Adrián Espárraga, who has a solid football career in European clubs from top leagues, was appointed as a new Sporting Director of KMSK Deinze. In this interview he tells us about his previous clubs, what his current task at the club is, and how he is building his scouting department.
Briefly tell us your background and your career
I was born in Murcia (Spain) 31 years ago. I started playing football at the age of 6 but a bad knee injury ended my career as a player. At the age of 17, I decided to get my coaching license and started my coaching career at a club in the Spanish third division. Suddenly, I got a call from Málaga CF to join the club as a match analyst, so I moved to Málaga and worked there for 2 and half years. We even played in the Champions League during that time, but got knocked out of the quarterfinals by Borussia Dortmund. After Manuel Pellegrini moved to Manchester City I became Head of Recruitment at Málaga CF. In the years that followed, I worked for Tottenham, Real Betis in Seville, and Leicester City. I stayed at Leicester for 2 and half years before moving to France to work for Girondins de Bordeaux until 2020. Then I worked as a football advisor for multiple clubs until I got a call from ACA Football Partners to move to Deinze.
Why did you decide to join ACA Football Partners’ project as a Sporting Director?
When they called me they explained about the whole project about the club. I eventually decided to come here because the project interests me and because I’m impressed by their ambition. Personally, I think it was a very good decision to move here.
What is your first impression of KMSK Deinze?
The club is fantastic. There’s a nice atmosphere from the supporters, and also from the staff and the players. The city of Deinze is also amazing, so I’m very happy to be here.
What is the future vision of the club?
Our first step is to analyze the first team and try to make decisions about the players in order to establish a strong foundation. Then, if we can perform consistently over the next few years, we are ready to promote to the first division and achieve our other goals in the next few years. That’s how we will put KMSK Deinze on the football map.
When you are building a team you have to create a balance between the people or players who already know about the league well and the people or players who have talent to improve our squad. So we have to work in two ways: knowing the local market and bringing foreign talent to improve the whole performance of the squad.
The academy is also one of the most important aspects. That’s why our strategy is to not only focus on the first team or solely focus on the academy. We want our youth players to go to the first team. We’re investing our energy in the academy section to improve the talent, the technical staff, the equipment, the facilities etc., because we want to give our youth players the best environment possible for them to promote to the first team.
You are building a new scouting team. Please introduce them briefly
（Álvaro López, Adrián Espárraga, Juan Carlos Valdívia, Michel Beukers）
We are currently building a new scouting strategy to focus on other regions in the world. In order to do this, we’ve built a new scouting team, including people from different countries who know other markets. This way, we can cover the information of the whole of Europe.
The first new member of the scouting team is Álvaro López. He will be the Scout Coordinator, meaning that he will be centralizing all the information coming from the different scouts who are based around the world. He has previously worked for BeSoccer, one of the best companies in terms of data analysis.
Next is Juan Carlos Valdívia. Juan Carlos is 55 years old and previously worked for Málaga CF as a coach and scout before moving to England to work for West Ham United. It’s fantastic to have him as a scout for KMSK Deinze because he knows the South-European market very well.
Then we have Michel Beukers from Rotterdam. He has been working at Feyenoord for the last 30 years in the football department, and for the last 20 years he was Chief of Scouting. He’s also a big signing for the club because he knows the Belgium, the Netherlands and the German market very well.
Then we also have Kurt Vandoorne and Klaas Van De Putte. Both Kurt and Klaas have been working closely with the coach since the beginning of this season. They both have a very good knowledge of the local market so they are very valuable to us.
Finally, do you have a message for KMSK Deinze fans?
First of all, I would like to thank all the fans for their support for KMSK Deinze this season. I hope to see them all again next season because I believe that all together, with the support and the fans, we can achieve great things. The first one of our goals here is promoting to the first division, the Jupiler Pro League.
You can find a full interview here: