Tottenham Hotspur haven’t (quite) appointed a new manager after nearly two months of searching, but they have finalized a pretty significant shake-up in their back office. Today, Tottenham formally announced the appointment Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici as their new Managing Director of Football.
The appointment of Paratici marks a return to a Director of Football model that hasn’t been in place since the end of the Andre Villas-Boas era at Tottenham. It’s a marked change from the way the club has operated for the past six years, and can be viewed as an understanding by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy that the status quo is no longer working. That he carries the title Managing Director of Football also implies that he carries extra responsibilities that go beyond a typical DoF, which makes this appointment all the more significant.
Paratici is known as a tactically astute person and one who is a good evaluator and identifier of talent. There’s a particularly fun anecdote about how Paratici identified young American star Weston McKennie, then at Schalke, after messing around on Wyscout while bored during some down-time. McKennie signed for Juventus on loan in the fall of 2020, a move that later became permanent; he was the first American player to ever sign for Juventus. However, Paratici has has been criticized at times by Juventus fans for his record of selling talent, something that will be an important part of his job at Spurs in the short term.
Paratici had worked closely with Antonio Conte in the past, which was viewed as a positive when Spurs were attempting to sway Conte to become Tottenham’s new manager last week, but that connection was viewed as a happy coincidence.
Paratici also comes across as an intelligent person, in quotes as reported by football.london:
“It is true that I often follow multiple leads to run interference and raise the price tag, but everybody does that. It is not even a strategy on my part, I am just obsessed with knowledge, I am very curious when I hear about some rumours or I catch wind that somebody else is after a player.
“I think this is a virtue, I always look deep into things to try to know why. This stimulates me a lot. When you try to get some information about a player, they are naturally linked to you and then you become a potential buyer.”
Levy has had a number of Directors of Football over his tenure at the club, but moved away from the model after Villas-Boas left the club, letting then-DoF Franco Baldini go after hiring Mauricio Pochettino, who preferred to work alone. According to The Athletic, Paratici’s appointment represents one of the largest delegations of responsibility in many years, with the Italian’s responsibilities said to be larger than that of a typical Director of Football role.
Under Paratici, Spurs will no doubt be linked to a myriad of either Italians, or players currently at Italian clubs. Paratici’s first order of business, however, is reportedly to help appoint Tottenham’s next manager, after a fairly disastrous flirtation with Mauricio Pochettino and Antonio Conte last week, deals for both of whom fell through. That search appears to be over, with numerous reports suggesting that former Roma manager Paulo Fonseca will be announced as Tottenham’s next manager sometime early next week.
The importance Paratici’s appointment can only be viewed in the context of time and what he’s able to accomplish. However, looking back at the past few seasons, which have seen a distracted Daniel Levy devoting much of his time to the construction of the stadium to the detriment of the football side of operations, this is hopefully going to be a net positive.