The man behind Barcelona’s negotiations: Mateu Alemany

Barcelona are in the midst of arguably their most important summer of since Joan Laporta first came to power at the club in 2003. With the club undergoing attempting to return to their former glories and revamp the squad in record time, it is a hectic transfer window for the Blaugrana.

The man trusted to carry out this critical and gargantuan operation is Sporting Director Mateu Alemany. While others may ultimately settle on targets with him, Joan Laporta may lobby in their favour, but it’s Alemany who is in charge of negotiating.

Recently Relevo put together an interesting deep dive on Alemany, featuring perspectives from agents and colleagues.

“If the meeting can last 10 minutes, [that’s] better than 15,” an agent says. Alemany first devises a strategy and works out the possible permutations, before beginning talks. Once he starts, he is on straight to the point and does not deviate from his plan.

He is also very conscious of the art of negotiation and the factor time can play. If it helps his strategy, Alemany will appear disinterested and wait out his opponent. A source from within Barcelona tells Relevo, “he is an executioner, you tell him who you have to sign and he signs them for the minimum price possible. It doesn’t matter what the name is.”

“He can make you think you have won, but in the end you see he has,” adds another agent.

“If he wants to pay you 10, he will start at 1.5. He also beats you through exhaustion,” an ex-player remarked. Seemingly Alemany places a special emphasis on performance-related bonuses and is trying to implement a culture of them at Barcelona.

“He said to me, ‘if you play 45 minutes, it doesn’t count.’ I told him, ‘and what if I come on for half an hour and I score?’ He thought about it and agreed to change the clause. It was the only thing I ‘won’ against him in 10 years,” says another player.

Other agents note that Alemany can lose his temper on occasion and it can be rather unpleasant, while another tells of an occasion when Alemany called to admit he had been wrong.

Certainly the picture painted by Relevo is an interesting one and adds plenty of brushstrokes to Barcelona’s transfer window. Deals like that of Ousmane Dembele’s new contract can be seen in a fresh context. Only time will tell if he manages to get it right this transfer window.

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