Fabio Paratici has failed to become Tottenham's transfer messiah

Fabio Paratici was meant to be Tottenham’s transfer messiah, but his signings have backfired and he spent most of January dithering… the Italian chief shackles teams with poor decisions and his methods are NOT suited to the English game

  • The jury is still very much out on Tottenham’s director of football Fabio Paratici 
  • He was hailed as someone who would fix the club’s issues in the transfer market 
  • But his signings have underwhelmed so far and he was not assertive in January
  • In Italy, he is seen as someone who has made far too many poor signings 
  • He has a unique way of working but it does not fit with a Premier League club 

Let’s face it, Tottenham don’t have the best history when it comes to the director of football hot seat. 

There was Frank Arnesen – whose first manager in Jacques Santini left after three months and then ran off to Chelsea. His successor Damien Comolli fell out with coach Martin Jol for signing a number of flops without his approval – including Kevin Prince-Boateng, David Bentley and Gilberto – and he was sacked after three years. 

Then the club looked for success with famed former Real Madrid and Roma director Franco Baldini, who oversaw a wasteful splurge on the infamous not-so-magnificent seven players brought in to replace Gareth Bale in 2013. He resigned. 

The fresh-faced Paul Mitchell, recruited from Southampton, linked up with Mauricio Pochettino again in 2014 – and was a hit with signings like Son Heung-min, Toby Alderweireld and the promising Dele Alli. But out he went in 2016 after a fall out with chairman Daniel Levy.

Steve Hitchen, who left his role on Wednesday after seeing his role change since the arrival of Paratici, has also received his fair share of stick after failures with Serge Aurier, Matt Doherty, Giovani Lo Celso and £63million record signing Tanguy Ndombele. 

Fabio Paratici, then, was hailed as the transfer messiah who would finally get Tottenham’s house in order and start delivering with smart deals. But after seven months in the job, we are still waiting for the fireworks.

Tottenham’s director of football Fabio Paratici has failed to dazzle in his role so far 

Spurs have a long history of failed sporting directors, including Damien Comolli (right)

We know his links to Italy and his connections there. A few eyebrows were raised when Pierluigi Gollini – the Atalanta goalkeeper – arrived last summer. Fans gave him the benefit of the doubt. 

The same went for unproven Barcelona right-back Emerson Royal and relatively unknown Sevilla winger Bryan Gil, who both came through the door. 

But what happened? Gollini made a costly error on his first notable start in the Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea. Gil has gone back to Spain. Tottenham went looking for a new wing back because Royal isn’t good enough.

Which brings us to this window. A chance to redeem himself and show Tottenham fans the power and influence he truly has in the transfer market. A chance to reinvigorate a rotting squad that his manager Antonio Conte has frankly worked wonders with to keep them in the top four race – a group of players that are so clearly in need of an upgrade. 

The arrivals of Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus are an example of the strings he can pull and will act as a sweetener for frustrated fans, but cannot mask the poor performance he has delivered thus far. 

Paratici’s signings have failed to pay off, with Bryan Gil (L) sent back to Spain and Emerson Royal (R) forcing Spurs to look for another wing back

Paratici spent most of January dithering and missed out on Antonio Conte’s top targets

He spent 31 days of the January window dawdling and complicating deals by looking for bargains instead of pouncing on their top targets, like top clubs do. 

The failures to land Adama Traore and Luis Diaz were prime examples of that. 

Conte had outlined both players as key to his project but Paratici – whether or not he was dragged down by Daniel Levy’s own dithering – spurned the opportunity to show Spurs are now predators, not prey, in this market.

Traore was seen as an important puzzle piece for Conte’s system – and while the player was unwilling to play in the role the Italian wanted ultimately – Paratici tried to drive a bargain by offering an initial loan and then offering bids below Wolves’ £20m asking price. 

The longer negotiations go on, the more likely a player is to become disillusioned, or snapped up by someone else. In this case, Barcelona were that team as they swooped amid all the uncertainty. 

