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Sporting Genius

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Although little was known about him in France before his arrival at AS Monaco, Paul Mitchell had been brought into the fold as AS Monaco’s Sporting Director. After spells at Southampton and Tottenham, the 38-year-old, who had been with RB Leipzig before his role at Monaco, is about to take on a new challenge according to his recent interview – which stated that he will leave the French club at the end of the 2023 season. Former modest British footballer who retired from football at just 27, today he can boast of having given players like Dele Alli and Sadio Mane their big break.

He is currently employed by Ligue 1 side Monaco as their sporting director, having earned considerable praise for his shrewd dealings in the transfer market over the past few years. Now that he has officially announced that he will be leaving the former French Champions come the end of the season, FootTheBall take a look at Mitchell and what he could potentially be set to bring to his future suitors.

Who is Paul Mitchell?

His portfolio is impressive, to say the least. Almost unbelievable. Pragmatic, the British-born addition isn’t one to shy away from risk, as evidenced by the many chances he has taken throughout his career. His main exploit seems to be finding players in lower divisions or secondary leagues and turning them into international stars, such as Senegalese international Sadio Mane, who was spotted at Red Bull Salzburg and became one of Liverpool’s winning players under Jurgen Klopp.

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That’s not all. Paul Mitchell has also brought Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld, Heung-min Son, Kieran Trippier, Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pellè, Nordi Mukiele and Dayot Upamecano into the limelight. Accomplished players, all of them arrived timidly in the different clubs where Mitchell was involved.

Mitchell is a former footballer turned recruitment expert, who retired from the game in 2009. The Englishman represented the likes of Wigan Athletic and Milton Keynes Dons, whilst he also embarked on a number of lower-league loans throughout his career.

He was never afforded a chance in the top-flight before injury forced him to retire at the age of 27 before being offered an ambassadorial role with MK Dons.

Paul Mitchell’s recruitment career so far

It wasn’t long before the now 40-year-old turned his attention to recruitment having been handed an opportunity at Stadium: MK. He continued his eye-catching work with Southampton before a move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2014.

Mitchell was credited with the signings of Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld, Son Heung-Min and Kieran Trippier in his spell in north London. Despite being a hugely successful colleague of Mauricio Pochettino, he did not stay with Spurs and next showed up at German outfit RB Leipzig in February 2018.

After two seasons of building a formidable side at Tottenham Hotspur with Mauricio Pochettino, which reached the 2019 Champions League final a few years later, relations between Paul Mitchell and the club’s management became strained. He resigned in 2016, with 16 months’ notice. This was enough to catch the eye of major European clubs, such as Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, who realised what an opportunity it would be to collaborate with the British footballing wizard. Finally, in February 2018, Mitchell came to RB Leipzig. Developing the youth squads, and the project in general, swayed the ex-Southampton player.

Promoted to Red Bull’s Chief Technical Director just a year and a half after arriving in Leipzig, Paul Mitchell coordinated the Red Bull teams and its many satellite clubs, including Red Bull New York, Reb Bull Salzburg and Red Bull Bragantino. Although a position of great responsibility, it was far less appealing to the Englishman who missed being pitchside. In two seasons, however, Leipzig are competing with the German big guns, competing with Bayern Munich, but also in Europe – in the Champions League. 
His key to this success is strict recruitment guidelines, as he only recruits players under 24 years of age. It certainly is a successful system, allowing Michell to bring in Christopher Nkunku, Ademola Lookman, Hannes Wolf, Dani Olmo and Patrik Schick at Leipzig. The former Spurs man is now in France with AS Monaco – his official role being the club’s sporting director. But like mentioned before, the Englishman will step down from that role, once a replacement has been found.


Paul Mitchell’s next club

The 41-year-old will formally leave the Ligue 1 club – AS Monaco – once his successor has been appointed and settled at the Louis II Stadium. He is contracted until June 2024, but it appears he will leave well before that date.

Discussing his decision for leaving Monaco, Mitchell, suggested that he had fulfilled his mission with the French outfit and was keen to spend more time with his family after working away from home.

He was linked with a move to United last season after the club appointed Ralf Rangnick as interim manager. Mitchell, who is good friends with the German, was spotted at Old Trafford for a youth team fixture last term. The 41-year-old was touted as the perfect candidate for the Director of Football role with the Reds backroom set-up. However, nothing materialised and Mitchell remained with Monaco, where he has been since June 2020.

Arnold Lewis
A hardcore Chelsea fan, who is often found playing football on the weekends. He has an exceptional voice and his rendition of old Hindi classic songs will make your heart melt. He is the man with the funky hair.

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