A closer look into the signing of Guilavogui

Arthur Guisasola skeptical about motives behind the Frenchman's transfer

josuha guilavogui

Guilavogui arrived at Atleti this past summer (EFE)

It was late August when it was officially announced that Atlético Madrid had secured the signing of Josuha Guilavogui from Saint Etienne for €12 million.

Many Rojiblancos thought, “Who is he?” “What position does he play?” and “Where did this transfer come from?”

For the most part, I thought the same. Still, to this day, I often wonder who exactly Josuha Guilavogui is.

The young Josuha was born in Ollioules, France and is 23 years old. He’s been capped for the French national team a total of five times.

Josuha is a product of the St. Etienne youth academy, having made his debut when he was 18 years old.

After four years with the St. Etienne senior team, he was abruptly sold to Atleti and signed a five-year contract.

Guilavogui’s primary position on the pitch is as a defensive midfielder, known for being able to break up opposition attacks and quickly distribute the ball for a counter.

However, after four months with the club, Guilavogui has only made five appearances for los Rojiblancos.

His debut came on October 6th after he came on for an injured Gabi. He played a grand total of one minute.

The Frenchman would have to wait one more month for his next opportunity. The second time he dressed in the red and white jersey, was when Atleti routed Austria Vienna 4-0. Guilavogui managed to play 34 minutes.

Guilavogui has made one appearance in La Liga, two in the Champions League and two in the Copa del Rey.

After several months at the club and such a limited amount of minutes given to the young French international, it is easy to ask why was he brought into the squad in the first place?

The squad has Gabi, Mario Suárez and Tiago to fulfill the same role. Koke has also played several times in this position. If Diego Simeone didn’t request his signing, and if the club is in such a bad financial situation, why did this transfer ever happen?

After snooping around a bit, I may have found out why. The answer? Doyen Group.

If you don’t remember, Doyen Group is who allegedly owned the majority of Radamel Falcao’s rights and facilitated his transfer to AS Monaco this past summer. We’re talking about the company that sponsored our jersey two seasons ago; an organisation that has a firm grasp of Atlético.

Once I went through the whole Doyen Group’s website, I found this statement posted by them this past October:

“Doyen Sports is proud of the cooperation with Valencia and Atlético Madrid concerning the signings of Pabón and Guilavogui, respectively. In both cases, Doyen financed 50 percent of the investment. We congratulate the clubs for signing excellent players and we wish the athletes luck for the following seasons.”

Is the mystery of this transfer solved? We’ll be sure to find out this summer if Guilavogui manages to stay next season.

  • Pantic#10

    So far he played well. He’s young and promising.
    Hope he’ll stay with us for next season.
    If Doyen buy strong players, good for them and us.

  • Arjit

    Honestly if doyen-sponsored players come to Atletico, play well and leave while making Atletico some extra $$, I’m ok with that. He was bought for $12 mill, if he gives us 2 good years and leaves for $20-25 mill to one if the rich clubs then that’s great for us! Unless cerezo keeps the money in his pocket….

    So far out of all the games he’s played, he’s done well.

  • Ash

    The current mostly called-up starting 11 has been trained by Cholo for 2 years so that the teamwork of them is at the top. I guess Cholo just doesn’t want to break up the momentum.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I’ll quote what Paulo said yesterday when there was a debate about the owner of Doyen Group, Jorge Mendes, but then it was about Pizzi, the Portuguese player :

    “Atletico is not a feeder club to the top teams in the world. Atletico are actually one of the top teams in the world”

    I totally disagree with dealing with Doyen group or any other group like them

    Does Atleti really need a third party to finance a 12 million deal ?!
    I mean O.K, we maybe needed them to facilitated the transfer of Falcao who cost 40 million, but 12 million .. come on !!

    In Europe, there are many clubs that are famous of buying young talents (with their own money) and selling them after a couple of years for much bigger amount of money
    Have Atleti board heard about Ajax, or Porto .. even Arsenal, who -in recent years- could be classified as one of this type of clubs

    Of course they have heard of them .. The real question is :
    When will we hear about the “under the table business” between Mendes & his group and our board

    I’m really sorry for saying the next, but it’s out of my love for Atelti :

    I wish Guilavogui fails with us, goes back to St. Etienne or any other club with cheap price, and I wish our boy, Saul come back to take his place .. in his home

  • pantic#10

    I don’t like it too. honestly. and i see your point of view, which is always coherent and smart.
    But this what we have.
    Have you seen the Doyen Group website? They own Neymar and Xavi rights. they have a lot of talented players in their roster.
    No one knows them but they are the big fishes of transfers.

    and probably better have a deal with the Doyen Group than a Bank.

