Villa appoint Copenhagen's Lange as new Sporting Director

Lange had a brief spell as assistant at Wolves

Lange had a brief spell as assistant at Wolves

ASTON VILLA have appointed 40-year-old FC Copenhagen Technical Director Johan Lange as their new Sporting Director.

The Dane replaces Spaniard Jesus Garcia Pitarch, who was sacked by Villa on Tuesday after less than two years at the club.

Lange had a brief spell as assistant to current Copenhagen boss Stale Solbakken at Wolves in 2012. During his time with the Danish champions, they have had an incredible record for developing young players who have gone on to be sold on for much bigger fees.

Last summer, Denis Vavro was sold to Lazio for £9.5m and Robert Skov to Hoffenheim for £9m. Copenhagen are also one of only 15 clubs to have competed in the group stages of European competition in 13 of the past 14 seasons, despite having had to qualify in all but one of them.

Villa owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens said: “We’re pleased to welcome Johan to Aston Villa as we continue building a world-class organisation.

“This past season we were able to navigate a very difficult transition into the Premier League and are happy with the effort to stay up. But we will not be satisfied until we achieve our goal of bringing sustainable success to Aston Villa at the top tier of European football.

“We’ve made some significant strides in building an organisation and culture that will sustain success. We made significant investments into our academy programme by upgrading our facilities and bringing in a talented leadership team.

"We have also significantly invested in our women’s team who achieved promotion to the top tier of women’s football. This is a great opportunity to improve our football operations.

"We’re excited to work directly with Johan and the team to strengthen our analytics, sports science, talent recruitment and player development programmes.

“We are incredibly optimistic about the future of Aston Villa and remain committed to further invest in the club’s success.”

Lange said: “Aston Villa is one of the most famous clubs in European football with a rich history, but it is also a progressive club looking to the future,” Lange told the club website.

"I am excited and honoured to be given this opportunity to contribute to the club’s ambitious strategy to become a force in Premier League football again.”

Lange was initially assistant to Solbakken at Copenhagen, before returning to the club as Technical Director in 2014. During this time they have won three league titles.

Solbakken said: "We are proud of and happy for Johan that he has been given this exciting opportunity in the Premier League, and of course we will not stand in his way.

"It shows that Johan is incredibly good at his job and has delivered great results at FCK over the past six years. Our club takes pride in developing not only talented football players, but also talented managers and employees.

“It is also definite proof that our strong overperformances in Europe attract attention from the big leagues; we are carefully studied and players, coaches and managers become attractive.”

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