Celta will soon announce the incorporation of a full-time sporting director after the failure of its experiment with an “external sports advisor”, the Portuguese Luis Campos, with whom it announced a separation agreement after a year and a half of collaboration. The team is in a relegation position and has only won 13 games out of the 56 they have played while paying Campos’ salary. The entry of a new management team, Marian Mouriño taking over the presidency from Carlos, his father, led to a return to a more classic model.
In the spring of 2022, Celta thought they had found a pillar on which to base the growth of football. After years of anxiety and indefinition, the idea of thinking big took hold in the club in view of the centenary which was going to be celebrated during the year which is ending. The departure of Felipe Miñambres from sports management was therefore understood as an opportunity. And it was at that moment that the club wanted to get closer to the elite thanks to contact with Campos, a guy on whom the label of guru fell, builder as he was of squads which experienced astonishing growth and benefited from lucrative capital gains thanks to its expertise in spotting and football marketing.
Between 1993 and 2005, Campos accumulated fleeting and unsuccessful experiences as a coach in Portuguese clubs such as Esposende, Leiria, Desportivo das Aves, Leça, Penafiel, Gil Vicente, Varzim, Vitoria de Setubal and Beira Mar. With the bottom three he was relegated. But in the middle of the first decade of this century, with Jorge Mendes as introducer and José Mourinho as vanguard, Portuguese technicians and strategists became a trend and a flag of a new football that values training, study and adaptation to new technologies. . Portugal has become the vanguard and the Faculty of Sports of the University of Porto has become the academy of new knowledge.
Campos was there and rode that wave that brought him to the big stages of the continent involved in the development of training and scouting software. He pitched Mourinho a custom app, the Mourinho Tactical Board, and in 2012 he ended up joining Real Madrid, but after just a year he left to become a team architect. In Monaco and Lille he revalues, sells and earns. Lemar, Bernardo Silva, Fabinho, Anthony Martial, Rafael Leao and Victor Osimhen are in his portfolio. He received the label of discoverer from Kylian Mbappé. The fact that a sporting director with this CV was going to work for Celta raised expectations.
But there was one condition. Campos was then clear about his method. “The external vision allows us to obtain good results,” he explained in Vigo. And he thus reaffirmed his profile. Campos would function as an advisor who would point out or bring profiles of footballers that Celta would not even dream of accessing. And it would be the managers, headed by President Carlos Mouriño and General Manager Antonio Chaves, who would then close the contracts. To complete his ascendancy, Campos appointed a valid person in the person of Juan Carlos Calero, a man from Albacete who worked at the Iniesta football school in Japan and who settled in Vigo as sports coordinator, in reality a link between club and guru.
Because Campos warned that it would come and go. When he completed his deal with Celta, he also worked for Galatasaray. But he soon severed his relations with the Turks, a detail which aroused even greater expectations in Vigo. Until June 2022, even before being presented in the Galician city, his hiring by Paris Saint-Germain was announced and an unexpected threesome. “We could not achieve it alone,” President Mouriño justified.
Campos then insisted on the fact that we were facing a revolution: the arrival of consulting which developed sports structures to serve clients from different backgrounds. The only condition is that they are not direct competitors. “PSG and Celta are very different, they have different economic conditions, payrolls and market niches,” Campos clarified during the only press conference in which he was presented in Vigo, there thirteen months now. Nobody asked him to turn Celta into PSG, but in a way he was already setting a limit to the team’s growth.
At that time, his first operations had already raised doubts. The sale of Brais Méndez to Real Sociedad for 14 million euros seemed at first a good deal and then a waste, considering that Strand Larsen and Willot Swedberg immediately arrived for 18 million. The summary of the season was made by Iago Aspas after saving the category with the horn. “We lack quality, I said it in August and January and it has not been corrected,” he lamented. Campos had put together a worse team than the one he received and along the way he killed the coach Chacho Coudet, well regarded by the heavyweights present in the voting booth, to recruit his compatriot Carlos Carvalhal, who saved the vote. This summer’s work also does not seem to have covered the needs claimed by Aspas. Bets without League experience like those of Douvikas, Starfelt, Ristic or Bamba did not raise the level of the team to what was expected given the recruiter’s CV. The economic gain was achieved thanks to the sales of Brais Méndez and Gabri Veiga, the last two gems of the career.
Campos’ lukewarm commitment to the club was ruined at Vigo, although Calero insisted he had “all the dedication in the world”. This season he has barely attended a team match, in Girona, and the last time he was seen in the city was in mid-August. At that time, confidence in him was already shaken and even more so after a market close in which, at the last minute, all the options for incorporating a position for the central midfielder requested by the coach Rafa Benítez has faded. A few days after this fiasco, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi assured that he had been working 20 hours a day for two months with Campos, who was in fact based in Paris and attended most of the team’s matches , even at home. . Celta therefore felt like a second choice.