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Fabio Paratici: “We have to be positive... we are starting the most exciting period of the season”

Wed 01 February 2023, 20:37|Tottenham Hotspur

Following the conclusion of the January transfer window, Fabio Paratici has given his latest extended interview to discuss our recent player movements and season so far.

TV presenter and Spurs fan Adam Smith asked the questions – here’s a look at his discussion with Fabio…

Adam: “We’re here to talk about transfers – the January transfer window has slammed shut now. Can you give us your overall assessment of how Tottenham did in this transfer window?”
Fabio: “The January transfer window every time is not easy because, first thing, you can’t choose in all the market because a lot of players are not available because they are playing, because the other club are not happy to sell the player. Sometimes you can get your targets so we are happy that we joined our targets and we added two international players to our squad. I think we have to look at not the small picture about this transfer window but the big picture of our project. It’s a long-term project so when I came here 18 months ago, we used the word ‘rebuild’ the squad to be competitive in the most high level in the Premier League and we continue like this so every transfer window we sought to add two or three players, two or three pieces to our squad, to our plan. We want to sign just players that can add something to us, not to just sign players because we have to sign players or because we are under pressure about signing players. It’s not our style – we know our plans, we know our philosophy and we continue like this.”

Adam: “Let’s talk about the players then. First up, Pedro Porro, a player that a lot of Spurs fans are very excited about. We’ve seen him in action against Tottenham, of course, this season. What can you tell us about him?”
Fabio: “Pedro Porro, first of all he is an international player who in the last two or three seasons played in European competition, played national team for Spain, so he is a player that has different skills that we didn’t have before. He has a lot of quality, he is explosive so we are very, very happy and excited to sign him. We were following him even in the last summer but we couldn’t buy him so we followed and then were lucky that he played against us so we could see him. He played very well against us so we continued to follow and I’m thankful to everyone in this club that worked hard about (making) this signing happen. It’s really, really appreciated, the effort of the club and Daniel and all the staff that worked hard to get Porro done.”

Adam: “How important was it to get that one over the line because it was one that went quite late in the window, so a lot of fans were constantly checking their phones for updates. How important was it that he did finally become a Spurs player?”
Fabio: “When you have a target and you believe in one player, you believe that he is the best that you can have, you have to fight until the end and this time, we arrived to the target.”

Adam: “Another player you’ve brought in, Arnaut Danjuma, how important will he be for Tottenham this season, do you think?”
Fabio: “I think Danjuma will be really important, he can help us a lot. He is a player that for two or three years, in every transfer window, he was near to joining some big clubs and even in the last summer Villarreal rejected a big offer for him and when we got the opportunity to sign him, we took this opportunity.”

Adam: “And of course scoring on his debut, it’s so good to see that. When a player recently signs – he’s moving country of course – and then scores on his debut, how much satisfaction does that give you when you see that?”
Fabio: “It’s not about that because we believe in the player, we know the player so we are happy more for him because it’s a good debut and it’s a good injection of confidence. I think this is the most important thing.”

Adam: “And of course it’s a loan. Is there an option to buy at the end? What can you tell us about this specific deal?”
Fabio: “We have the option to buy and so we will see what happens in the next five months.”

Adam: “Jude Soonsup-Bell, another player that came in from Chelsea. Now he might be someone that the fans don’t know as much about because he’s only 19 years of age so what can you tell us about him?”
Fabio: “He is a big talent who was always a big talent in England and when we got the opportunity to sign him, we signed him. We don’t have to put a lot of pressure on these young players, I think the most important thing for them is to get the right time to be under pressure about delivering but have the right time to grow up and be calm, be better and improve their skills.”

Adam: “I wanted to ask about Matt Doherty because he’s a player that there was a lot of talk about yesterday and he’s a player that has departed the club, so again, what was the thought process behind that and how that all unfolded on deadline day?”
Fabio: “So first of all, I want to thank Doc because he has been an important player for us and he’s a super guy, and so this is my first thought about him. Then, I repeat… there is a balance between the squad, the number of players in the squad and the number of players in some positions and when we get this kind of opportunity, Atletico Madrid is a big club, it’s a big opportunity for him so I think it’s right to everyone to get this kind of choice.”

Adam: “You mentioned earlier about the January transfer window being a particularly tough period comparative to the summer. How much of a challenge is that for you, when you’re dealing with players coming and going in such a quick space of time, when it gets to deadline day for instance?”
Fabio: “I think the most difficult thing in January is not the deadline but it’s during the transfer window because you get one thing that you don’t get in the summer – you get the matches inside of the window. Every three days you have matches and every three days, almost everything changes, so you have to be really flexible because players that are playing, they don’t play one match, they get frustrated… the clubs maybe change their idea because they want to change system or they want to change something, they are not happy about some players, so everything is really, really quick and you have to be a bit flexible because otherwise if you stay in the same position and everyone changes, you get it wrong.”