    They help us to buy players that we can’t afford, and after a couple of years we sell them and everybody makes money: We, them and the players.
    everybody’s happy.

    No Doyen. No Falcao. No Trophies. sad but true.

    I’m not afraid about the future of Saul, Manquillo, Oliver…& Co. i know they will make Atleti a even bigger team.
    But i also know that we could probably sell them for big money.

    I think that the important things are:
    Project and Continuity.

    The players go but the project stays, and looks like we have a strong project till 2017 (and beyond ..i hope!)

    about the “under the table business”…unfortunately where are the money (big amount) , there’s corruption.
    Let’s only hope that this is not the case….

  • piserakos

    well let’s see the advantages and the dissadvantages of Doyen Group.
    Advantages: Imagine buying Pizzi, Gilavogui or other player of that type with our money, then we will put money to ‘bad’ investments. Now someone else put the money and the player plays to us (it’s like loan a player). We can afford to do big transfers like Falcao. Everyteam on the world finds money from 3rd parties some times it’s called Doyen Group, some time banks, I prefer Doyen. Also many players prefer Atleti for that reason
    Disadvantages: They are not really our players, if they got sold the we won’t make a lot of money and Doyen is the one who tells if they will be get sold or no.
    Anyway my opinion. It’s ok to have some players from this group but players who will help Atleti, why to have Josuha if Simeone don’t need him??? I think the Frenchman will get more chances cause he is good.
    Atleti vs Athletic at quarter finals.

  • Colchonero in SF


    Honestly I had/have no problem with the Guilavogui signing. In any case, it was a signing that gave us depth at the CM position with TIago and Gabi aging (32 and 30) respectively and in case of any injury- a proven French International.

    It is literally a no-risk move and obviously without knowing the financial ramification- one in which Atleti can only profit from in the long term as Guilavogui is linked with a team that is battling out with Barcelona and Real Madrid and a team that look genuine Champions League contenders.

    In Summary- no risk move- backup/potential 10 year solution at CM for Atleti and we can always offload him in the future if he is surplus to requirements at a profit.

  • Erik

    I was wondering who he is, but when I saw him play, I was impressed. I say play him more and see if he can back up one of the starters for now and start later. Because of him, do we have too many defensive players? If so, at the end of the season see who can be sold for some good $$$ and then see if we can use that money and purchase Courtois for the $30 mil that is needed. I don’t see Guilavogui as a waste because the number one thing people say about Atleti is that we have no good talented depth. Well here you go. We as Atleti fans should not complain because he will allow at least the defensive players to rest. As of right now our defense is the “Iron Curtain” of La Liga.

  • kris

    Totally agree with Erik, and somewhat agreeing and disagreeing with the other commenters. A healthy discussion nonetheless.

  • Paulo

    I think the problem is, The Doyen Group and Gestifute brings “fringe” players to Atleti, who are never really needed or used in our starting 11 and they just keep on going after a year or two. And they don’t come cheap, either. If Doyen payed half of Guilavogui, we still had to pay 6mil, which would have been useful for a more important transfer. If Mendes was really helping us, why didn’t his companies didn’t help us to get DIEGO or any other playmaker, who we really needed?

    Thinking about Pizzi (He cost us 13.5mil, his Market Value at the time was 7-8mil. He was sold to benfica for ~6mil) or Silvio (around 7mil), they weren’t cheap either and in my opinion, they were very bad business.
    Pizzi is represented by Gestifute (Mendes again) and when Silvio came, I think he was represented by Mendes, too. Nowadays his agent is Gregor Machulik. When it became evident that Silvio is really injury-prone, it seems he was abandoned by Mendes.
    Btw. Diego Costa, Adrian, Tiago Mendes and supposedly Miranda are also Mendes clients.

