Having recouped almost £100 million on the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Baldini went out and signed a host of players to fill the void left by the Spain-bound winger, but, with most of them second-choice picks for then-head coach Andre Villas-Boas, the majority have failed to prove themselves in the Premier League. Christian Eriksen is the only arrival who could be considered a success, and, whilst Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela are starting to improve this season, they would hardly be missed if sold by the club.
Whilst one season of bad business could be considered bad luck, Baldini once again showed his inability over the summer prior to the start of this campaign, with more arrivals who have failed to settle - including Federico Fazio and Benjamin Stambouli - and the lack of willingness to sign a new striker, despite Roberto Soldado’s evident weaknesses.
With the Lilywhites languishing below mid-table after 11 games of the Premier League season, Baldini is reportedly close to losing his job, and chairman Daniel Levy has once again raided Southampton to strengthen head coach Mauricio Pochettino’s running of the club, electing to hire head of recruitment Paul Mitchell. Former MK Dons player Mitchell is said to have tended his resignation at St Mary’s Stadium, and it is surely just a matter of time until he is providing his scouting talents to Tottenham.
However, Mitchell’s appointment should not be considered a quick fix at White Hart Lane.
Since the 33-year-old was appointed on the South Coast in 2012, the Saints have won promotion to the Premier League, secured their top flight position, and look to be challenging for European qualification this term. Their on-pitch success has been largely thanks to his work in the scouting department, with his first summer transfer window bringing in Jay Rodriguez, Steven Davis and Nathaniel Clyne, and, despite losing key players over the summer just gone, he worked with new boss Ronald Koeman to strengthen their side to a remarkable level.
Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle, Toby Alderweireld and Ryan Bertrand all arrived at the club - with the first two wanted by both the scouting department and new head coach upon his arrival - and they have played key parts in the Saints ascension to the second-place berth of the Premier League.
Despite his success, Mitchell has, like Baldini, completed some strange business in the market. He was responsible for brining in Paulo Gazzaniga, Vegard Forren, Dani Osvaldo and Saphir Taider, and he should not be expected to fix Spurs’ transfer problems in January. His work takes time to complete, and the North Londoners must brace themselves for a season of turmoil before stability can be found.
If they see out the season with Pochettino and Mitchell working alongside each other at White Hart Lane, well, then they might just reap the benefits of the appointment.