Damien Comolli joins Liverpool

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Former Tottenham director of football and Arsenal scout Damien Comolli has joined Liverpool as “Director of Football Strategy”.

The Frenchman is expected to take up a similar role at Anfield to that which saw him recruit several of Tottenham‘s now flourishing squad.

Comolli was responsible for taking Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Tom Huddlestone, Michael Dawson and Dimitar Berbatov, among others.

At Arsenal, where Comolli was European scout for 7 years, he helped Arsene Wenger sign the likes of Thierry Henry and Robert Pires. He was also responsible for discovering Kolo Touré and Gaël Clichy.

Most recently he was sporting director at St. Etienne, but left the post this week in order to take up the new job at Anfield.

It is believed Comolli was recommended to new owner John W. Henry by Billy Beane – a close friend of Comolli’s and a man whom Henry attempted to hire as general manager of the Boston Red Sox. Beane is general manager at a baseball side in the US and revolutionised the way players were recruited.

Beane was the subject of a book called Moneyball, which is about “sabermetrics” — basing decisions on statistical analysis. Comolli shares the similar belief and now looks set to challenge whether it can be transferred from baseball to football.

Henry is on Merseyside this week and is expected to attend the Reds two home games with Napoli and Chelsea. He met with manager Roy Hodgson on Tuesday and has visited the training ground at Melwood. There could be more news on off-field appointments to follow.

It is believed Hodgson has been told by Henry and NESV to concentrate purely on coaching the team and that Comolli and Kenny Dalglish have been put in charge of recruiting players.

What will this mean for Liverpool?

Foremost a dilution in the absolute power of the manager. When it comes to transfers, Hodgson can expect to be a key part of the team that decides who is signed, but only a member.

NESV have said they will be investing substantially in scouting and that will be what makes or breaks their approach. Too many English clubs rely on agents to do their scouting for them and even the best agents operate with vested interests. With proper scouting, strong collection and analysis of data, Liverpool could go into the new world of Financial Fair Play with a really competitive model. Just don’t expect the football world to embrace it with an open mind.

Quotes (From LFC.tv)

NESV Principal Owner John Henry: “Damien has a proven track-record of identifying exciting young footballing talent and we are delighted that he has agreed to join Liverpool. Working closely with Roy Hodgson and the coaching staff, I know he will make a valuable contribution to strengthening the Club and the squad as we move forward.

“Today’s announcement is just the first step in creating a leadership group and structure designed to develop, enhance and implement our long-term philosophy of scouting, recruitment, player development and all of the other aspects necessary to build and sustain a club able to consistently compete at the highest level in European football.

“We intend to be bold and innovative. We will not rest until we have restored Liverpool Football Club to the greatness Liverpool fans expect.”

Roy Hodgson: “I am looking forward to working with Damien whom I have known for many years. We are engaged in an exciting project here and he will bring a lot to the table. We all want to see moves to strengthen the squad and support player development over the next few years. John Henry and I are totally united in delivering on that ambition.”

Damien Comolli: “I am delighted to be joining Liverpool and look forward to working with John and Roy. I think we all realise there is a big job ahead, but we all share the vision that John has for rebuilding the club and bringing back the success that the supporters deserve.”

Welcome to Liverpool, Damien.

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