Speaking exclusively to GFFN, football agent Mikkel Beck discussed the French summer transfer window and several of his clients and their futures including Simon Kjaer, Rony Lopes, Ronny Rodelin, Sébastien Corchia and Lucas Digne.
Are you surprised with the hyper-activity in the French market?
No, I am not surprised. We all knew this market was going to be a quite important market for the likes of Marseille, Lille, even Lyon have also been quite active. We all knew it was going to be an important market. I think for clubs like them they are more or less looking at the same players so of course it is a question about positioning yourself as quickly as possible to get the players. Otherwise they will go somewhere else.
There is an enormous competition for players in a market like this with quite a few clubs having money.
Lucas Digne was one of the most used players at Barcelona last season in terms of squad appearances. Is that a source of pride for you as his agent?
We are very, very happy with his first season. Everything is going to plan. The project we put together with Barca is going to plan. He was the most used player with regards to the squad as you just said which is amazing. He took part in 26 games for his first season in Barcelona which is for me very, very good and he played a lot of games. So we are very happy and can’t wait to take on the second season.
Do you think this is the season he might be able to eclipse Jordi Alba and become the undisputed starter at left-back?
Well that is very difficult to say, they have two extremely good left-backs who are going to again mix the playing time for sure because it is a big club and you use all your squad players. So, which one of them is going to play the most games is really difficult for me to say.
I know that Lucas will do whatever he can every day in training and whenever he plays to show that he should be playing a lot of games. We are not concentrating on who is playing most, rather that the one who plays, plays well so the club can win titles again next season.
The limitations on his playing time have not really affected his role in the French national team either.
No, not at all. But I mean when you play for a club like Barcelona, which for me is the biggest club in the world, with the best players and everyone knows that everyone who plays there are world class players. Barcelona, they don’t have bad players.
Are you frustrated how in the French media a man like your client Sébastien Corchia, despite his international cap, is a little bit under-rated? He is not spoken as much in the same breath as Layvin Kurzawa, Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibé for example.
I think considering he took part in four of the five times the national team met last season, I think we can be very happy. We knew that playing for a team that was not really performing like Lille was not going to help Sébastien. This, despite the fact that he actually performed personally very well. I see all the different teams of the year he was voted into, so Sébastien had a very good season personally, but the team was of course struggling.
I think that affected a little bit his playing time in the national team. We believe, that with a move to an even bigger club, in an even bigger league (Sevilla), we believe there is a chance for him to show maybe better week by week to the national team coach that he can count on him, but of course that is to be seen. But that is at least our project and the way we see things.
There were reports that you had been spotted at the Marseille training ground to discuss the future of Fenerbahce central defender Simon Kjaer. I won’t ask you to comment on that specific report, but is it possible that we could see him back in France this summer?
I won’t exclude anything. Anything is possible with a top player like Simon. It is normal that all the big clubs with money should be in for him and are in for him. What might happen this summer is still impossible to say. He still has a contract of 2 years more with Fenerbahce, which is a very ambitious club who are also reinforcing their squad enormously. So, we are taking it calmly and let’s see what might happen over summer. The summer is still very long and he is a very popular player on the market, but we have a contract. Which is why it is hard to talk about other clubs at the moment. We concentrate on Fenerbahce and we will see what happens.
Is he happy in Turkey?
Yeah, of course he is happy to play for a big club like Fenerbahce and he has been enjoying his time. So, there is nothing more to say about that. Of course Simon is ambitious and he sees himself playing at the highest level all the time so if something comes up which is of our interest from another league then we will of course sit down with Fenerbahce and talk to them about it.
Have either you or Rony Lopes received assurances from AS Monaco that he will get a fair shot to make it after a series of loan spells at Lille?
Well I mean there are no assurances in a big club like Monaco, it is the same with any top club in Europe. The assurance that we have got is that the club is counting on him for this season and that he has taken the position of Bernardo Silva in the squad and that it is up to him now to show that he should finally start playing for this amazing club.
