“I don’t know when he’s sleeping”: the workaholic world of Fabio Paratici | Tottenham Hotspur

TTo understand the type of character Tottenham hired in Fabio Paratici, it helps to go back in time to 2013. The man Spurs appointed last month as general manager of football then held a similar role at Juventus and he had Carlos’s signature. Tevez in his viewfinder.

Tevez was with Manchester City and when Paratici decided it was time to buy him, he hatched a plan: A secret meeting with the striker was arranged at a London restaurant open especially for him at 1 a.m. Paratici can be accurately described as an inventive and utterly determined workaholic in his pursuit of success.

At Juventus, he benefited a lot: nine consecutive Serie A titles and two Champions League finals were won when he was first sporting director alongside Giuseppe Marotta, then football director until the end of last season. If the secret to establishing a winning mentality is sometimes hidden behind the scenes, Tottenham seem to have made a wise choice.

The only sacred rule of the “Paratici code” is that there are no holidays or breaks. His phone is never switched off; at most he is unavailable because he is with agents, players or presidents. Until Spurs convinced Paratici to install WhatsApp, he relied on iMessages and phone calls for 10 years. “I am obsessed with knowledge and recognition,” he often says. His policy is never to lose sight of a player or a negotiation, even when it does not involve his club, because you never know where it can lead. He also enjoys being on the training grounds, believing that “being there” is crucial.

After an unremarkable playing career in Italy’s Third Division, Paratici served as Sampdoria’s scouting director in 2004 before joining Juventus six years later. He demonstrated in Turin an eye for young and old talent.

Among Fabio Paratici’s notable signings for Juventus are Paul Pogba (left), Carlos Tevez and Andrea Pirlo, celebrating a goal here against Trabzonspor in 2014. Photograph: Marco Luzzani / Getty Images

He was the one who recruited 19-year-old Paul Pogba as a free agent and sold him to Manchester United for € 100million. Paratici too, who signed Andrea Pirlo, 32, who was seen as on the decline, but who became the conductor of Juventus for four years.

“I would call him an incredible worker,” says Javier Ribalta, general manager of sport for Parma, who worked alongside Paratici at Juventus from 2012 to 2017 as head of scouting. “I don’t even know when he can find time to sleep. He works around the clock, and that’s not a saying. Usually Paratici calls are made after midnight, with the energy of someone calling you at noon!

“Fabio watches all kinds of games even at night, from the Copa Libertadores to the Copa América. He watches any game. Normally when you are a sports director or a football director you don’t have time to follow young players like you do when you work in scouting. He, on the other hand, never wants to lose this skill: he always watches the games, he never loses anything, he constantly calls his collaborators to be aware of all the players in the world.

Ribalta, who launched Bruno Fernandes’ career by bringing him to Italian second division club Novara, explains that one of Paratici’s strategies is to negotiate for several players at the same time for a single position, disturbing rival clubs but still determined to land his # 1 target. . The former Manchester United chief scout has enjoyed watching Paratici in action at Juventus.

Kingsley Coman in action for Juventus in 2015, watched by Mohamed Salah of Fiorentina.
Kingsley Coman in action for Juventus in 2015, watched by Mohamed Salah of Fiorentina. Photograph: Marco Bertorello / AFP / Getty Images

“I will never forget his ability to secure Kingsley Coman as a free agent for PSG,” he said. “Paratici worked there for six months, day and night. We first went to see the player together several times because Fabio wanted to make sure it was worth the investment in Coman; then, as soon as he was convinced to sign Kingsley, he made many – but trust me a lot – trips to convince Coman, his family and the agents to choose Juventus over many other offers and a possible renewal. with PSG. It was very difficult but with his insistence, hard work and all his skills, Paratici managed to bring him to Juventus. He was only 18; now he’s a star at FC Bayern [Munich]. Not bad …”

The Tevez deal also stands out for Ribalta. “Paratici moved in advance, in complete secrecy for months,” he says. “We had to assess his physical condition. Then when Fabio was convinced he bought Charlie brown from Manchester at an incredible price [£7.6m]. For Juventus, it was an extraordinary deal. And don’t forget the players he recruited before I joined Juventus: a certain Paul Pogba as a free agent, but also Andrea Barzagli who was for years an extraordinary defender caught up in ridiculous The figures. To Cristiano Ronaldo… ”

Fabio Paratici (second from right) benefits from the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo for Juventus in 2018.
Fabio Paratici (second from right) benefits from the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo for Juventus in 2018. Photo: Valerio Pennicino / Juventus FC via Getty Images

Ronaldo’s € 100million signing from Real Madrid confirmed just how far Paratici has come from his scouting days at Sampdoria. Ribalta reveals the mentality of Paratici in the negotiations. “I learned an important rule: if you like a player and you consider him important, you can pay a little more than the market price because you to have buy this guy. This can only happen if you are convinced of the skills and potential of the player. If you see a great talent and are sure of it, you can’t lose it for a few million: pay and move on.

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Paratici, ruthless in transfer matters, is said by Ribalta to be easygoing in interactions with fellow club members; call some of them several times a day and go to dinner with them regularly “because the atmosphere in a club is very important to him”. He also likes to build good relationships with the players.

Ribalta has high hopes for Paratici at Tottenham. “He has always had this desire linked to the Premier League,” he says. “He always told me that he loved London, where he often went for his negotiating assignments… He can have an impact by acquiring important talents and also sell players at a good price to always keep the level high. I wish him the best – a worker like him deserves it.

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