Leanoardo Gabbanini, former Tottenham chief scout and stand-in sporting director, has recently shed light on his departure from the club.
Gabbanini left his role in late September as part of an ongoing structural change at Tottenham.
During his tenure at Tottenham, Gabbanini made notable contributions to the club’s recruitment efforts, particularly in the summer transfer window.
His role included playing a part in the signings of players such as James Maddison and Micky van de Ven, who have made an immediate impact and helped Tottenham maintain an unbeaten start to the season.
Despite his successful stint, Gabbanini explained that he left his role at Tottenham because he couldn’t see himself working within a hierarchical structure.
He expressed a preference for maintaining direct contact with the club’s owner, as he believes this approach is the most effective.
Gabbanini highlighted the changing landscape within football clubs, where positions like “head of” and “chief of” have proliferated, creating additional layers between the key decision-makers and the club’s owner.
He said (via The Athletic’s Adam Leventhal):
“I was a chief scout when I arrived at Tottenham and I loved this. When I left, I was sporting director in my mind.
“To fix the situation at the club I had to do something that brought a new mentality. They opened my mind.
“The plan of the club was to have more people and more positions. In this world now we have the ‘head of’ and the ‘chief of’. You have seven steps before you speak with the owner.
For him, the ability to communicate directly with the owner was pivotal in enacting change and making a difference at the club.
While he enjoyed his role as chief scout, Gabbanini had aspirations of becoming a sporting director and saw his potential to create impact by having direct communication with the ownership.
He wanted to be actively involved in shaping the club’s direction, rather than being limited to providing lists of players for others to sign.
“We did an amazing job. Now tell me why I need to step back. Why do I need to be (working) under one or two other people? I want to be in direct communication with the ownership of a club, this is where I can make the difference. If I continue speaking directly with the owner, we can do something good.
“I don’t want to repeat the same (responsibilities) as when I was a chief scout, bringing a list of players for others to sign. I want to be active like I was in this summer’s market. Sometimes, when you try something you cannot go back.
Gabbanini’s desire to be a sporting director with a more influential role led to his departure from Tottenham.
He acknowledged that sometimes taking a new path is necessary to achieve one’s goals, and he indicated that he might explore opportunities with other clubs with the aim of one day returning to a club like Tottenham as a sporting director.
“As a chief scout, I can achieve the best level in the world, but I probably wasn’t the top sporting director for Tottenham. So when you want to be sporting director like I do, maybe you need to take another path, start with another club and maybe, one day I can come back (to a club like Tottenham) as sporting director.”
His exit makes sense for all parties but he needs to be credited for all the good work he has done for Spurs.
It is understandable why perhaps Spurs couldn’t have offered him the director role without him having any experience but the doors for him in the future looks to be open.