Ian Herbert: Why turn to Comolli? The answer is baseball

No one had predicted Damien Comolli's appointment, news of which first started leaking out in France yesterday afternoon, though Liverpool's decision to appoint him fits with all we have learned so far about John W Henry and his vision for his new club.

Comolli is close to Billy Beane, the maverick baseball coach whose statistics-driven success with the Oakland Athletics was consigned to print in the book Moneyball. Henry tried to hire Beane when he took over the Boston Red Sox and is as much an admirer of his methods as he is of Simon Kuper's and Stefan Szymanski's book Soccernomics, which applies science to football. Henry is also fascinated by Arsenal, having spent time at the club before he bought Liverpool. Comolli was Arsenal's European scout between 1996 and 2003.

For an individual who started coaching in his early 20s at Monaco in 1992, having only been a youth team player for the club, Comolli now has three of Britain's largest clubs on his CV. For this, he has to thank his compatriot Arsène Wenger, who brought him to Britain having seen Comolli make Thierry Henry one of his first discoveries at Monaco. At Arsenal, Comolli brought in Kolo Touré, Emmanuel Eboué and Gaël Clichy among others, and it was his success there that helped him secure the sporting director's job at Spurs.

The disputes with Martin Jol and Harry Redknapp's characterisation of his inheritance as a "mish-mash" have not helped Comolli's reputation – but no fewer than five of the Tottenham side who started against Internazionale on Tuesday night, including Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, were signed in his era. Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Carrick, Benoît Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul are other Comolli hits. Hossam Ghaly, Ricardo Rocha and Gilberto were among the turkeys.

One of the central tenets of Kuper's and Szymanski's book, which conforms to Henry's view of proper club management, defines the link between wages and success. Liverpool's £120m wage bill has not delivered enough talent and many of the older players, with limited resale value, are on expensive deals.

Henry will want Comolli to help Hodgson find young players, rather than those like Christian Poulsen and Paul Konchesky who were signed this summer. Henry sees the new financial fair play regulations, limiting clubs' losses if they are to be admitted to European competition, as a vital part of the new landscape. That's why he sees a big future in Comolli finding young talent for Liverpool, mirroring the Red Sox model. Henry has a very precise plan and he is wasting no time developing it.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral