Fabio Paratici will soon sign his contract with Tottenham and Lorenzo Bettoni explains what Spurs can expect from the former Juventus director.
“Paratici arrived here as a lad and left as a man, above all as a winner.” Andrea Agnelli summed up quite nicely the path taken by the former Bianconeri director who arrived in Turin in 2010.
He followed Giuseppe Marotta from Sampdoria and, together with Antonio Conte, built one of the most successful teams in Italian football’s history.
The Old Lady finished the first season of the Marotta-Paratici era in seventh, missing out on a European placement. However, the Bianconeri returned to winning ways the following season.
And what a journey it was for Paratici, who won 19 trophies in 11 seasons in Turin.
He was first reporting directly to Beppe Marotta, the club’s CEO and the man who brought him to Sampdoria.
Paratici had played in Italy’s lower divisions as a footballer. He was a central midfielder but didn’t have a remarkable playing career.
However, his time in the third division helped him to develop a unique quality to spot talented players at all levels and at any age.
He is regarded as the man who was able to bring Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid, but the signing of the Portuguese star is not the one he is most proud of.
“If I have to pick one, I go for [Andrea] Barzagli,” he said in his farewell press conference at Juventus, when he had to fight back the tears several times.
“He spent many years with us and he was massively underrated by many. We all know how important he was and what he gave to this club.”
The former Italy defender had joined the Bianconeri from Wolfsburg in January 2011 for just €300,000 and was one of the main protagonists of Juventus’ domestic domination over the years.
During his last few years in Turin, Paratici became a specialist for big-money transfers. He signed Cristiano Ronaldo for €112m in 2018 and Matthijs de Ligt for €84m in 2019. But it hasn’t always been this way. Juventus pulled off some of the best value signings in Europe during Paratici’s tenure. Just think about Paul Pogba’s free transfer in 2012, followed by those of Dani Alves and Patrice Evra.
He didn’t get everything right, but as he said in his farewell press conference, ‘the best one at this job is not the one who makes no mistakes, but the one who makes the fewest’
The Italian director is the right man to begin a long-term project. Again, during his last press conference in Turin, he admitted he gets ‘really angry’ when he fails to land the signing of some 15-year-old players. Which says a lot about him.
Paratici is not just a man to build ‘instant teams’, he is a director who cares about the future of the club he is working for and focuses on the club’s academy, trying to bring in the best players at any level.
Paratici is like a chief scout who is also able to wrap up terrific deals, but the environment where he feels more comfortable is on the sidelines of football pitch rather than an office.
During his first years at Juventus, he travelled all around Europe to watch games, but it wasn’t just the pandemic that stopped him from doing so.
In 2018, Marotta left the club and Juventus tasked him with keeping the books in order while remaining in charge of transfers. He always got the job done, but you had the feeling he wasn’t always at ease with his new role.
His relationship with the media has improved over the years, but we can assume he won’t miss talking to Sky Sport Italia or DAZN before every Juventus game. He prefers remaining in the background rather than taking centre stage.
He indeed had difficult times in Turin too. He was under investigation over false claims to the prosecutor in the Luis Suarez case, which was a mess from the very beginning.
The at-the-time Barcelona striker offered his services to vice president Pavel Nedved, but it was Paratici who carried out talks with his agent and with Barcelona and when the deal seemed close, he found out the Uruguayan’s EU work permit in Spain was not valid in Italy, so the striker needed to take a citizenship exam prior to moving to Turin.
The story became a proper scandal as the rector and some professors of the University of Perugia, where Suarez took his exam, were already under investigation for different reasons and had their phones tapped. Therefore, investigators immediately found out Suarez had known the questions in advance.
However, Juventus President Agnelli ruled out Paratici is leaving the club because of the consequences of the scandal.
Paratici was also fined three times for disrespecting referees in 2020-21 and had had arguments with former Juventus’ CEO Beppe Marotta who, back in May, admitted being on very good terms with Juventus directors, except Paratici.
Therefore, it is quite unlikely to see Tottenham sign an Inter player soon unless someone else negotiates in place of Paratici.
Perhaps, Spurs fans should keep an eye on Mauro Icardi who Paratici admires for a very long time. It was Paratici who brought the Argentinean to Sampdoria in 2011 and with Harry Kane on his way out of North London, you can bet Paratici will try to sign the former Inter captain to replace the England star.
Overall, Tottenham are getting the best Italian sporting director of the last ten years and if Paratici is able to sign the right players at the right price and build a solid bond with the new coach, who won’t be Antonio Conte, Spurs can hope to return to winning ways, just like Juventus did.