As reported yesterday on El Digital Deportivo, sporting director of CF Talavera, José Lozano, has stepped down from his position with the Spanish minnow to become Tottenham Hotspur's head scout for the Iberian peninsula, focusing on U18 and U21 sides. The report claims that he will also focus on first team scouting duties, but how that functions is to be seen.
In a farewell letter to the club he thanked everyone for the chance to work in football, stating that the job at Tottenham "[e]ra algo que no podía dejar pasar"--an opportunity he could not let pass.
This all seems mundane enough. A small time football man taking on a scouting role at a big club does not seem to be reason to perk up the ears during silly season, but it is. Spurs were blasted by former director of football Damien Comolli last fall for having no scouting infrastructure. While having no reason to make that public, he also had no reason to lie; anything that makes delusional Liverpool fans on internet forums correct is embarrassing enough, but take into account the resources of the club and it is doubly shameful. There are signs that the boardroom focus in N17 is going through a makeover, however.
Everyone associated with the club knows that Paul Mitchell was hired to shift the paradigm at Tottenham. Coming from Southampton, whose academy has a track record of producing elite talent, the hope was that he could recreate a system of player identification and recruitment based on Saints' model, but with the financial clout of Spurs behind it. He has already brought in a right hand man in David Webb, throwing the tenure of Franco Baldini into even more doubt. Now Lozano. I would be quite surprised if we did not see our scouting department add regional contacts during the next calendar year in places like Brazil, Argentina, and the Balkans.
This is all good news as I have always loved reading about clubs like Southampton and Ajax, clubs that have an identity born of not only the first team, but their system. Quotes from Ajax academy graduate Dave van den Bergh in this Leander Schaerlaeckens piece from 2011 have always stuck with me: "If they can find a better player than you in a 100 kilometer radius, you're gone." While not being reduced to a 100 kilometer radius, Spurs would do well to create the same atmosphere of competition and urgency within the academy ranks.
Recently, the youth squads have produced first team talent at Tottenham Hotspur. Whether this has been dumb luck or the product of clever signings is up for debate. What is clear with this latest front office signing, however, is that the club is committed to making the youth system at Spurs a long term priority, an ever growing, global asset that we can all look to with a sense of pride.