Franco Baldini

Looking at Franco Baldini’s legacy after Spurs departure

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Franco Baldini has left as the technical director of Tottenham Hotspur by mutual consent.

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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.

Franco Baldini, the man who spent Tottenham’s Gareth Bale money, is out of a job

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Franco Baldini, the technical director of Tottenham Hotspur for the past two seasons and the man trusted to spend Spurs’ windfall of cash following Gareth Bale’s world-record transfer to Real Madrid two summers ago, will be out of a job in less than four weeks.

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According to multiple reports out of the UK, Baldini and Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy have agreed a severance package that will see the 54-year-old Italian leave his post early following what can only be described as a disastrously poor transfer record in his time at the club. Baldini will be officially unemployed on Sept. 2.

When Spurs were paid $135 million for Bale in the summer of 2013, Baldini had already long been installed as technical director and given control — as much as Levy would allow anyone, at least — of the club’s transfer dealings.

$135 million was then turned into what is now known, only ironically, as Tottenham’s “magnificent seven” — Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado, Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Vlad Chiriches.

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Paulinho, Capoue and Chiriches have already left the club, while Soldado’s return (seven league goals in 51 games) has been so poor — and his wages so bloated — that the club has been unable to move him on despite trying in each of the last two transfer windows. Of the seven, only Eriksen and Chadli have proven to be anything resembling a consistent performer at White Hart Lane, though there is still time left for 23-year-old Lamela, the club’s record signing, to come good.

Spurs hired Paul Mitchell, formerly the head of recruitment alongside now-Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino while at Southampton, to the same position last November.

That was quick: Tottenham, Valencia said to be close to Roberto Soldado deal

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Remember earlier today, when Valencia’s head coach Miroslav Djukic said “I don’t think so” about Roberto Soldado leaving Los Che? If not, go back and read up here, though within hours after posting Djukic’s view that Soldado “will continue with [Valencia],” that post was outdated.

Well, more augmented than outdated, with Valencia president Amadeo Salvo saying Tottenham is now very close to triggering the striker’s near-$40 million dollar release clause (€30 million). The big questions that remain: Are Los Che willing to compromise, something short of $40 million? Or are Tottenham willing to let the relative peanuts that are keeping the Spanish international from White Hart Lane serve as a line in the sand?

From The Guardian’s reporting:

“There has been contact during which Valencia have communicated [to Spurs] that we want the €30m,” Salvo said. “Tottenham’s mission is to get the player at the best possible price and Valencia’s [mission] is to get those €30m.

“There’s not much margin [for negotiation] now. For the deal to be closed, two things have to happen: for the lad to want to go and for the price that Valencia demand to be met. Then the board would study it.”

Did a president of a Spanish club really just call one of his players “lad”? Sorry, I got distracted.

As we discussed earlier today, €30 million is a huge number for Soldado when Álvaro Negredo just moved to Manchester City for around 75 percent of that price. And while Spurs chairman Daniel Levy isn’t known for paying over market for anybody, the fact that Salvo hints his counterpart is close to hitting the release clause says Levy may be willing to make an exception. The market for Soldado may not be €30 million, but that doesn’t mean Tottenham’s unwilling to pay that.

Sid Lowe’s reporting summarizes the situation:

But [Spurs’ director of football Franco Baldini’s] visit puts a different complexion on the situation. Spurs will resist paying €30m and their chairman, Daniel Levy, has a reputation as a tough negotiator, prepared for talks to become drawn out in pursuit of the right price, while Valencia’s financial crisis means that they have to sell. Soldado would follow David Silva, Juan Mata and David Villa in leaving the club.

If Spurs meet the buy-out clause, Valencia will be able to present the transfer as something that they were unable to prevent. Even if Spurs do not meet the official €30m valuation, the Spanish club believe that a deal is virtually inevitable now.

Lowe also reports that Spurs did improve their original bid, $31.6 million, while still coming short of Valencia’s asking price. Liverpool are also said to be interested, but putting puzzle pieces together, Soldado may be their Suárez contingency. They’re unlikely to pull off a swoop unless Suárez moves another foot out the door.

Ultimately, however, although there seems to have been some movement on this one, the same conclusion we wrote earlier today could be cut, pasted, and be just as applicable here:

If Valencia are intent on holding Soldado to that release clause, he’ll likely be in Valencia when the season starts. If, however, they’re willing to see the Negredo sale as a comparable, there may be some room to strike a deal.