The most difficult thing in January is not the deadline but it’s during the transfer window because you get one thing that you don’t get in the summer – you get the matches inside of the window.

Fabio Paratici

Adam: “In terms of you personally, when do you sleep? How busy are you in January? I imagine you are always on the phone. Just give us an insight into you personally in that month because it must be very busy for you.”
Fabio: “It is a busy month, but it is exciting because everything is in the short term. I think it is even more exciting for the people that have this kind of work – we are more excited to do it. There are other parts (of the job) that are more boring, but this part is really exciting! We work in football, we like football, we like players and we want to achieve our targets about signing players.”

Adam: “Spurs currently have 10 senior first team squad players out on loan. I just wondered what the long-term plan is for those players?”
Fabio: “We have to divide it because we have some players, five or six players, that are more senior, are not older but senior, 24, 25, 26 and the other five or six players are really younger, so like (Dane) Scarlett or (Troy) Parrott. I think some of them have to develop, to have minutes for their career, to grow up and to also to come back home and the others need minutes because they have to play because we don’t have space in our squad in that moment.”

Adam: “Can I ask about Destiny Udogie? He is obviously a player that hasn’t played for Tottenham yet but again, he’s one that the fans are tracking a lot. Do you track his progress all the time in terms of how he’s getting on?”
Fabio: “Yes, we watch every game so scouts, they’re responsible for loans, so we follow him, he is doing very well, he is playing every game so I think this is the right way for him to improve and to be ready for next season.”

Adam: “And what qualities do you think he’ll bring to Tottenham?”
Fabio: “He is a wing-back, he has a really, really, really good left foot, offensive phases are really good, he creates a lot of opportunities to score, make assists so he’s a complete player.”

Adam: “With the wider media, Spurs are sometimes criticised for the length of time at which deals take to be done. Do you think that is an unfair criticism or a fair criticism in terms of how people from the outside perceive how Tottenham do their dealings?”
Fabio: “We have to accept that maybe the deal can be in one day, maybe you need one year and maybe sometimes you don’t get your target. The most important thing is to be in the race, to be there and to fight to do the best to achieve your goal.”

Adam: “You seem to have a very strong relationship with Antonio Conte. How often do you spend talking about transfers on a day-to-day basis?”
Fabio: “We speak every day a lot of times, so it is not just about the transfer window. We speak about football in general – we love football. We are two people that are really passionate about football. It is not just a job, it is a proper love for this game. All our lives we are involved and I think we will die doing this, with this passion.”

Adam: “We’re at the training ground, incredible facilities here. I wanted to ask you about the Academy – have we got any exciting players, the new Harry Kane coming through, do you think?”
Fabio: “So, speaking about Harry Kane is a bit difficult. I don’t want to put too much pressure on our people in the Academy. Our guys, they are working. The last Harry Kane was Jimmy Greaves, so I think a long time ago! I think we are working hard, we have a lot of talent and we have to put them in the best position to finalise their talents, and then we will see. I don’t want to put too much pressure on about a new Harry Kane… it’s too much. Harry is a really big example, I don’t think just for Tottenham but for the UK people. Even as a person he’s really respectful to everything and everyone, so he is really an example as a person and not just as a player. This is right for our Academy boys but they shouldn’t think about ‘if I don’t become Harry Kane I am something not good enough’ – no, this is not the standard level. He is at a super level that sometimes happens in one club.”

Adam: “We’ve spoken about all the transfers. Just finally, I want to get your assessment on the season so far for Tottenham…”
Fabio: “Every season is divided into two parts in my opinion. One part of the season lasts until March when the European competitions restart. And the second part is from March and after. Every big club needs to have the target to arrive in March and be in every competition. So, be fighting in the Premier League, Champions League or the European competition that you are playing, and the FA Cup. So here we are – we play the fifth round of the FA Cup, we play in the Champions League, we are fifth in the Premier League, we are fighting for a Champions League spot and so we did well in the first part of the season. I repeat, I think this has to be the target for every big team. Now we are starting the most exciting period of the season so we play big games, we just have to be positive and we are looking forward. Just be happy, be positive and be all together to support the team, to push the team, and we will see.”

Fabio Paratici - full interview on SPURSPLAY