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The Italian Job

The Italian Job

It’s been a bumpy ride so far for new Spurs managing director of football Fabio Paratici, but together with fellow Italian Antonio Conte he seems to be succeeding.

As Tottenham’s match with Newcastle ended 1-1 at half-time, an angry Italian remonstrated with fourth official Graham Scott.

The Spurs players had to intervene, holding their boss back as tempers flared.

You might think I’m talking about manager Antonio Conte, but I’m not. 

It was the managing director of football, Fabio Paratici. 

While he may still face a punishment from the FA for that performance, the second half showing from Spurs will have undoubtedly cheered him up.

Four goals turned a 1-1 draw after 45 minutes into a 5-1 rout, meaning Spurs ended the day in the elusive fourth Champions League qualifying place in the Premier League table.

“Spurs were simply outstanding. And as much as they started well, it was a bit of a surprise that Newcastle took the lead, which I know we’ll talk about, but the reaction from Spurs was just something else.”

ESPN

As you might be able to tell, Fabio Paratici is not exactly the shy and retiring type, so along with first team boss Antonio Conte he’s made a huge difference since he arrived in North London from Juventus at the start of the season.

All Italian teams have a sporting director in charge of transfers. 

But not all English teams do. In the Premier League, some managers are still heavily involved in signing players. So what does Fabio Paratici do?

“I have to manage the football department. So first team, recruitment, academy, women, so for me, the football is not just a job, it’s my life. I think 24 hour football, so I think this is my first skill and I hope to arrive to this kind of level for Spurs.”

Tottenham Hotspur

So far, Fabio Paratici has stuck to what he knows. Of the seven major signings he’s made since joining the club, four were from Serie A, and two of those four came from his former club Juventus.

But even though he’s come from a top team, he’s not had an easy ride with Spurs fans. 

“We should be targeting players with Premier League experience and none of these signings have. That’s a massive, massive point. Big mistake not getting in a striker. Kane needs backup and competition. Ings would’ve been ideal, letting him go to Villa has strengthened a near rival.”

The Boy Hotspur

The managing director of football is also responsible for hiring and firing managers. Last summer Fabio Paratici hired Nuno Espirito Santo, and then fired him on the 1st of November. 

He then brought in Antonio Conte, who he’d won three league titles with at Juventus. 

But Fabio Paratici will have known all-too-well that things are never plain sailing with Antonio Conte pulling the strings.

“The reality is this. We lost four games in the last five games. I think no-one deserves this type of situation…the club, me, the players and the fans. But this is the reality. I came in to try to improve the situation in Tottenham…but maybe in this moment…I don’t know…but I am not so good to improve the situation.”

Sky Sports News

That was after a 1-0 defeat to Burnley. In the next match, Tottenham beat Leeds 4-0. Next, they thumped Everton 5-0. 

In fact, since then, Tottenham have won all but one of their league matches.

And Fabio Paratici’s January signings – Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus – are doing the business. 

“I like this business from Tottenham. Kulusevski fits the bill because he’s a grafter, he’s a worker. And if Conte says to him, go run through those trees over there…he’s gonna go for it!”

ESPN UK

Dejan Kulusevski is still only 21. He’s scored twice and assisted five times in the ten games he’s played so far. No other Premier League player has weighed in with more assists in the same period of time. 

Meanwhile, Rodrigo Bentancur is providing the fight that’s been lacking in the Spurs midfield. Over the weekend he won all of his tackles, and 90% of his passes found a team-mate.

In fact, Spurs fans even have a chant about their new favourite duo.

“He’s the reason, we’ll be playing on Wednesday next season, he came with his mate from Sweden, it’s Bentancur.”

90 Min Chants

And if they are playing those Wednesday night Champions League games next season, they might want to find a chant for the man that brought in the players and manager to get them there. Fabio Paratici.

Today’s story was written by Chloe Beresford and mixed by Katie Gunning.