    I think this Super Agent is not good for football teams in the long run. He owns the rights of so many players from numerous teams, it seems he can control the teams and the markets the way he wants and it is scary how he can just kill a team by selling their best players to a richer team or making them buy unproven, shitty players who never get used properly and the team ends up selling them for half of their original price, which can ruin a cash-strapped team.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    agree with every single word Paulo said

    People : We Are Atleti
    we are not Granada or Almeria or Osasuna

    We have 9 Ligas 10 Copas, 5 European titles and an Intercontinental (now Club World Cup)
    We are building a great 70.000 seat stadium which would have hosted the Olympics if Madrid have won 2020

    Until the med-eighties, Barcelona have had only 4 La Liga titles more than us, only 1 European title more than us, and they haven’t had won The Intercontinental Cup yet (in fact, under that name, they never did) they only won it under the new name “FIFA Club World Cup” in 2009 (then in 2011) .. while we won The Intercontinental 34 years before that, in 1975

    My point is : we are a f***ing big club .. we are Atleti

    after the med-eighties, Barca had 3 revolutions, the 1st led by Cruyff, the 2nd by Rijkaard and the 3rd by Pep

    while in that period of time, we did have one revolution, with Antic
    but after only one glorious year (1996), the dream became a nightmare, a relegation to the Segunda .. after only 4 years of the 1996 Doblete

    now we have our 2nd revolution, led by a great leader called Diego Someone, who really believe that he can make Atleti one of not just Spain’s giants .. but also one of the world’s giants

    I believe that Mendes, and the board who are dealing with him are a big obstacle in the way

    I believe that dealing with Mendes and his companies drags us down .. not bushing us forward

    So Mendes brought us Falcao, O.K .. but he only brought us only one Falcao,
    and how many did he brought us from the likes of Pizzi, Silvio & Salvio ?!

    Some of you said :
    He brought Falcao, who gave us 3 titles in 2 years, and when he left we gained a couple of millions

    Well, if we have bought Falcao with our own money, he could have stayed more years, won more titles and we could have profited a couple of “tens” of millions if we decided to sell him

    Some would say : we could never buy him without Mendes’s help
    I will simply reply : we didn’t need him,

    we already had Forlan (who actually left because of Falcao)
    And I’m a 100% sure that we could have won the same titles with Forlan, and with other players that we brought them in our own, without a help from Mendes : Arda, Juanfran, Godin, Filipe, Adrian, Diego Ribas … and our Canteranos : Mario, Koke, Álvaro Domínguez …

    Just think of this :

    I believe that we still have a chance to sign Courtois,
    but imagine that his rights were owned by Doyen Group and they were who brought him to Atleti, would we still have any chance to keep him ?!


    We are not a small club
    we are not a laboratory for Mendes or any other super agent
    we are not a transit station for big players
    we are a Final Destination

  • Alex21

    Ahmad, f*cking brilliant.

  • Billy Edwards

    Guilavogui is going to prove a lot of people wrong.

    His signing may have been funded by Doyen, but it’s a much different case to Pizzi. We all know Simeone wanted and specifically ASKED for a midfielder of this profile – just look at our failed pursuits for Toulalan or Capoue – but the fact is we don’t have the money to spend so decided to take this option. No favour to Mendes, the player is a French international and was sought by many of Europe’s top clubs, he is not at Atleti by chance. From what I understand, this is similar to how Arda, for example, was signed.

    Ash said it above, Cholo believes in the players that have brought him success in the last 2 years but it doesn’t mean he hasn’t got faith in Guilavogui. The system takes a long time to adapt to (physically as much as mentally) and he didn’t have the benefit of a pre-season, but Cholo calls him for every game now and is slowly giving him more chances.

    I think before long, we will see him earn more trust and work his way into the regular team. So far, the guy has been completely professional and not complained once. Wishing him to fail? Not on, imo.

  • kris

    I agree with Billy as well, Guilavogui is a signing for the present and the future like I said when he first came and I also believe he will prove many wrong, and there’s no need to wish anybody any failure at all. That’d just be so unethical and childish in many aspects. Guilavogui is most likely going to start tomorrow in the defensive mid position in place of Tiago and Koke will stay in his winger position. He should be able to show the world why so many clubs wanted him in the summer and why he had started to play for the France National Team. I hope he gives a performance like Modric today against Betis. Magical player. When there’s two irons infront of the defense like Gabi and Guilavogui the midfield battle will most likely be won by Atleti. Let’s go Guilavogui and Oliver, Sosa, CR11, RG8 will all need some minutes as well. I wonder how Simeone is going to keep all these players happy. They are all so hungry to play every single game..