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NPDK

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NPDK last won the day on July 30

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  1. The 'Johan Lange Special' podcast were released earlier today and as promised, here's what was said. It was a rather short one (35 minutes), but still pretty solid. Like the last one, I've been paraphrasing it. Initial thoughts on Lange to Villa. He wasn’t one of the first names you’d think about if asked which Danes would land a Premier League job. But he’s an extremely respected man in Denmark, and one of those guys that pretty much every manager, coach and other DOF’s looked up to. He’s by far Ståle Solbakkens favorite guy to work with (and Solbakkens word carries a lot of weight in Denmark, rightfully so I might say). He’s also really, really good friends with Thomas Frank at Brentford. Lange was rumored to be Frank’s assistant when Frank worked at Brøndby IF from 2013-2016. They absolutely love the fit from a Danish point of view. Aston Villa is still a massive club and one with a future. As they said, it wouldn’t have been as exciting had Lange been appointed at Brighton. Not because Brighton is a bad or borring club, but because they don’t carry the same name recognition that Villa does and doesn’t have the means we do. They said, that if he hit it right, we are a club that could challenge for Europe relatively soon simply because of the money in our owner’s pockets as well as the facilities that we have. They didn’t call us a sleeping giant, but they were kind of gushing about the potential of this club. The job and the Grealish situation. First order of business for Lange should be to get on the exact same page as Smith, JT and O’Kelly. They talked about how an actual ‘director of football/sporting director’ is still relatively new in the UK, so it’s not something every manager is familiar/comfortable working with. It’s a big plus that DS has that experience. It’s makes everything a hell of lot easier when Lange doesn’t have to worry about a power-struggle from day one. Second order of business is Jack. If Jack lets Lange know that he wants to leave, Lange needs to figure out how to replace him. That could pretty much make or break Langes Premier League adventure. Would he be trying to replace Grealish with one ‘star-player’ or multiple players (like some have suggested in the transfer thread). How much influence will Lange get? As I mentioned in another post, Lange was a big part of the tactical preparations for Copenhagen and he has a background as an assistant manager for a good while. How likely is it that Lange would be a rather big influence of our philosophy moving forward? Considering his background as well as what the Copenhagen Academy developed into under Lange, it’s very possible that Lange is going to have a lot to say when it comes to strategically developing our overall philosophy on the pitch (like we’ve seen for the past 20 years at Ajax and Barcelona). This whole concept of creating a clear identity from your senior squad to your U10 players is very, very big in Denmark and has been for 10-15 years now (FC Nordsjælland is one of the best at this in the world. It's crazy what they are doing). Apparently Purslow (or maybe one of the owners?) gave an interview Thursday to an English newspaper, where he said that part of the reason we went for Lange, was because of the team he helped build at Copenhagen. A team that consistently punched above its own weight class in European competitions. Apparently that was a big selling point for Lange, according to the podcast host. Danish fits. They talked briefly about potential Danish fits. Nothing in-depth, because they don’t think Lange is going to go about Danish players just for the sake of it. They don’t think Thomas Delaney (Dortmund) is realistic, but they very much believe the rumor will pop up very soon. Then they mentioned Mathias Zanka as a potential 3rd CB option. He’s got PL experience and should be able to come in very cheap. Again, they wouldn’t bet on it, but it’s a link they expect to see soon. They mentioned Ståle Solbakken from Copenhagen as a name to maybe replace Dean if needed, but they wouldn’t bet on it. It would simply be too big of risk and gamble for Lange to really put his neck out for Solbakken like that. They then mentioned Thomas Frank. Again, they are very good friends and it was rumored Lange should have been an assistant for Frank a few years back. IMPORTANT NOTE: THEY DIDN’T THINK DS IS AT RISK, IT WAS SIMPLY THEM SPECULATING RANDOM NAMES KNOWING LISTENERS WOULD BE ASKING.
