Against PSG, Lille clings to first place while the bottom falls

There’s a reason even José Mourinho, who isn’t one to compliment other humans, is happy to talk about his friend’s “great career”. Campos, after all, is the technical director who rebuilt the Monegasque team that made the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2017 and was then sold across the continent for the better part of a billion euros.

His work in Lille was, discreetly, no less impressive, even if he was never, technically, an employee of the club. Instead, he was employed by a company called Scoutly, which was 100% owned by Victory Soccer, the vehicle through which López and Ingla owned Lille.

López insisted that this Byzantine approach was necessary for Campos to operate “independently” in the market. Either way, Lille benefited from the arrangement. Its workforce is full of the fruits of Campos’ labor: Boubakary Soumaré and Jonathan Ikoné, spotted in the ranks of the reserve at PSG; Zeki Celik, snatched from the shadows of the Turkish Second Division; Renato Sanches, offered himself a chance to rejuvenate after four years in the wilderness; and the two crown jewels, the most salable assets, the Dutch defenseman Sven Botman and the Canadian striker Jonathan david.

The belief that together they could one day be worth as much as this Monegasque team of Mbappé, Bernardo Silva and Fabinho and the others was, of course, exaggerated. This assumption was based on the idea that each player would reach their maximum value, but it was, for a time, an explainable delusion.

That changed as soon as the pandemic hit, and it calcified as the scale of French football’s financial crisis came to light. Ligue 1 expects to sign a new television deal in the coming weeks, almost certainly with Canal Plus, the broadcaster it abandoned last summer.

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