The very different Tottenham transfer styles of Johan Lange and Fabio Paratici

Johan Lange is the man leading the transfer changes at Tottenham Hotspur for Ange Postecoglou and the quiet Dane certainly operates in a very different way to his predecessor.

The Postecoglou era has so far been one of Spurs' most successful in recent years when it comes to recruitment. Last summer the Australian had to take the lead on transfers with the club's previous managing director of football Fabio Paratici having received a worldwide ban following his much-publicised indiscretions at Juventus in Italy which resulted in him resigning from his role at the north London outfit in April that year.

A walking back on some aspects of his ban by the Italian Football Federation and FIFA meant that Paratici remained a presence behind the scenes in a consultancy role and he looked to aid Postecoglou, chairman Daniel Levy and then chief scout Leonardo Gabbanini during that summer window.

Even in January this year, Postecoglou confirmed that Paratici was still in communication back then to a marginal degree at the club.

"I don't have a lot of dialogue with too many people. That's how I structure my working life, I keep these things to a minimum," he said. "Obviously I know Fabio and every now and then we'll exchange messages or calls. He's a smart guy and you can see that he's got a great eye for talent but within the workings of the club and what I do, I don't have that kind of engagement. Not just with Fabio but with most people."

Paratici, 51, is very much a front of house sporting director-type, one who has no issue stepping into the public eye and occasionally revelling in it. In Italy, he would undertake media interviews regularly ahead of matches, something that dried up the moment he stepped through the doors at Tottenham.

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The Italian is someone everyone at the top of the game has spoken to at some point. He is a friend to the 'super agents' and big agencies and his style of working is well-known. He will draw up a list of potential candidates for each position he wants to sign someone in and then take negotiations to varying stages with clubs and players' representatives before deciding on the one that he wants to push through.

Paratici's way of working ends up being very public with so many clubs involved and many of his targets are well known in the media, particularly back home in Italy. That's not seen as a negative though in his world because while it's noisy and messy, it also makes it clear to the many potential selling clubs that he could move on to any other candidate at any moment if they waste his time.

The former Juventus man's legacy at Tottenham before his ban remains mixed, if anything perhaps leaning more towards successful.

His one real managerial choice though was Nuno Espirito Santo, convincing the club to take the Portuguese on with videos of the way his Valencia side once played, and that brought an uninspiring brief Tottenham tenure and a head coach in the wrong club at the wrong time.

Paratici's signings fell into three categories after his arrival in the summer of 2021 onwards across four windows. There were the successes in Cristian Romero, Pape Matar Sarr, Destiny Udogie, Rodrigo Bentancur, Dejan Kulusevski, Pedro Porro eventually and the free agent Ivan Perisic to a degree.

There were those who have contributed but aren't outstanding successes as of yet like Richarlison and Yves Bissouma - both of whom had slow starts - as well as Emerson Royal, Clement Lenglet and Fraser Forster.

Then there were those who have to be considered flops with hindsight such as the £22million young Spaniard Bryan Gil - very talented but ill-suited to the Premier League, the goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini - who Paratici was certain would take over from Hugo Lloris - and both Djed Spence and Arnaut Danjuma, who the then manager Antonio Conte had no real wish for at all.

Paratici's fingerprints were on some of last summer's deals as well. He had previously tried to set up deals for Guglielmo Vicario and James Maddison in previous windows before both players would eventually sign in 2023 for Postecoglou. Mostly though the window's recruitment was compiled by Postecoglou with help from Gabbanini and Levy.

Then came Lange, starting work officially on November 1 last year after being appointed by the club's new chief football officer Scott Munn.

The 44-year-old Dane arrived at a club that had started to be overhauled by Paratici following appraisals of the many departments, but Lange wanted it to be more data-led than it had been under the Italian, something that both Postecoglou and Levy were equally keen to see implemented.

Compared to Paratici, the well-connected Lange is a quiet person. He's not the man holding court, rather someone who just gets on with his job without all of the noise, fuss and egos that can exist within football among sporting directors and chairman.

Paratici was someone who excelled in charming those in the boardrooms, either inside and outside the club, Lange concentrates on those he believes matter most and that is the representatives and families around the players he wants and his fellow sporting directors. It was Lange who won Lucas Bergvall and his family over to the idea of joining Tottenham ahead of Barcelona at the turn of this year, in doing so securing the north London club one of the most exciting young prospects in Scandinavia. It was something Postecoglou publicly praised the Dane for.