  2. As promised, here's some information about Lange on a few topics. First of all, there’s a lot of waffling. He came across rather uncomfortable with a lot of mumbling and fast talking. The podcast was recorded in January of 2017, so some things might have changed. There were also a lot of useless information that was Copenhagen strictly and not really about him. But there some information about what he does (and how he does it) as well as what Copenhagen need to do to continue developing and things like that. I’m paraphrasing btw. What is it that actually does: He said he’s mostly working three areas. 1) He assists the manager (Ståle Solbakken) and his staff at tactical training sessions. He analyses upcoming opponents (which includes tactical discussions with Solbakken back and forth), both in Denmark as well as European. He’s the guy traveling to see European opponents up close while Solbakken stays back in Denmark. He’s also one of the primary guys at Copenhagen when it comes to presenting the analysis to the players either at meetings or individually. 2) He’s in charge of the academy. He’s in charge of the overall strategy of the academy to insure that Copenhagen stays competitive 3) Optimizes the scouting process. Solbakken has final say whether Copenhagen signs play X or player Y, but it’s his job gather as much information as possible to present to Solbakken. Regarding transfers: There’s a video on Youtube where he goes through how Copenhagen goes about their transfer business and the scouting process. There’s ongoing discussions within the management team and his guys about the squad assembling as well as how the squad would be looking in 12-18 months, so that they can prepare for anything. A big part of this preparation is the knowledge of the scouts. They all know exactly how Copenhagen wants to play and what kind of players fit that system. The further along they get, the less targets they get (some of them aren’t as good as they thought, some would be too expensive, some won’t come to Copenhagen and so on). Once they’ve slimmed down there list of targets, they start to do there due-diligence and get a feel for the players. They talk to teammates, former teammates, coaches, agents and so on to get a feel for the players mentality and to see if he would fit into the FC Copenhagen mindset. End the end Lange, and hopefully Solbakken if possible, will go and watch the players in-person. This is pretty standard, but I wanted to add it anyway. Career-planning: A big part of Copenhagen is career-planning. Copenhagen know exactly who they are and where they belong in the pecking order that is European football. In order for them attract top talent, they have to present them with a long-term plan for the development, which is being discussed even before they sign the contract. He also mentioned that due to the way society has changed, it’s much more common for players to an actual career-plan for how they want to progress and it’s easy for Copenhagen to show how Copenhagen would be a great decision for them to make in terms of continuous development (they can leave more mature and mentally stronger, as well as a better resume with European caps in Champions League or Europa League). Usually Copenhagen plans for players to stay three years, before selling them (Benjamin Verbic spend 2,5 years at Copenhagen before being sold to Dynamo Kiev and Ludwig Agustinsson also spend 2,5 years before going to Werder Bremen, just two examples), which is pretty much the agreement when the player signs his contract. This, IMO, just shows that Copenhagen perfectly understands where they are compared to other European clubs and what they need to sell to potential new players. There aren’t a lot of ‘one club players’ anymore, which means that the squad in general is much younger than 5-6 years ago, which also means Copenhagen added a couple more coaches to their staff in order for them to continue help developing every young player in the squad. This strategic career-planning for players, also means that Copenhagen has a much bigger squad turnover than previous (which goes back to squad planning 12-18 months into the future). It’s also important to Copenhagen that the turnover isn’t too big and players leave after 12 months. They want those three year cycles to ensure some sort of continuity. Academy/player development: I believe the rebranding of the academy (School of Excellence) came after this podcast, so there weren’t a lot of information. Copenhagen spends a lot of resources on developing the academy and continue making players for the first team. A few other clubs in Denmark, that made surprise runs in Europe, claims that the biggest part of their run were due to a great spine of homegrown players and the biggest part in their development were the amount minutes they got for the first team, something Copenhagen hasn’t been particularly good at. Lange claims that at Copenhagen, the best players play regardless of name and resume. He claims that’s why players like Thomas Delaney (Dortmund), Andreas Cornelius (Parma) and Zanka (previously Huddersfield) came through, was because they were simply good enough at a very young age. We’ve seen it lately with guys like Carlo Holse and Jonas Wind knocking on the door to the starting 11 at Copenhagen (Holse was sold to Rosenborg and Wind had some injuries, but he looks like a future star now). He’s a big believe of loaning players, as long as the loan is the right fit. Copenhagen has previously had a lot of success loaning out players and getting them back ready to be a part of there squad. Hopefully, that’s something we’ll see here as well.
