Sevilla are synonymous with the UEFA Europa League, having become the first club in history to win the trophy 3 consecutive times. The Andalusian club have seen off multiple opponents in the final like clockwork, most recently defeating Liverpool 3-1 to have many pondering the club’s affinity for this competition.
Here’s what makes Sevilla UEFA Europa League specialists:
Transfers make the club go round
One would expect a club that has won 3 UEFA Europa League trophies consecutively to have a modicum of consistency about their playing staff. Yet, it’s almost stunning to note that Sevilla have named 35 different players in the squads for the finals in all three years. It basically boils down to a change of 9 players each year, a stunning turnover rate that would usually cripple a club.
There are plenty of arguments against such inconsistency – traditionalists among the footballing managerial universe such as Arsene Wenger espouse the importance of keeping squad harmony intact, noting that signings in excess of 3 in the summer usually have a disruptive effect on a club.
Wenger’s reasoning is true to a certain extent – Sevilla are notoriously slow starters in the league, as losing their stars every season usually results in a cut-price replacement who takes time to gel to the club’s playing style. However, by the turn of the year, Sevilla have managed to put a fluent side together, which results in a fresh, in-form side taking on the business end of the season.
It explains why Sevilla were so awful in the Champions League group stages but then managed to find their feet in the Europa League this season. The Andalusian side are usually struggling in the league midway through the season and can then opt to focus on the cups – which has meant that Sevilla can win the Copa del Rey in addition to UEFA Europa League this season.
A quirk of the footballing calendar plays perfectly into their hands – with their stalwart captain Coke noting the difficulty after the Europa League final, saying “Every year we change 10 players. The beginning is difficult and it's hard to get going, so what we've done is all-the-more impressive.”
Consider Sevilla’s strikers in the last few years – Alvaro Negredo was signed for a pittance and sold on for big money to Manchester City. He was replaced by Carlos Bacca, signed for a low amount and sold to AC Milan for a large sum. Bacca was supposed to be replaced by Ciro Immobile, but Kevin Gameiro has finally adapted to life in Seville, becoming the first choice striker and now looks set to be sold for big money.
It’s a vicious cycle that Unai Emery has come to accept – he’s ably assisted in this regard by Sevilla’s sporting director, Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo, also known by his superhero moniker, ‘Monchi’. Why is such importance ascribed to one person? Monchi is a magician in the transfer market, with a scouting network that has a replacement ready for every Sevilla player that won the Europa League on Wednesday night.
The man credited with rescuing the Andalusian club from economic disaster is a realistic man, noting that many English clubs can outbid him in the transfer market, thus opting for the ’buy cheap, sell high’ model. However, when speaking with the Guardian, Monchi noted that sporting excellence came first, relaying the tale of Adel Rami, saying “Winning has given us sporting glory and that has a knock-on effect economically.
“We’ve created an environment conducive to players succeeding and improving. I went down to the dressing room after the semi-final and Adil Rami, who’s been at Lille, Valencia and Milan, hugged me and said: ‘I don’t know what it is about this club but I’ve never played a final in my life before and in one year I’m playing three.”