Franco Baldini: The driving force behind Tottenham's slick transfer campaign

There could be more arrivals to add to Paulinho,  Étienne Capoue, Nacer Chadli and Roberto Soldado

Amid persisting whispers of Paris Saint-Germain attempting to prise Andre Villas-Boas from the White Hart Lane dugout to the sidelines of the Parc des Princes late last June, the anticipated appointment of Franco Baldini as Tottenham Hotspur’s technical director being made official flew somewhat under the radar. Two months on, the Italian’s efforts are evident for all to see now that the new Premier League season is getting underway.

Real Madrid’s heavily debated pursuit of Gareth Bale has dominated any coverage of Spurs over the summer. Club chairman Daniel Levy has maintained his traditional hardline stance in transfer negotiations as Madrid president Florentino Pérez has flirted with the Welsh wizard. Baldini, meanwhile, has quietly gone about reinvesting any potential influx of funds with several tidy signings.

The former Roma general manager’s principal objective was to secure a prolific striker’s signature. Bringing in Valencia’s ruthless finisher Roberto Soldado for £26m has successfully filled that void. Additionally, acquiring the services of underrated midfielders Paulinho and Étienne Capoue from Corinthians and Toulouse respectively could yet be the defining factor in ultimately guaranteeing Champions League action next term. Former Twente winger Nacer Chadli is set to be a surprise package of pace and tricks.

Despite breaking the club transfer record initially with the £17m-man Paulinho – who was being chased by Internazionale, Real Madrid and Chelsea – and subsequently for Soldado, Baldini has been immensely effective in signing players with international pedigree on a modest budget. Paulinho was an architect in Brazil’s Confederations Cup triumph and Soldado has been Spain’s prime striker of late. Capoue and Chadli will not be guaranteed starters, but add a respectable depth in Villas Boas’ squad.  

English football has never truly embraced the ‘continental approach’ of an established director to oversee business in the transfer market. However, Spurs and Manchester City are the division’s influential outfits pioneering the European approach. The pair have arguably had the most impressive transfer campaigns in the entire league - in stark contrast to their respective city rivals Arsenal and Manchester United, both of whom have struggled to finalise several deals for players they have targeted.

Levy announced the England assistant manager during Fabio Capello’s reign will “work closely with Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood [head of football development in the youth sector] in the area of recruitment across all levels on the playing side” in his new role. Levy is an open advocate of the arrangement as it permits the manager to focus on coaching, while the Portuguese tactician has championed for a director in such a capacity since his arrival last year.

Tottenham have not purposely employed a director in such as position for several years as it was abolished during Harry Redknapp’s four-year stint as manager. Former Liverpool director of football strategy Damien Comolli was the last person to fulfill the function – replacing Frank Arnesen in 2005.

Early signs indicate Baldini is living up to his billing. He has a storied history as a director establishing his reputation at Roma during a six-year spell from 1999 to 2005 – under his command the capital club won its first title in18 years in 2001. In 2006, the wily operator tailed Capello for a season at Santiago Bernabéu. His last job before upping sticks from London was as the Giallorossi’s general manager from 2011. Alongside director of sport Walter Sabatini, the one-time midfielder marshaled the team through its first two years under American ownership.

Sabatini has been spotted around London this week, and the Italian media speculate that Baldini is trying to orchestrate moves for either lightening-quick winger Erik Lamela or stylish playmaker Miralem Pjanić - or both. Either would greatly improve Spurs with their talents, and above all top off an excellent transfer campaign.

Tottenham have avoided the negative press several of their closets rivals have endured for their dragged-out transfer sagas, and can start the 2013-14 season in a frankly positive light regardless of what Bale’s imminent future holds.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam