In one sense, Tottenham Hotspur were ahead of the curve in the mid-2000s. While the club struggled for consistent success, they were one of the first to truly embrace the Director of Football role that had been commonplace in Europe for a long time, with Damien Comolli hired in 2005. Now, 16 years later, Spurs are reportedly set to raise the bar again with regards to the job. Indeed, Fabio Paratici is expected to be confirmed as the new Director of Football at Tottenham this week in a move that will see one of the best executive level operators in the game swap Juventus for North London.
Paratici is a superstar Director of Football in the same way Monchi and Luis Campos are. Some figures in the position like to operate in the background. Others, though, make their influence more known. Paratici, going on the way he has been over the last 10 years at Juventus, will be a front-facing character.
Of course, the impending arrival of Fabio Paratici at Tottenham is set against the backdrop of the club’s continued search for a new manager. Spurs’ hope was that the 48-year-old would be one half of a new dream team that would have lured Antonio Conte to the club following his exit from Inter at the end of last season.
Recent reports claim Conte has since ended talks with Tottenham and so Paratici’s looming arrival might not be as immediately transformative as it could have been. Conte and Paratici achieved great success together at Juventus but it’s the latter whose appointment could have a greater long-term impact on the club.
Tottenham Hotspur need a reboot. The Mauricio Pochettino era is over, but the club has yet to truly pick a new direction. This was a major factor in Jose Mourinho’s disastrous tenure. While the Portuguese didn’t help matters with his abrasive style, he inherited a group of players that had already reached the end of a cycle.
The appointment of Fabio Paratici should give Tottenham that new direction. It will also take some of the responsibility off the shoulders of Daniel Levy and allow the chairman to focus on other areas of the club. The re-establishment of this sporting structure, one that delegates responsibility to more front office staff, will modernise Spurs.
At Juventus, Paratici had the luxury of a big budget to work with. He completed blockbuster deals, like the €100m signing of Cristiano Ronaldo. At Tottenham, though, Paratici will have to work harder in the transfer market. He will be charged with finding value. Spurs are willing to spend money, as they proved last summer, but Paratici will sometimes have to dip into the bargain bin.
It will take time for Paratici to fully integrate himself. The Italian will have to assess the scouting networks he has inherited. He will have to consider whether Tottenham’s recruitment staff are up to the job and whether there are any areas on the coaching and sports science of things being neglected.
One thing Fabio Paratici may well have to make a quick call on is the appointment of a new manager that isn’t Conte, as Tottenham appear to have run out of ideas in their search for Mourinho’s successor. Their pursuit of both Conte and Pochettino leading to dead ends and Levy will be hopeful that Paratici has some suggestions.
A new Director of Football might not get fans excited like a world class new manager or a new signing, but Paratici will be arguably the most influential figure at Spurs, at least from a footballing perspective, for the next few years or more. It’s more important that Tottenham get this right than anything else this summer.
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