Franco Baldini has left his role as Tottenham’s technical director – but which of his big-money recruits turned out to be his biggest flop?
The Italian spent more than two years at the club, but his departure from White Hart Lane was announced by mutual consent on Monday.
Baldini played a major role in Tottenham’s recruitment drive during the 2013 summer transfer window, which also saw Gareth Bale join Real Madrid for a world-record £85million.
Seven players were brought in for around £100million in total but too many failed to deliver, with Roberto Soldado, Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Vlad Chiriches all shipped out for reduced fees before the start of this season – and all for knock-down fees.
Their biggest recruit, Erik Lamela, remains at White Hart, while in his defence, the signings of Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli, Dele Alli, Ben Davies and Eric Dier could be counted as a success.
But Baldini will be remembered for his transfer flops during his time in charge, and here we rate his biggest captures at White Hart Lane.
Erik Lamela – £30m from Roma
The player was bought for a club record fee and was meant to fill the creative void left by Bale’s sale to Real Madrid.
His first season at the club was certainly nothing to write home about, while his second was little better, despite his famous rabona strike.
Even now – two years after his arrival – Spurs fans are still waiting for Lamela to truly catch fire, though improved performances so far this season, including arguably his best in the Premier League to date in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Manchester City, suggests a possible turning of the tide.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino knows this season represents something of a make-or-break one for Lamela too.
Despite this season’s promising form though, it’s fair to say Lamela’s signing has been something of a disappointment and Spurs are yet to see a real return on their investment. TEAMtalk rating: 5 / 10
Roberto Soldado – £26m from Valencia
Came to Spurs on the back of a stellar record in Spain with Valencia, but just didn’t seem to click during his two years at White Hart Lane.
In his 52 appearances at Tottenham, Soldado scored just seven goals.
Has since returned to Spain with Villarreal, who signed him for a knockdown fee of £10million and has quickly re-aquainted himself well with La Liga.
Most pundits seemed to suggest at the time of his signing that Soldado would be a good addition for Spurs, and while Baldini can consider himself unlucky with this one, there’s no escaping the fact that the player was sold for a loss of £16m after a dire two years at the Lane. TEAMtalk rating: 2 / 10
Nacer Chadli – £7m from FC Twente
Arrived in the summer of 2013, Belgian winger Chadli enjoyed a strong second season at White Hart Lane where he scored 12 goals – 10 of which came in the Premier League.
Faces a fight for a regular shirt this season in Mauricio Pochettino’s 4-2-3-1 formation but nonetheless represents one of the better signings of the Baldini era. TEAMtalk rating: 7 / 10
Etienne Capoue – £9m from Toulouse
Another that just did not work out, Capoue arrived from Toulouse in the summer of 2013 with something of a fierce reputation as a tough tackling defensive midfielder. Having been nominated for the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year, the player soon found himself scouted by Liverpool and Arsenal, but it was Baldini who swooped to sign the player.
But just 24 appearances in two years meant he rarely commanded a first-team shirt, and it was no shock to see him shipped out to Watford. The major surprise being that the loss on Capoue was just £2.7million! TEAMtalk rating: 2 / 10
Paulinho – £16m from Corinthians
Made a promising start to life at Tottenham and looked a player of real promise and energy during the early stages of his career in England. But that initial promise failed to develop and a series of disappointing performances saw him gradually drop out of favour.
Wasn’t a major surprise, however, when Spurs accepted a £9.9m offer for the Brazilian – the only shock being that the once highly-rated Brazilian was on the move to Guangzhou Evergrande in China. TEAMtalk rating: 4 / 10
Vlad Chiriches – £8.5million from Steaua Bucharest
Signed on his potential as much as anything, the signing of Romanian defender Chiriches just didn’t really pay off for Baldini.
Billed as a ball-playing centre-half, Chiriches just wasn’t cut out for the cut and thrust of the Premier League and made most of his 27 appearances for the club in the Europa League.
Shipped out to Napoli in the summer for a cut-price £4.5million. TEAMtalk rating: 4 / 10
Christian Eriksen – £11million from Ajax
Signed on the same day as Lamela, it’s safe to say Denmark playmaker Eriksen has been a huge hit at White Hart Lane since his arrival at the club. Seven Premier League goals in season one, and 10 last term, only tells half the story for a player, who has earned himself a reputation as one of the top playmakers in England.
His growing influence at the club was signified by reported interest from Juventus over the summer and, although he vowed to stay at Spurs, seems destined to move for a big profit if and when his time at Spurs comes to a close.
Baldini’s biggest success. TEAMtalk rating 9 / 10