Johan Lange: Why alignment is a key word at Tottenham
Written by Simon Austin — February 12, 2024
TOTTENHAM Technical Director Johan Lange says he and manager Ange Postecoglou are “aligned” to a club game model and methodology that will survive even if they leave.
The Dane arrived at Tottenham in November from Aston Villa, where he served as Sporting Director and then Global Director of Football Development. He is responsible for recruitment, analytics and talent identification across senior and Academy teams.
When Lange was offered the role at Spurs, he insisted on bringing two key staff with him from Villa. The first was compatriot Fred Leth, with whom he had worked at FC Copenhagen as well.
Leth’s title at Tottenham is Head of Football Insights and Strategy and he works heavily with data, with part of the role being to quantify the club’s game model. The other person Lange brought in with him was Rob Mackenzie, who had been Head of Recruitment at Villa for more than three years and who became Head of Scouting at Tottenham.
Mackenzie manages a team of scouts and look for players with the profiles to fit the game model.
We have written a lot about clubs not being aligned between key personnel when it comes to decision-making - such as Everton under owner Farhad Moshiri - and not having clear game models that survive changes of manager.
This can lead to a churn in players, with a squads made up of groups of players fitting different styles and philosophies.
However, Lange emphasised this was not the case at Tottenham. The club’s other key football decision-makers are Chairman Daniel Levy and Chief Football Officer Scott Munn, who joined in April 2023 from City Football Group (CFG) China.
“We see every transfer window as an opportunity to progress and build the squad in the direction we want to take it… It’s not a one or two window job but the Club has taken some very important steps”— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 8, 2024
Technical Director Johan Lange reflects after the January transfer window ?? pic.twitter.com/FDav7gHJR5
“Firstly and very importantly, we arrived into the January market completely aligned, the chairman, Ange, Scott and myself,” Lange told the club’s official website “This is not only about Ange or myself, this is a club strategy, club alignment, and Ange and I have been brought in in different roles to execute this.”
Lange said the aim of Tottenham's recruitment was to “build a squad in alignment with the style of play and methodology; that is not a one or two-window job.”
He added: “It is very important when we are out there watching potential new players that they fit with the style of play and also with the personality of the group we want to build.
“We are very fortunate to have a Head Coach in Ange who is crystal clear in how he wants to play, how he wants to train, which kind of personalities he is looking for to build a squad.
“When the scouting team and myself are out watching players we know exactly what we are looking for, we are completely aligned as a club in how we want to build the squad over the coming years, which is hugely important.”
Lange said there was also alignment on style of play throughout the age groups. Simon Davies was promoted from Head of Methodology to Academy Director in June.
“The overall identity, the mindset of how we play at first team level, is definitely now implemented throughout the different age groups,” Lange said. “Academy Director Simon Davies has done a great job, but I also think Simon would be the first one to admit we have a long way to go.”