He has been working very hard since he started pre-season with the team. He has scored two goals in his first two friendly matches, which is all he can do. We are very positive about this season and I really hope that he can get the breakthrough in this club and play for this amazing team that gave all of us so many amazing memories last season.
At this stage you are 100% ruling out a departure for him from AS Monaco this summer then. He is going to stay and fight.
Yes, I can’t see that happening.
Gabriel Boschilla’s slow return from a long-term injury could potentially give him a bit of a chance in the first team if Lemar stays at the club and plays on that left-hand side as well.
I think that Rony is going to be on the right. I think that is his position for Monaco. Boschilla has been injured for many months now and nobody knows how he will come back. And, also, the big advantage that Rony has is he played many more games than Boschilla last season. So I think he played 22 games in the league, and nearly 30 in all competitions, that is his big advantage compared to other players in the Monaco squad. So I really believe this season that Rony is going to get his chance and then of course it is up to him to prove that he is worth it. We know his qualities. We know he has what is required to play at the top level. We are very optimistic.
For our readers who might not know Rony Lopes so well, how would you compare his game to the recently-departed Bernardo Silva?
Of course the biggest similarity is that they are both left-footed players, they both have incredible technique and great first touch and can make the difference in a split second with their left foot. I think there are also some differences, I think that Bernardo is maybe more on the move constantly whereas Rony is more powerful, physically stronger and probably also quicker than Bernardo Silva. I think that Bernardo Silva plays maybe more passing football where Rony can go one-on-one better than Bernardo. They are top players both of them.
On Monaco, do you think that from what you are feeling having interacted with the club that after Tiemoué Bakayoko’s departure to Chelsea, that’s going to be it for departures for Monaco?
I really have no idea. To be honest, they keep the cards really close to their chest and it is hard to read their strategy and the way they are doing things. What we do know, and you don’t have to be very intelligent to know this, is that they have so many players that are popular in the market.
If they really wanted, they could probably sell half of the team. I don’t think that they will sell half of the team, because they are being ambitious and I think that they still want to try and be competitive next season. I think they will sell more players, that I do think, but I don’t think they will sell all the players that I could sell.
Let’s talk about Ronny Rodelin, a man who kept Caen up. He is undoubtedly a massively underrated Ligue 1 player. He is currently under contract with Caen, but what is the plan for Ronny?
Ronny is the same as Simon. It is hard to talk about a player who is under contract and not really for sale. We have two more years in Caen. Ronny has had two amazing seasons. I think if it had not been for him last season then it would have been very difficult for the club to stay up.
Especially seeing him scoring the decisive goal against PSG, so he has had an incredible impact on this team for the past two seasons. I know that Caen want to do whatever it takes to keep him. Where you are right is that his performances over the past 2 seasons have also attracted some interest from other clubs.
It is not impossible that clubs will position themselves between now and the end of the market. Like I said with Simon, if that is the case, and the project is interesting, then we will have to sit down with Caen and try and find a solution.
Ronny Rodelin is extremely ambitious and he is always looking to play at the highest level so of course he is open for interesting projects. Again, he is under contract with Caen first and foremost.
On Ronny, does he eventually want to play abroad?
Of course, he has a long-term career plan that hopefully leads him outside France eventually. He has got the level to play in most countries in my opinion. He is a very atypical striker, probably a little bit like Peter Crouch. I would even say he is more mobile and quicker than Peter Crouch but he is a tall guy who has an incredible aerial ability and he is also actually incredibly, technically gifted. I think he is an atypical player who could play in most leagues and most clubs to be perfectly honest.
So a move to England, where Peter Crouch is, would be something interesting for Ronny Rodelin?
Well I mean I think the English Premier League is always interesting for most players. If you are ambitious, then this is one of the leagues you want to play in. So why not, yes. But up to now we have not had any concrete interest from Premier League sides, but if that were to change of course it would be something we would study.