Franco Baldini has left as the technical director of Tottenham Hotspur by mutual consent.
Baldini, 54, has been with Spurs since 2013 when he left AS Roma to become the head of their scouting and transfer policy.
The Italian will be remembered for the transfer dealings he was in charge of during the summer of 2013 as Spurs spent most of the $132 million they eventually received from Real Madrid for Gareth Bale on seven new players.
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Most of those seven new arrivals from two years ago have failed to shine at White Hart Lane, with four of them sold for a loss of $45 million this summer by new boss Mauricio Pochettino.
Here’s a look at Baldini’s buys in the summer of 2013 and their productivity, as this will be, whether he likes it or not, his lasting legacy at the Lane:
- Paulinho – Bought for $24 million, sold for $15 million in 2015 (6 goals in 45 PL games)
- Nacer Chadli – Bought for $10 million, still at the club (13 goals in 64 PL games)
- Roberto Soldado – Brought for $40 million, sold for $15 million in 2015 (7 goals in 52 PL games)
- Etienne Capoue – Brought for $15 million, sold for $9 million in 2015 (1 goal in 24 PL games)
- Vlad Chiriches – bought for $13 million, sold for $6 million in 2015 (1 goal in 25 PL games)
- Erik Lamela – bought for $45 million, still at the club (3 goals in 44 PL games)
- Christian Eriksen – bought for $17 million, still at the club (17 goals in 63 PL games)
It’s safe to say that Baldini’s time at the Lane has not been a success. With Bale in the team, Spurs qualified for the UEFA Champions League under Harry Redknapp in 2009-10 and then finished in fourth again in 2011-12 but did not qualify for the UCL due to Chelsea winning the trophy.
When Andre Villas-Boas replaced Redknapp for the 2012-13 season, Spurs’ upward curve continued with Bale leading them to their highest ever points tally in the PL but they were pipped to a fourth place finish by North London rivals Arsenal. Then, in the summer of 2013, it all unraveled as Bale was sold and seven new players were brought in to replace him. Only three still remain at the Lane with Eriksen and Chadli both proving good buys, especially the former, and despite looking like he would leave Spurs on several occasions after lackluster displays, club-record signing Lamela has been much improved this season.
Soldado and Paulinho were perhaps the biggest disappointments. Soldado always gave his all but it just didn’t happen for him. As for Paulinho, the Brazilian midfielder started well but faded badly as injuries and a lack of appreciation from Pochettino caught up with him. Guys like Chiriches and Capoue were squad players but even they underachieved as the recruitment process at Spurs must improve.
Baldini’s time at Tottenham will not be looked on kindly by Spurs fans, as many blame him for poor recruitment which all but wasted the money brought in by Bale’s departure. As Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood were sacked over the past two years, Baldini was in the background making most of the decisions on players and was never culpable. Now, since Pochettino brought in his old head of recruitment from his days at Southampton, Paul Mitchell, in January, Baldini will move on “to spend time outside of club football,” according to Spurs.
When all is said and done, there won’t be many tears shed among Tottenham fans about this departure.