Lange set up that deal for Bergvall with Djurgarden's extrovert and charismatic sporting director Bosse Andersson.

"I think if you compare me with Johan Lange, we are different people!" he told with a giggle last month. "I know him from FC Copenhagen because I have a long relationship with them and I think they will have stories about how Bosse Andersson works because we have done some transfers before.

"I know him well and he's a person you respect. It's a very different world to do transfers and I appreciate him a lot. He was the key to this deal and I think you have to also understand that with him being new in the club."

Lange has a close relationship with Spurs' new chief scout Rob Mackenzie, who is seen as his "eyes and ears" by many, and his fellow-Dane and data cruncher Frederik Leth, Tottenham's head of football insights and strategy, who has been strengthening his department in recent weeks with various new hires.

Spurs had made missteps in previous years with 'club signings' who did not fit the manager's system or were wanted at all. Lange has been keen to ensure that any player that comes through the door fits the head coach's philosophy and system perfectly and most of all were wanted.

"It is very important when we are out there watching potential new players that they fit with the style of play and also with the personality of the group we want to build," Lange said in February. "We are very fortunate to have a Head Coach in Ange who is crystal clear in how he wants to play, how he wants to train, which kind of personalities he is looking for to build a squad.

"When the scouting team and myself are out watching players we know exactly what we are looking for, we are completely aligned as a club in how we want to build the squad over the coming years, which is hugely important."

His first deal at the club was the one for Timo Werner, with both Lange and Postecoglou agreeing that the experienced German would be the perfect fit out wide in his system with his pace and ability to drive and hit low balls across the six-yard box. The metrics after the former Chelsea man signed, as he led many of the charts in the final third, proved that to be correct even if Werner's ability to finish remains inconsistent. Postecoglou had seen enough before his hamstring injury in the final weeks of the season to greenlight another 12 months at least of the 28-year-old on loan.

Radu Dragusin had been a Paratici favourite since the Italian took him to Juventus from Romania in 2018, but Lange's data backed up his potential signing for Postecoglou and he wanted to see him with his own eyes. So he and Mackenzie went to watch the young centre-back in action for Genoa, Lange staying for a second match just to make sure.

Bayern were also menacingly interested though and in the end Lange and Levy were still working on the deal up until 3am on the morning before he signed, locked in talks with the player's representatives to ensure it did not fall through, with the hope that the young Romanian would stick to his word and join them. The now 22-year-old did and has impressed in his game time since for Tottenham and for Romania at the Euros this summer.

The key for Lange is to be quietly effective in the transfer market. Many of his dealings at Aston Villa came out of the blue, often with negotiations well advanced before the signings were leaked into the public domain, a tough ask in a game with so many eyes, ears and certainly mouths.

Tottenham prefer to operate in that way, to prevent the bigger sides from coming to the table and stealing off their plate, and Lange is certainly causing an issue for those who deal in the business of transfer news, for an even higher percentage of links and reports than normal that have come out across the world about Spurs' prospective dealings this summer have had no basis in fact.

Andersson told of the deal this year for Bergvall with Lange: "I would say they showed interest three to four weeks before [he signed]. They said they had been following him and they were serious with their interest but to keep quiet and that they would be there [at the end]."

Lange and Spurs were sat there quiety at the end and got their man. This summer is a slower window to navigate through, thanks to the Euros and Copa America with many players competing at them only wanting to focus on their club futures when they return. Agents within the game have also told that many clubs are waiting until July 1 to take any potential transfer talk to advanced stages in order to make sure transfers go on the next set of financial accounts, such is the fear over falling foul of profit and sustainability rules.

That still leaves two months for Lange to work within, while being mindful that Postecoglou is keen for as many new signings to be involved during the various stages of pre-season as possible, which begins from July 6 at Tottenham.

So far of last season's top six, only Aston Villa and Chelsea have made any moves, mostly young players as they look to redress their financial fair play issues. There is expected to be further flurries of transfer activity before June 30 around the clubs with that in mind and then more will join in when July begins and those new books open, before the end of the international tournaments sparks another wave of activity.

Amongst it all will be the quiet but focused Lange, looking to make Postecoglou's third transfer window at the club the one that really carves out a Tottenham Hotspur squad in his image.

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