Tottenham Hotspur just finalized the most significant and expensive transfer in their history, and that of Olympique Lyonnais on Tuesday with the £64m deal for Tanguy Ndombele. But they may not be done with Lyon — there’s a new report that suggests that Spurs may be trying to poach the man who helped Lyon sign Ndombele in the first place.
According to L’Equipe (as reported by Sport Witness), Tottenham are considering trying to hire Florian Maurice, Lyon’s head of recruitment since 2009. Lyon has been significantly ahead of the curve with regards to recruitment of under-the-radar talents, and Spurs have not only bought Ndombele from Lyon in the past decade, but also Hugo Lloris and Clinton Njie. However, Lyon has a new director of football, Juninho Pernambucano, who has started to implement a new scouting and recruitment team, something that has reportedly disillusioned Maurice.
The thought is that Spurs could make an approach to Maurice to join Spurs chief scout Steve Hitchen in north London, which would hopefully help attract young up and coming talent (presumably from France) to Spurs before other clubs snap them up. Monaco is also keeping an eye on Maurice for the same reason.
L’Equipe however also says that Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas is not willing to let him go, and is confident that a new contract would keep Maurice at the club.
We’ve been somewhat critical of Tottenham’s scouting and recruitment over the past couple of years — it’s hard not to be after the departure of Paul Mitchell and his “black box” and the subsequent 517 days without an incoming player. Despite the large outlay on Ndombele, Spurs are always going to be a team whose bread and butter is buying young players and developing them into stars, so bringing in another recruitment person who specializes in finding diamonds in the rough makes a lot of sense.
While it seems as though poaching Maurice is not nearly a done deal or even especially likely, it’s the right idea — Spurs are always better off when they can find the Tanguy Ndombeles of the world early on and bring them through the development squad rather than spending tens of millions of pounds to buy them from other clubs.