  3. I'll see how much time I'm going to have, but right now I'm targeting tomorrow morning for some writing. It's a lengthy process mate.
  4. The best football podcast media in Denmark will make a 'Johan Lange special' this weekend, which means about 60-120 minutes of talk about Lange and how he fits in at Aston Villa and his approach to everything. It should be out Sunday/Monday. I'll keep an eye out.
  5. There's a couple of hour long podcast with him, as well as a few other where he's being talked about somewhat in-depth. I'll get to one of two of them at some point today and I'll post whatever seems relevant and interesting.
  6. Thoughts from a dane on a dane. All of this 'he buys cheap and sells for a big profit' chatter needs to be taken into context. Copenhagen runs on a much, much bigger scale than the rest of the danish league. What is considered 'cheap' by english standards is more than 75% of the rest of the league can afford. It doesn't take away from the fact that Copenhagen regularly manages to sell for a profit, though. He's also had his fair shares of stinkers over the years, especially strikers. It's tough to really know just how much power he has had at Copenhagen with Ståle Solbakken being the manager. Solbakken runs that team, top to bottom and he has final say in everything sporting related. He's been a big part of Copenhagens restructure of their academy (they've called it 'School of Excellence') that has seen quite a few players make it to the first team and other places over the past few years. He's a guy that emphasizes the academy, which seems to be something we really, really want to do. He's a good appointment in that regard. He also fits Edens' Moneyball approach. Lange is ridiculously data-driven. He loves his data and spreadsheet. I saw a few people mention that they hoped he would bring a couple of guys with him. I don't. Frederik Leth (stats guy) would've been interesting, but I have a feeling he's going to take Langes job. I'd take a pass on the rest of that staff. Copenhagens biggest transfer hits have been guys they've played against and later signed. In 2017 they played Champions League qualifying against Zilina from Slovakia. A few weeks later they sign Denis Vavro. They hadn't discovered him if they hadn't played against him. I've had the pleasure of meeting Lange a couple of times, nothing in-depth and I won't be an ITK account, but he seems like a good guy. He's a bit arrogant/cocky, but I've also met him where he was really cool and down to earth. I guess he has his days. From what I know and has heard, he can be ruthless. There's been a few Copenhagen players mentioning after they left Copenhagen and they didn't exactly endorse him. If you guys I want, I can translate some quotes from him from a couple of great pieces of how he views football and his role within an organisation? I think there might be a podcast as well with/about Lange. I'll check around to see if I can find it. It should help paint a better picture of who he is and how he approaches his tasks.
  7. NPDK

    Do you read?

    The current situation has made me read pretty much everything I have and I realized a remarkable lack of Villa related books. So which Villa related books can you guys recommend? Preferably some I can get off of Amazon.
  8. I've seen both Harvey Elliott and Louie Barry play for England at the U16 and U17 level and I think Barry is a better player than Elliott (I also think Bellingham is better). I wouldn't be surprised to see Barry feature regularly next season and get quite a bit of minutes at the end of this season if he were to sign with us. Also, the Marcus McGuane talk is interesting (Villa isn't mentioned by name, but he's eyeing a return to England). Barca, allegedly, signed him as revenge for Arsenal signing Fabregas, Bellerin and Jon Toral. McGuane was highly thought of at Arsenal and Barca saw an opportunity to "get back" at them while still signing a quality talent. He never really made the strides Barca was hoping (he also got stuck behind a couple of really, really interesting players).
  9. Something happened to Sisto at Celta Vigo that changed him mentally. He's got legit issues that needs to be fixed for him to function properly as a human being, because this past year hasn't been good for him. His teammates joked about it at Celta, but quickly realized they shouldn't be messing with him about it. It dug a lot deeper than they thought. I don't know what has happened to him at Celta (hopefully it is just homesickness or some sort), but I hope he figures it out and gets back on track, because he's really, really talented.
