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Tottenham appoint former Villa executive Johan Lange as Technical Director

Not a Director of Football!

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Unai Emery Aston Villa Press Conference Photo by Aston Villa/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

When Scott Munn (finally) began his appointment as Tottenham Hotspur’s chief football officer a few weeks ago, the club made it clear that one of his first responsibilities was to hire a new director of football, a position that would oversee player recruitment and development. This new hire would effectively replace Fabio Paratici, who stepped down from the position after sanctions were imposed due to his involvement in the recent scandals at Juventus.

Today, the club announced, as suggested from earlier reporting, that former Aston Villa sporting director Johan Lange has been appointed as Technical Director at Spurs.

“We are delighted to announce that Johan Lange has been appointed Technical Director with effect from 1 November, 2023.

“Lange will have responsibility for recruitment, analytics and talent identification across our senior and academy teams.

“Lange held the role of Global Director of Football Development and International Academies at Aston Villa from June, 2023, having previously been Sporting Director from June, 2020. Lange oversaw several high profile player transfers, a period that saw Aston Villa move to the top half of the table.

“In 2014, Lange, having previously been an Assistant Coach, rejoined FC Copenhagen as Development Director and then Technical Director the same season.

“Commenting on his appointment, Scott Munn, Chief Football Officer, said, ‘Johan has demonstrated an excellent track record of scouting and signing many talented and successful youth and senior players. He is a welcome addition as we strengthen our football operations.’”

—Statement, Tottenham Hotspur

The Athletic reported last week that Lange was a preferred candidate for the vacant football director role. While the title is different to Paratici’s, the remit is very similar. Lange is set to oversee the club’s recruitment and talent identification division, and will report directly to Munn. The Athletic noted a similarity to the way City Group have set up their organization, with Lange serving as Tottenham’s Txiki Begiristain, and Munn overseeing the whole football side operation like City’s Omar Berrada. Under this new system, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is to relinquish much of the day to day oversight of the football club, allowing him to shift his focus to the financial side of the organization.

At Villa, Lange had a large role in Villa’s uptick in fortunes over the past number of seasons, and had a hand in bringing players such as Matty Cash, Emiliano Martinez, and Ollie Watkins. He’s apparently comfortable with using advanced analytics in player recruitment, which is probably an obvious skill considering Tottenham’s clear reorganization in that area over the past 18 months. Lange also has experience in recruitment from when he worked at Copenhagen from 2014-2020 as Technical Director.

The proof is in the pudding of course, and it’ll be a while before we have a sense of what Lange will bring to the club’s backroom staff, but at minimum he looks like a competent executive and someone with a great deal of experience in the role Spurs want him to fill. Villa steadily improved while he was at the club, and a move to Tottenham represents a logical next step in his development as a high level football executive. Lange isn’t exactly a household name, but the hope is that his appointment signifies another under-the-radar appointment that could pay significant dividends down the road, much like Ange Postecoglou has already done in the coaching ranks.