Remember all that talk earlier this summer about how Tottenham Hotspur was going to appoint a Director of Football after the crime-related resignation of Fabio Paratici? Well... that appointment never happened, while the vacant DoF position’s boss, Scott Munn, still hasn’t started his role due to contract issues with the City Group. It’s gotten to the point where many fans wondered whether Spurs intended to sign a director of football at all.
According to Fabrizio Romano, they very much still are, and it might be Barcelona’s. Fab tweeted today that Spurs are looking toward potentially appointing outgoing Barca Mateu Alemany in a similar role. Alemany is leaving his position on September 2.
EXCLUSIVE: Tottenham considering Mateu Alemany as potential option as new Director of Football starting from September ⚪️ #THFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 16, 2023
Alemany will part ways with Barça on September 2 and was close to Aston Villa in June — PL opportunity could return soon with Spurs. pic.twitter.com/HGfQmhUIf7
I do not follow Barcelona, nor do I have a very good grasp of the overall administrative structure at the club, apart from a very vague assertion that Barca is a) broke and b) somewhat bonkers. But here’s what I do know: Alemany joined Barca as DoF in March 2021 after a stint as General Director at Valencia. He’s apparently quite well liked and appreciated at the Nou Camp; an Athletic article about his impending departure from this past May called him “the most pivotal figure in the club’s sporting direction,” noting that he was a key appointment by club president Joan Laporta and one of the masterminds behind that bonkers “palanca/levers” system that somehow enabled them to sign players despite some serious COVID-related financial difficulties. Alemany was key to the recruitment of Robert Lewandowski and Joules Kounde (good!), as well as Raphinha and Ferran Torres (maybe not so good).
That same Athletic article goes on to say that his departure from Barcelona is precipitated not only by Barca’s financial difficulties, but by the club’s overriding his long-term vision for the club with a more pragmatic short-termism that made his tenure difficult. Alemany was closely linked for the Director of Football position at Aston Villa earlier in the summer; that link apparently did not pan out and Villa eventually appointed Monchi as DoF in mid June.
From what I can gather, Alemany is every bit a modern football executive, and is known to be appreciative of an amenable to use of data and advanced football analytics in recruitment.
Mateu Alemany: "Big data is totally integrated in the club's scouting department. It’s a very powerful tool that we count on."— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 11, 2022
Aston Villa is also pretty smartly run, and Alemany would’ve been a wonderful appointment for them. Here’s what the Athletic said about why he was excited about the Villa project.
According to sources close to the developments, Alemany feels that he will have the freedom to work at what he does best, at Villa, which is investing money in signings and looking to recoup as much back as possible in player sales. He also has the feeling that the club will tolerate less interference from agents.
The “palanca” thing might scare a few fans off of this potential appointment. While the multiple “financial levers” saga was undoubtedly hilarious to watch play out in real time, there’s still no question that it worked for Barcelona during a very tenuous period in their recent financial history. Alemany does appear to be a smart guy with a long-term vision, and there’d be a good chance that if he comes he’d be given license to develop a similar long term vision at Spurs.
But it’s not clear what that would look like, how well he’d mesh with Ange Postecoglu and Scott Munn, or if Alemany is even interested in the job; Romano doesn’t really go into that part, just that Spurs are considering making an approach for him.
This is, however, a very intriguing rumor. If the reasons for his departure are basically down to Barca being broke, well the moving to a club like Spurs that is both financially solvent and one of the better-run clubs in the Premier League might have its appeals. This is very much a [thinking-emoji] kind of rumor, and it’s one I’ll have to mull over for a while. But Spurs do need someone who can develop and implement a long-term club strategy, preferably without doing financial crimes this time. I can think of a lot worse options right now than Mateu Alemany.