Luis Campos: The unequaled genius who revolutionized the sporting director profession


There’s currently total mayhem in Ligue 1 club LOSC Lille, as their president and owner, Gérard López, has been replaced as the club was hugely debt-ridden. 

The club – who currently tops the Ligue 1 table – is in debt of between 130-200 million euros. But as if that wasn’t enough, the killer blow came when their biggest source of income, the TV-money, was pulled as the Ligue 1 contract broadcaster Mediapro left their deal after just six months – four and a half year in advance. 

All in all, resulted in Gérard López selling the club to an American fund names Merlyn Partners (owned by JP Morgan) and former Rennes president Olivier Létang stepping in as club president. However, the biggest blow from the old management leaving is losing sporting director Luis Campos.

Luis Campos is a name that might not ring a bell for all football fans. But if you’ve paid attention to French football in the last decade, you definitely know who he is – and what a genius he is.

Campos was originally a manager in his native country of Portugal, but in the summer of 2012 he was hired by Real Madrid as a scout. He impressed a lot at his new job and only a year later he was hired by Monaco as their new sporting director after the club had just gained promotion from Ligue 2.

At Monaco, Campos was the mastermind behind the team that won Ligue 1 in 2016-17 and was the runner ups in 2013-14 and 2017-18. His continuous shrewd deals saw the team improve on the pitch whilst making tremendous profits off the pitch. AS Monaco was prospering.

Campos was responsible for bringing Kylian Mbappé, Anthony Martial, Fabinho, Bernardo Silva, Allan Saint-Maximin, Timeoué Bakayoko, Thomas Lemar, and Benjamin Mendy to the club. These players cost the club a total of 53,75 million euros and generated 479,5 million euros in sales – and they were all key players in the 2016-17 league title.

But in 2017, Campos left Monaco for a new challenge in Lille with ”Les Dogues”.

As he entered the club, Lille had finished in the middle of the Ligue 1 table the previous year – and it got worse in Campos’ first year at the club. They finished just above the relegation zone. But in his sophomore season, the progress was evident.

Lille finished as runner-up for the Ligue 1 title. And again, a club was prospering in both sporting and financial areas under Campos’ leadership. Nicolas Pépé scored 22 goals and made 11 assists, meaning he ended up second-best goal scorer and second-best assister. Rafael Leão, Boubacary Soumaré, Jonathan Ikoné, Jonathan Bamba, Gabriel Magalhães, Thiago Mendes and Zeki Celik were other key players for Lille that season – and they were all signed by Campos.

The following season they lost Pépé to Arsenal and Leão to Milan and replaced them with Victor Osimhen and Yusuf Yazici. The result? Osimhen was sold the next summer to Napoli for 70 million euros and Yazici is their most productive player this season with 11 goals and 3 assists in 21 matches.

In total, Pépé, Leão, Thiago Mendes, Gabriel Magalhães, and Oshimen were signed for 74,4 million euros and their sales generated 221 million euros to the club. Furthermore, those players mentioned above who are still at the club (Ikoné, Bamba, Soumaré, Yazici, Celik) were signed for 25 million euros and are currently valued at 113,5 million euros per Transfermarkts valuation.

Luis Campos is one of the best, if not the best, in the football industry at spotting talent and creating value. He’s an unequaled mastermind. But it all comes down to hard work: According to CNN, Campos traveled 450 600 (!) kilometers around the globe in 2018 to find the best talents around the world. He scouts the world in person whilst many of his equals at other clubs use Wyscout, or other scouting software, at their desks in the training grounds or headquarters.

Now, Campos is looking for a new job and the rumor has it that he wants to try out working in England. But whether he ends up there or not, one thing is for certain: he will be flooded with job requests. He has turned a newly promoted Monaco side to Ligue 1 champions, and a mid-table Lille side to one of Europe’s most promising projects seen to pure talent and potential.