  10. Gislason was nowhere near the best player in Denmark. If you genuinely believes that, that would explain why you rate Bjarnason so highly. Just a FYI, Gislason wasn't even amongst the 30 best paid players in Denmark when he was making the most. He MIGHT have been in the top 10 in FC Copenhagen but nowhere near the top of the Superliga. I only mentioned Schram and Gislason because you kept saying, that playing in the World Cup or at the EUROs was some sort of stamp of approval. It isn't. No doubt Bjarnason is a key player for Iceland. He's a soldier and pretty smart footballer. He is also one of the few (at that time) that was playing regularly in some of the bigger leagues in Europe. Of course he was going to play. And as I mentioned earlier, Iceland was succesfull because that they were a great TEAM. The icelandic gameplan against Argentina was to shut down Messi as much as possible, and they succeeded. But I will bet you that Lagerback didn't tell Bjarnason to singlehandedly cover Messi. That was 100% team effort - and again, they executed that gameplan very well. No offense to the Icelandic team, but their strength isn't in the players, but the team. I have a feeling, that you feel so strongly about him because he is one of the stars in Iceland. You want to know about another guy that scored against Portugal (on five different occasions actually), Germany and Brazil? Nicklas Bendtner. Trust me, you don't Bendtner playing for Villa either (even though he's a free agent right now). Just because you score a couple of goals against good competition, doesn't necessarily make you Premiership quality. I'm pretty sure no one here has anything against Bjarnason and most of us thinks he could be a decent squad player. We just don't want to rely on him as starter for 30 games this upcoming season.
  11. There is a HUGE difference in playing for Iceland vs. France than playing for Villa against Ipswich. Bjarnason could've been a useful player had Steve Bruce still been here. He's a solid player when he's supposed to chase the opposition and be helpful as a counter attacker. Lars Lagerback had a great TEAM at the 2016 EURO. Not a lot of individuals, but a good and broad understanding amongst the players of what each and everyone was supposed to do and why. They knew they weren't going to the ball for 70% of time and that they had to rely on being efficient and taking advantage of opponents mistake. They were not a great bunch of players, but they were a great TEAM. You keep saying he played against opponents of the highest quality like it's a stamp of approval. Well, Frederik Schram was a part of that 2016 EURO squad too and he's still playing in the second division here in Denmark. Rurik Gislason played at the World Cup last year and he's currently making more off of his Instagram account than his salary in Germany. Also, did you type this "Played in final of world cup 2018 where he took Lionel Messi and bossed him in 1-1 draw in Iceland vs Argentina." with a straight face?
  12. Yeah, that's the thing. He looks awkward when he runs. But he's not slow or un-athletic. It's just kind of adds to an element of surprise kind of thing. He is sneaky fast, especially once he gets going. He's not the most explosive athlete, but once he gets going his speed is not an issue.
  13. Eriksen was a big talent that left Denmark before ever making his senior debut (he left at 16). We have a lot of talent in Denmark, but the best ones leaves as a 15/16 year old (for instance Maurits Kjærgaard, who just left for Red Bull Salzburg at 16. He was a guy I suggested to team in Germany earlier this year). But if you're talking about the best player in the Danish league, then definitely. I've never seen a single player takeover an entire season the way Skov did this past season and the expectations moving forward are huge.
  14. As a Dane, I'm quite interested in hearing your "report" on Skov. Care to share your thoughts?
  15. I love the Robert Skov talk. He's a great player and an even better person. But he's going to be around 20M, if not more. He was rumored back in January to be the first "100M DKK" player from the danish league (100M DKK is just over 12M pounds). Copenhagen's head of communications made a funny tweet fixing the article with a "100M euro"-caption. Obviously he isn't going to be that expensive, but they value him a lot in Copenhagen. One of the best left foots in Europe and he would actually fit right into our system.
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