Spanish newspaper AS are reporting that Sevilla's lauded sporting director Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo, or Monchi as he is better know, has informed the Europa League champions of his intention to leave the club.
In their report, AS also claim that Monchi has received a "dizzying" offer to join Manchester United.
Despite the club's constant insistence to the contrary, many UK media outlets believe that new United boss José Mourinho has convinced the powers that be that a director of football-type is needed at Old Trafford, and Monchi is the man he wants.
Italian journalist -- and transfer guru -- Gianluca Di Marzio yesterday claimed that United made a move for Atlético Madrid's Andrea Berta, only for Los Rojiblancos' sporting director to turn down Ed Woodward's advances.
Da bancario a direttore ‘milagroso’ del mercato: #Berta rifiuta lo #United e sposa (ancora) il suo #AtleticoMadrid https://t.co/WaVjJcYuOW— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) May 30, 2016
So, if rumours are to be believed, at the behest of The Special One, Woodward has now turned his attention to Verdejo, with the 37-year-old apparently determined to quit Sevilla after 16 years in his position.
But who exactly is the man they call Monchi? And what's all the fuss about?
Well, Monchi is the man who took the reigns of the Andalusian club as sporting director in 2000, with the club recently relegated and in financial turmoil, and helped build Sevilla into five-time Europa League winners -- all while turning a healthy profit.
In Side Lowe's recent interview with the retired goalkeeper turned player-trading maestro for The Guardian, Monchi explained his role and gave a glimpse of the methods which have brought him, and his club, such success.
Known as a master of the "Money Ball" approach, Monchi has developed a vast network of scouts operating around the world, all collecting data on players and identifying potential transfer targets.
Monchi collates all of this data in a spread sheet which he can then filter to produce a list of players with specific attributes. For instance, if Sevilla's head coach Unai Emery tells him he needs a player for a certain position, who runs a certain amount of kilometres and plays a certain amount of passes every game, Monchi can present a list of 10 suitable candidates at the click of a mouse.
To illustrate the detail into which Monchi's system drills, he told The Guardian: "Sixteen people cover a series of leagues. For the first five months we watch a lot of football but with no particular aim: we’re just accumulating data. Every month we produce an ideal XI for each league. Then in December we start watching players who appeared regularly in different contexts – home, away, international – to build the broadest possible profile."
This thorough approach has seen Sevilla unearth rough diamonds from far-flung countries and polish them up, before selling them on for huge financial gain. The most notable of which would be Brazilain right-back Dani Alves who was signed as a teenager for €200,000, transformed into a key first-team player, before being sold to FC Barcelona for €36 million. Similiar stories apply to Júlio Baptista, Luis Fabiano, Carlos Bacca, Ivan Rakitic and many, many more.
Monchi also made it his business to overhaul Sevilla's academy system. The likes of Sergio Ramos, José Antonio Reyes and Alberto Moreno all came through the ranks at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, and were all subsequently sold for substantial fees.
If Monchi is to rock up at Old Trafford, his remit is likely to be somewhat different; he would be in charge of a much larger transfer kitty than he could've dreamed of in Seville. His task would be finding and attracting world stars, while avoiding the kind of expensive flops that have blotted United's copybook in recent years (Ángel di María, we're looking at you). He will also need to ensure that the club sees better returns on outgoings than they have been: Javier Hernández and Rafael da Silva were both sold for way below market value in the last summer transfer window.
Whether or not United need a director of football/sporting director has been a matter of debate for some time. But if Woodward decides he needs a little help on the recruitment side of the business, he'd be well advised to call on the man they call Monchi.