Unai Emery was full of praise for former Sevilla colleague Monchi but refused to be drawn on whether Arsenal could lure his compatriot fro Italy to the Emirates.
Over the course of 17 years, Monchi, fulfilling a sporting director position, made a name for himself in La Liga developing Sevilla’s youth system and implementing a vast scouting network that lured the likes of Dani Alves, Julio Baptista and Ivan Rakitic to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
For three seasons between 2013-2016, Emery worked closely with Monchi at Sevilla before both men went in search of new challenges; the former to Paris Saint Germain and the latter to AS Roma where he continues to ply his trade.
It’s been suggested in recent days that a reunion could be on the cards with Arsenal eager to fill the void set to be left by the outgoing head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat.
“I can only say to you that he’s working in Roma,” said Emery at his pre-Manchester United press conference.
“I worked very well with him in Sevilla for three and a half years, and very well too.
“My relationship with him is good but this work is for the club and the issue is the club’s responsibility. I can say to you only that he is a good person and a good professional.”
On suggestions that Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham could be tempted to make a swift appointment, Emery went on: “Maybe if you do this recruitment very quickly, maybe you can make a mistake.
“I think it’s better to do without that, being calm and also finding the best possible person to do this job like we want. I think the club is working on that.
“It’s not my issue. I can say the same: if the club decided to sign one Sporting Director, then I will agree with them.”
Monchi, who still has two years left on his deal with Roma, has been quick to dampen speculation.
“I know my name is being associated with Arsenal but I am concentrating on my job with Roma,” he said yesterday.
“However it is a pleasure being linked with a club like Arsenal – but it is not first time that happens.”
Emery also reserved warm words for Mislintat with whom he only has a couple more weeks to work. The German was on the three-man panel that appointed the Spaniard this summer but is understood to have grown frustrated by the evolving structure of the football operations outfit at the Emirates following Ivan Gazidis’ exit.
“It’s a very short time that I worked with him but I worked well and pleasantly with him,” reflected Emery.
“I think he has big experience in Germany and here, and it’s one issue in the club and the club is working on that. I can only say to you that my experience with him is positive and is good.”