Football is a funny thing. Generally, we get annoyed when a club bigger than us swoops in and takes one of our people, we feel we’ve made a coup when we get a big club’s player or front office figure, and we don’t really think clubs smaller than us can or should really touch our assets unless we decide we no longer want them. I’m not saying that’s the right way to think or feel about it, I just think it’s fairly typical. So when Pablo Ortells is announced to be leaving Villarreal for Mallorca, well, my first reaction is that I wonder why on earth someone would want to leave us for them.
While Ortells has carried the title of ‘sporting director’ at Villarreal, I’m not sure anyone was convinced he was really at the helm of transfers, and rather was just a very distinguished scout for the club. Perhaps his move to Mallorca is inspired by wanting to finally be able to steer his own ship in transfer policy. Mallorca may not survive this La Liga season (if it is ever completed) but they are well funded with an ownership group led by the owner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, Robert Sarver, as well as featuring retired NBA legend Steve Nash, and former US men’s national team players and current pundits Kyle Martino and Stu Holden. Ortells likely sees a club on the rise and with ambition.
More importantly, this raises questions about the direction of our own club in terms of scouting and recruitment. Members of the fanbase have wondered about the ‘process’ at the club in recruiting and producing talent, and that will certainly be under evaluation now as the club pivots from a long time lead scout in search of something new.