Conte has been left frustrated by a lack of incomings this month to overhaul his stale squad

Spurs looked nailed on to sign Adama Traore (L) and Luis Diaz (R) but lost out on both deals

In the space of a week, Liverpool did the exact same thing with talented Porto forward Diaz, who was tempted by an offer from a team competing in the Champions League – but if the approach came in quicker from Spurs it could have been a very different story. 

Tottenham’s misfiring business was summed up by the embarrassing collapse of their deal to sign a non-league striker. Lewes star Ollie Tanner was unimpressed by the offer from Spurs and turned it down. Greedy though the 19-year-old may have been, it was hardly the confidence boost fans needed to see their new transfer chief was someone who gets stuff done.

The proof in the pudding will come in the summer. Paratici faces a big window at the end of the season, where it is thought Tottenham are planning a dramatic overhaul. The way he performs will be integral to the club’s future if they are to reach the heights they dream of under Conte. 

Two decent signings in Kulusevski and Bentancur are a plaster over the wound that is the January window. They will do for now – but ultimately Spurs are getting two players Juventus were happy to let go, while funding cash for their £62m striker Dusan Vlahovic – yet another player Spurs missed out on. 

New signings Rodrigo Bentancur (C) and Dejan Kulusevski (R) will act as a sweetener for fans but cannot mask a generally poor window


Pierluigi Gollini – Atalanta (loan)

Bryan Gil – Sevilla (£25m)

Emerson Royal – Barcelona (£23m) 

Pape Sarr – Metz (£18m)

Cristian Romero – Atalanta (loan)

Dejan Kulusevski – Juventus (loan)

Rodrigo Bentancur – Juventus (£17m)  

The view from Italy 

By Alvise Cagnazzo 

Paratici spent a decade plotting transfers for Juventus and the truth is that he shackles teams with poor market choices, giving players salaries that are too high.

At Inter Milan, Conte was let loose while working under transfer chief Giuseppe Marotta but at Spurs he has scaled back under Paratici, who has shown some weaknesses. The story of Paratici is one of a defender who spent most of his playing career in Serie C – but this potential fairytale does not seem to have a happy ending. 

In the last four years, he has continued a disastrous downward trend in the world of football and has made far too many wrong choices – reducing his credibility among some of the great Italian executives.

Juve will smile when remembering their nine straight Scudettos but the last three seasons were catastrophic under Paratici and risked destroying his career. The choices he makes always come with heavy financial burdens for clubs and the players he buys are useless and don’t adapt to the team he has a duty to build.

Paratici spent nine years at Juventus but his last few years were riddled with high profile errors

Conte would have preferred a sporting director like Marotta at Tottenham. 

Paratici is a protege of Marotta during their time at Sampdoria and Juventus, but he is very different from his mentor in the way he manages a squad and his relationship with various players. 

Since the day Marotta left in 2019, Paratici has made mistakes in every choice – his hiring of Maurizio Sarri was the first in a long line of inexcusable errors that endangered Juventus financially, with the Argentine given a salary of £6.2m for three years.

The signing of Aaron Ramsey was perhaps his most glaring lapse of judgment in his career to hand him a contract worth £6m-a-year, while Adrien Rabiot is another mediocre signing, who only speaks French and is not aggressive enough for the team.  

He made glaring lapses in judgment – including signing Aaron Ramsey on £400k per week

While Tottenham fans might be excited about the signings of Kulusevski and Bentancur, these two players have not hit the mark for Juventus in recent months. 

The pair are not key players for the team and have suffered a lot of criticism from the Juventus fans, who wanted them both gone.

Traore was the real dream player Conte wanted to sign and Paratici failed to deliver, instead giving his manager a player in Kulusevski, who is suffering an identity crisis that has seen him lose much of the charm he offered since joining from Parma.  

Paratici has methods that simply are not suited to the English game. He won over the fans briefly by hiring Conte in the first part of the season, but now supporters are starting to see issues creep in.    

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