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Johan Lange - Sporting Director


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When meeting him I liked the hunger – I saw it in his eyes.

“He has a lot to prove now because it hasn’t happened for him at Chelsea. We’re going to give him an environment where he can flourish and he looks really hungry.

“I don’t see it as a gamble. I see it as a really top quality signing of a top player in this league.”

Smith said: “I’ve spoken to people who have worked with him before. He wants to play football and show everyone what he is about

“Things happen off the pitch all time - some get reported and some of them don’t. But I felt at the time Burnley and Danny dealt with everything that had to be dealt with and he’s moved on from that.

“He never shied away from that when I met him. So there’s been an honesty about him right from the off.”

https://www.expressandstar.com/sport/football/aston-villa/2020/01/07/dean-smith-danny-drinkwater-deal-is-not-a-gamble-for-aston-villa/

Smiths quotes on signing Drinkwater seem to suggest he certainly had input on the signing...

It was a bad transfer, it happens, just because we didn't play him at the end doesn't mean 'it wasn't a Dean Smith signing' it just means he was rubbish and so didn't get picked.

Most likely it was a team decision, one which Suso would gladly distance himself from to protect his reputation.

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Drinkwater was just one signing, I don't think it really matters who signed him, like if it's true that he was a Smith choice, that doesn't suddenly mean that it should be Smith that loses his job instead of Suso.

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I think the whole McGinn injury - Drinkwater debacle really underlines how important a new starting box to box midfielder is for this summer. 

With McGinn out for so long we lost a major element to the way we play. We spent several games getting Drinkwater fit which ultimately couldn't be done. Then spent a whole load more games getting McGinn fit again. Basically meant we were carrying players for a large % of the season. Something we are nowhere near good enough to do, who is in the Prem. 

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2 minutes ago, useless said:

Drinkwater was just one signing, I don't think it really matters who signed him, like if it's true that he was a Smith choice, that doesn't suddenly mean that it should be Smith that loses his job instead of Suso.

I don't think anyone has suggested that have they?

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I didn't say anyone had suggested that. But obviously everyone is getting hung up on the idea that Smith chose Drinwater and getting all defensive over it. My reassuring counsel is that even if Drinkwater was a Smith choice it doesn't change anything.

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14 minutes ago, useless said:

I didn't say anyone had suggested that. But obviously everyone is getting hung up on the idea that Smith chose Drinwater and getting all defensive over it. My reassuring counsel is that even if Drinkwater was a Smith choice it doesn't change anything.

I disagree. If Purslow and Smith signed him without the knowledge of Suso, it changes everything.

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44 minutes ago, GENTLEMAN said:

I don’t really understand this thinking? Also widely and reliably reported we failed in attempts for Giroud, Batshuayi and Slimani. Who’s ‘signing’s’ were those? 
 

These decisions are made as a team, surely. Seems pretty petty to start dissecting each and every transfer to fit a particular narrative or agenda. We win as a team we lose as a team.
Suso wasn’t retained. The club clearly feel they want to go in a different direction with a technical director. So be it.

I just dont think  this was a suso signing. I should add i think terry was involved also

Not sure why its petty having a discussion and just stating my own observation? 

43 minutes ago, villa4europe said:

why?

if he was a smith signing then why doesn't he ever make the squad? there's nothing post lockdown to suggest smith wanted anything to do with him

Because  smith probanly thought we were signing the leicester drinkwater not the disaster that flopped at burnley also

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1 hour ago, The_Steve said:

Drinkwater hasn’t played since the defeat against Spurs. No way was he a Smith signing. 

Jota and Engels?

Just because the player ends up being shite or out of favour, doesn't mean he didn't sign them.

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8 minutes ago, Demitri_C said:

I just dont think  this was a suso signing. I should add i think terry was involved also

Not sure why its petty having a discussion and just stating my own observation? 

Because  smith probanly thought we were signing the leicester drinkwater not the disaster that flopped at burnley also

I believe the role of sporting director is more than just suggesting transfer targets. So, to look at transfers, assign whether it’s a ‘Suso signing’ or ‘Smith signing’, then tally each as evidence to success or failure is crude and yes petty. It is of little merit. Therefore, it is a non-starter for discussion as it on very shaky first principles.

Besides, it’s also disingenuous to dissect each and all individual transfer to fit a narrative. It’s stating an observation with underlying connotations. It would be coy to pretend otherwise.  It’s a nod toward Smith having poor judgement and the implications that has. I’d argue that all transfers are signed off as a team. I’d argue that Smith cannot veto this decision making process, as evidenced by the refusal to pursue Maupay and Benrahma. Therefore, the success or failure of transfer policy is a group effort.

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5 minutes ago, GENTLEMAN said:

I believe the role of sporting director is more than just suggesting transfer targets. So, to look at transfers, assign whether it’s a ‘Suso signing’ or ‘Smith signing’, then tally each as evidence to success or failure is crude and yes petty. It is of little merit. Therefore, it is a non-starter for discussion as it on very shaky first principles.

Besides, it’s also disingenuous to dissect each and all individual transfer to fit a narrative. It’s stating an observation with underlying connotations. It would be coy to pretend otherwise.  It’s a nod toward Smith having poor judgement and the implications that has. I’d argue that all transfers are signed off as a team. I’d argue that Smith cannot veto this decision making process, as evidenced by the refusal to pursue Maupay and Benrahma. Therefore, the success or failure of transfer policy is a group effort.

The whole transfer committee should take responsibility for the transfers that are made, I agree. I don't think the signings should be 'tagged' to one person also.

