Kucharski: I take full responsibility
Legia.com: - A few weeks ago you became the new sports director of Legia Warsaw. Could you present the current structure of the club's sports department?
Radosław Kucharski: - An interesting and big challenge is ahead of us, but with helpful people around, we will be ready to face it. The organisation of the club's sports department takes on a line structure. I am the sports director responsible for the first team and Tomasz Kiełbowicz is responsible for the scouting department. Tomek is also included in the functioning of the Club as a sports deputy director. The director of the Academy is Jacek Zieliński. The full responsibility for the first team is mine, of course, with the cooperation of other people in the club. It is a huge responsibility and I want to thank the management for trusting in me.
- Does the fact that you are a sports director, and your professional path mainly led through scouting, mean that in the sports strategy we will be more focused on players acquired by the scouting path? More on Polish or foreign players?
- For us, the priority should always be the quality of the player adequate to the financial capabilities of the club. If we can win with Poles and we will be able to afford it, then we will go first in this way. On the other hand, the reality of the transfer market in Europe is not conducive for us to attract the most talented Polish players from Ekstraklasa, who leave our country every season. Such market laws don’t block us, on the contrary, they trigger a greater level of creativity. In building the team, a coherent transfer policy is very important for the final sports and financial result of the club. It is also known that every coach or scout has his own ideas for transfers. One or the other should not block these ideas. You have to enter into a substantial discussion, get to know the idea for a team and a player who is sometimes recommended by the scouting department and sometimes by a coach. The most important thing in the transfers is listening to both sides. I am not perfect. In my scouting career I have successes, but I also have failures. Only I know how many sleepless nights happened to me. By now I am more experienced.
- You have gained a lot of experience, but it’s your first time as sports director.
- Yes, it's true. It is a completely different work formula, much more responsibility and a changed timetable. For the last eight years, I have had the opportunity to closely observe the work of the four previous sports directors of Legia Warsaw and today I will also try to build on the experience and insights gathered during this time.
- Returning to the line structure, does this mean that the technical committee responsible for transfers has ceased to operate?
- The perception of the transfer committee is too simplistic in my eyes and concerns only activities coming to the Club. And yet decisions about players currently playing in the Club are very important. Often these decisions determine the future of the Club and sometimes become more important than the new incoming transfer. The very dynamics of the committee will be very close to everyday cooperation and discussion. I believe that this is a key factor in the flow of information and the right choices for the Club.
- During your scouting career, you had an adventure with great European football. Why did you decide to come back from Manchester United to work in Legia?
- The fact that I received such a proposal was a great honour, but I used it mainly for one reason. I wanted to see if I'm going in the right direction in my life. And when I sat down on a bench at the University of United, where 25 other scout chiefs from the best clubs in Europe sat next to me, I was proud of myself, feeling that I was going in a very good direction. Scouting is self-taught. Nobody taught me what to look for, how to look at the player. Knowledge which I have is based on many years of observation, analysis, conversations, comparisons, sacrifices and hunger for discovery. Based on my experience, I think the most important thing about football is whether you have a real impact on the functioning of the Club. I have such influence today, that's why I came back here, aware of the responsibility connected to both failures and victories. The place where I am, and the people I work with, give me today a great sense of shaping Legia Warsaw. That's why I came back here.
- What will Legia’s transfer policy look like now?
- The key is to find the right balance between sporting success and financial stability. Team building must be clever, based on players with experience and players with yet uncovered potential. We have to consistently strengthen ourselves to fight for the Polish championship and promotion to the European cups, at the same time preparing our players for sale. The transfer market mechanisms in Europe are very simple today. We are and will be a selling club. It's important that we use potential sales to raise the team's level.
- In the summer, contracts of 12 Legia footballers are expiring. Do you know who you will want to part with and who will you extend contract with?
- No. I took the position a few weeks ago and there will be time for such decisions in the Club. First of all, the first information will be directed to the players.
- For one and a half years it has been said that one of the main goals is to rejuvenate the team. Changes are already visible, but should one expect acceleration of this process in the next transfer windows?
- The average age of starting eleven in the match won against Lech was 26 years. We had three U21 payers and three players over 30 years of age. I want to keep a similar balance in the team. Regardless of the player's age, we must have players with full dedication to the club.
- In discussions, it is often argued that we do not focus on Poles, that we do not look for them in lower divisions, such as Górnik Zabrze.
- I absolutely disagree with that. We look for them lot in the second or third division. In our perception of players from lower divisions the key is that we are not looking for supplements. We are trying to contract a player who has a real chance of potential sale from Legia. A good example is Jarek Niezgoda - a lad from the second division, taken from Puławy. He costed us a little, we saw that the boy has papers for playing serious football and we took the sports risk that paid off. Saying that looking for players we neglect the Poles has nothing to do with the truth. Our scouts drive around Poland more than abroad.
- Does it mean that we will look for more players from lower divisions?
- We want quality, not quantity. Doors to Legia Warszawa are always open, regardless of age or level of competition. Believe me. I know from my own experience that Nikolic's and Niezgoda's transfers are two different flavours for the scout.
- Do you see potential in our young players?
- Yes. We have talented boys whom we will gradually want to introduce to the team. On the other hand, depending on sports and mental issues, we will make decisions - is this the right time to introduce these players to the first team, or loan them, giving them the opportunity to regularly play and develop properly in another club, as it was with Mateusz Wieteska. It all depends on their approach to work and continuous greed for the next steps.
- What expectations did the club put before you?
- The sports goal is very clear and unchangeable. We are fighting for the championship title and the Polish Cup. Another thing it to find right balance: sports success and financial stability. This is my project to be implemented for the coming months.