Inside Lane: Why Paul Mitchell could be a key signing for Spurs
13:03 03 December 2014
Tottenham blogger Henry Tribe discusses Paul Mitchell’s arrival as Spurs’ new head of recruitment and analysis.
He could turn out to be our best signing of the last 18 months.
I’m not talking about any of the players – after all I think it’s fair to say only Christian Erikson could possibly fit that description on the playing side.
No, it was last week’s appointment of Paul Mitchell as our new ‘head of recruitment and analysis’. It’s an impressive job title for someone who seems to have the credentials to match.
In just two and a half years at Southampton he revolutionised the club’s transfer policy – and in the summer oversaw the sale of £95million worth of players including Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, while reinvesting £65m of it in players like Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic. Sound familiar? Well the difference is he actually managed to improve the squad.
I must admit I was hoping the arrival of Mitchell would see the departure of technical director (or director of football) Franco Baldini. What’s the point of a director of football if it’s not to head up recruitment?
Well somehow Baldini has hung on – for now at least - but you can’t help but feel that the appointment of Mitchell is an acknowledgment from those at the top of the club that they’ve got recruitment desperately wrong over the last 18 months.
We now know the Gareth Bale money wasn’t invested well – too many average and overpriced players, too many players in positions we didn’t need them, and not a single one of them with any experience of the Premier League.
In fact, testament to the poor recruitment strategy is the fact that Mauricio Pochettino, despite starting the season with the likes of Erik Lamela and Etienne Capoue, is increasingly putting his trust in the academy players.
Against Everton, Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb all started – and they’re all outshining their big money team-mates.
You many have heard of Paul Mitchell’s ‘black box”’ - a small room at Southampton with chairs and a TV screen where the management would scout players from all over the world, while also running detailed analysis on their own squad.
It’s the reason they agreed to sell Calum Chambers to Arsenal for £16m as stats showed Nathaniel Clyne was a better right-back.
Perhaps such a system could work out that Capoue isn’t any better than Sandro, or that Federico Fazio isn’t any better than Michael Dawson.
It’s about time we started targeting the areas in the squad that are genuinely weak and bringing in better players to improve those positions. Hopefully the scattergun approach to our transfer policy is over.
Follow me on Twitter @TribalSpurs