I think it's too soon to tell if Suso was doing a good job, because it's too soon to judge how successful most of the signings were, and the restructuring he did in the academy will take time to bear fruit, if it does at all.

I think my main concern is the break down in relationship/communication that has lead us to this point. There will always be disagreements, especially between strong personalities, and even more so when under intense pressure. Suso was highly rated when he joined, it's concerning to me that he feels he couldn't work in that environment anymore. Why is that? If I was the new guy coming in that's the first question I'd be asking.

 

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15 minutes ago, GENTLEMAN said:

I believe the role of sporting director is more than just suggesting transfer targets. So, to look at transfers, assign whether it’s a ‘Suso signing’ or ‘Smith signing’, then tally each as evidence to success or failure is crude and yes petty. It is of little merit. Therefore, it is a non-starter for discussion as it on very shaky first principles.

Besides, it’s also disingenuous to dissect each and all individual transfer to fit a narrative. It’s stating an observation with underlying connotations. It would be coy to pretend otherwise.  It’s a nod toward Smith having poor judgement and the implications that has. I’d argue that all transfers are signed off as a team. I’d argue that Smith cannot veto this decision making process, as evidenced by the refusal to pursue Maupay and Benrahma. Therefore, the success or failure of transfer policy is a group effort.

This. It must be a group effort. Nothing else makes sense. It is pointless trying to pin transfers on a particular person.

What is more interesting is was Suso sacked or did he decide to go. Either way, it would indicate a problem somewhere, so hopefully the owners/Purslow have got it right, and not Suso.

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22 minutes ago, Teale's 'tache said:

The whole transfer committee should take responsibility for the transfers that are made, I agree. I don't think the signings should be 'tagged' to one person also.

I think it's too soon to tell if Suso was doing a good job, because it's too soon to judge how successful most of the signings were, and the restructuring he did in the academy will take time to bear fruit, if it does at all.

I think my main concern is the break down in relationship/communication that has lead us to this point. There will always be disagreements, especially between strong personalities, and even more so when under intense pressure. Suso was highly rated when he joined, it's concerning to me that he feels he couldn't work in that environment anymore. Why is that? If I was the new guy coming in that's the first question I'd be asking.

 

It’s all conjecture of course, as there is very little information available. Suso himself was also very tight lipped (compared to someone like Ashworth or Webber), I only remember the ‘Game of Thrones’ interview and the talk of not wanting to finish the season.

I am concerned that he was only in place for 18 months, as I see the role as long term. But I can only back the board in this decision, as I have little reason to do otherwise at the moment. 
 

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Has anyone noticed since sussos departure a certain poster has disappeared from VT ....I can't believe I haven't thought of this before but is @sir_gary_cahill our new sporting director ?

A long overdue promotion in my opinion

Expect Ethan more incoming on £36m deal !!!

 

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1 minute ago, lexicon said:

FFS  @hippo it's 'Suso'. Not **** Susso! 

The best thing about him going is not having to read you mess his **** name up again 🤣

Sorry mate I consider myself thoroughly told off and hope our next sporting director is called John Brown or Trevor Williams !

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4 minutes ago, hippo said:

Sorry mate I consider myself thoroughly told off and hope our next sporting director is called John Brown or Trevor Williams !

I'm sorry, it just really annoys me for some reason 🤣 

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One signing in Drinkwater doesn't reflect the decision to part way's with Suso.

Alex Ferguson dropped some clangers in his signings over his career, he also pulled out some masterstrokes which is one reason why he is held in such high regard.

For the large part our recruitment in the Summer caused us to underperform in certain area's. If we had recruited correctly we wouldn't have been in a position where we need to be panic buying/loaning Samatta and Drinkwater in January.

Wesley's injury was a blow, but we didn't recruit a backup striker and it resulted in us playing without a striker in January. It was obvious to everyone that Kodjia wasn't up to it during the Summer.

McGinn's injury again was a blow, but the midfield recruits during the Summer left us short of options. We opted for Luiz and Nakamba, both players with no PL experience and both needing time to adapt. Luiz has now shown that he is more than capable at this level but he's taken a season to progress.

All over the pitch we lacked experience and it showed throughout the season. We now have to hope that the new sporting director, whoever that will be, can identify the gaps in our side and work on filling them in the next 6 weeks.

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6 minutes ago, wilko154 said:

One signing in Drinkwater doesn't reflect the decision to part way's with Suso.

Alex Ferguson dropped some clangers in his signings over his career, he also pulled out some masterstrokes which is one reason why he is held in such high regard.

For the large part our recruitment in the Summer caused us to underperform in certain area's. If we had recruited correctly we wouldn't have been in a position where we need to be panic buying/loaning Samatta and Drinkwater in January.

Wesley's injury was a blow, but we didn't recruit a backup striker and it resulted in us playing without a striker in January. It was obvious to everyone that Kodjia wasn't up to it during the Summer.

McGinn's injury again was a blow, but the midfield recruits during the Summer left us short of options. We opted for Luiz and Nakamba, both players with no PL experience and both needing time to adapt. Luiz has now shown that he is more than capable at this level but he's taken a season to progress.

All over the pitch we lacked experience and it showed throughout the season. We now have to hope that the new sporting director, whoever that will be, can identify the gaps in our side and work on filling them in the next 6 weeks.

In hindsight this is easy to see. People tend to forget that the 3 players Wesley, Mings and Luiz accounted for over half the budget. This means that Suso and Smith had to figure out how to get 9 more players averaging £6-7 million each. So I think Suso did a great job and Smith did an amazing job keeping us up.

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