy abroad, but this doesn’t work very well and then they put on the field the products of their youth sectors.
“Rennes bought Doku and Sulemana, who are good players, but in the end Doué (17 years old), Kalimuendo (20) and Ugochukwu (18) play instead. Monaco took Boadu and Minamino, but it’s the 17-year-old Seghir who plays.
“In Lyon, fortunately they have Gusto (19 years), Lukeba (20) and Cherki (19): they are the ones who the foreign scouts come to see, not the others. You cannot imagine the number of scouts who come to France. Many foreign clubs have two scouts in the country, one for the North and one for the South.”
Compared to other European countries, France works in a different way with young people…
“In France, clubs have the desire to bring out players more than winning youth competitions. A club like Angers puts its best young players directly in the first team.
“The example of the Coppa Gambardella is surprising: it is the cup of the best under 19s. Most of the time it is not the top clubs that are represented, while in Italy the big clubs must always be present. In the Coppa Gambardella they barely show the final, while the Italian Primavera championship is all broadcast on TV.
“There is pressure. Juventus, Milan or Inter must win it, otherwise they will be criticised by the press. In this Youth League year, Marseille were demolished (4 draws and 2 defeats), but there was no talk of it. We at Milan have not lost a single game (4 wins and two draws) and there were several articles saying that he we respected the competition and gave a good image of Italy.”
Are young French players more ready than the others?
“I don’t know if French players are more ready than others, but in general they are not afraid. A Spaniard, an Italian or a German is afraid of failing. When I talk to Mike Maignan, he has no pressure, he just plays. It could be our mentality. In Italy, if a young player makes a mistake, they immediately say he’s not ready and he’ll stay on the bench for a while. Not in France.”