Damien Comolli (born 13 December 1972) is a former football coach, scout and director of football. He has previously worked with AS Monaco, AS Saint-Étienne, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. He speaks fluent English, Spanish and French.
Early life and career
He was born in Béziers, France, and played as a youth team player at Monaco. In 1992, he began a three-year coaching job with Monaco, where he looked after the club's Under-16 squads and won the state championship at that level. Comolli completed a law degree in 1995 and gained his French coaching licence.
In 1996, he joined Arsenal and spent seven seasons as a European scout and is credited with the discovery of several of Arsenal's players such as Kolo Touré, Emmanuel Eboué and Gaël Clichy. Between 2004 and 2005 he was technical director of AS Saint-Étienne. The club went through a successful period, finishing sixth in the league and reaching the semi-finals of the Coupe de France. During his time there he also oversaw a number of important first team signings and developed partnerships with junior and amateur clubs, locally, nationally and internationally.
In 2005, he became director of football at Tottenham Hotspur, with overall responsibility for the medical, academy, scouting and club secretarial departments, replacing the outgoing Frank Arnesen. During his time there he had several disagreements with coach Martin Jol, who, after his departure from Spurs, complained several players had been signed by Comolli without his agreement and that they had left the squad "unbalanced".
He spent three years in the job but with Tottenham performing poorly in 2008–09 and some of Comolli's signings coming in for criticism, he was dismissed in October 2008, shortly after the dismissals of manager Juande Ramos, assistant Gus Poyet and first team coach Marcos Álvarez, as the Director of Football position was abolished at the insistence of incoming manager Harry Redknapp. During his time at Tottenham, Comolli was responsible for Tottenham's policy of signing young talents, bringing players such as Gareth Bale, Alan Hutton, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Giovani dos Santos, Adel Taarabt and Younès Kaboul to the club. Comolli was also responsible for the signings of former and current Tottenham first-team squad members Luka Modrić, Benoît Assou-Ekotto, Heurelho Gomes, David Bentley, Vedran Ćorluka and Roman Pavlyuchenko, as well as Dimitar Berbatov.
On 9 November 2008, it was announced that he would return to Saint-Étienne as sporting director. His appointment led to the departure of manager Laurent Roussey. After leaving Saint-Étienne for Liverpool, the club's co-chairman Bernard Caiazzo said that Comolli was responsible for causing the club's financial problem and told the News of the World:
|“||"Damien spent €22 million [£18.7m] of our money on seven players in summer of last year. Only one is a first-team regular now. We gave him the keys to our club and are now in financial difficulties. My own view of Damien is he favours size and strength as the qualities he goes for first. Perhaps, he will do better with more money at his disposal at Liverpool than he did with us.||”|
On 3 November 2010, his appointment as director of football strategy at Liverpool was announced, with part of his remit being to oversee the recruitment of new players to the club. Comolli made an instant impact at Liverpool as he was responsible for the signings of two players, Luis Suárez and Andy Carroll, on January 2011's transfer deadline day, with Carroll's signing breaking the record for most expensive British player ever and eighth most expensive player in history, overtaking David Villa and Wayne Rooney. On 22 March 2011 Comolli was appointed as the director of football at Liverpool. In an interview, Comolli stated it covers pretty much the whole football side of running the football club, although he does not get involved in team training or selection.
In the summer transfer window for the 2011–12 season, Comolli helped Liverpool sign Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Doni, José Enrique, Sebastián Coates and Craig Bellamy. On 12 April 2012, Comolli left Liverpool by mutual consent. He stated that he left due to family reasons but rumours have circulated that he may have been sacked as a result of failings in the transfer market. After leaving Liverpool, Comolli spoke out defending the club's record. As of December 2012, several players that Comolli signed were no longer in the first team under manager Brendan Rodgers.
- Roan, Dan (3 November 2010). "Comolli takes Liverpool position". BBC News.
- "Who is Damien Comolli? Tracking down Tottenham's talent hunter". Daily Mail (London). 20 August 2007.
- Ley, John (20 October 2008). "Tottenham's director of football Damien Comolli needs clear role, says Arsene Wenger". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Rej, Arindam (16 September 2005). "Spurs bank on 'footballaholic' in the Wenger mould". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- Jacob, Gary (17 May 2008). "Damien Comolli faces questions over future". The Times (London). Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- Fifield, Dominic (2 November 2007). "Angry Jol says Comolli's 'profit-driven' signings sealed his fate at Spurs". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- "Transfer frustrations put Comolli's position under threat at Tottenham". The Guardian (London). 4 September 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- "Tottenham sack Ramos for Redknapp". BBC News. 26 October 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- I'm glad MY side is doing well
- Gareth Bale earning his Spurs at Tottenham
- Comolli joins Saint-Etienne as sporting director
- Saint Etienne sack Roussey
- "St Etienne Co-Chairman Bernard Caiazzo Warns Liverpool: Damien Comolli Is The Cause Of Our Financial Problems". Goal.com. 28 November 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- "St Etienne attack on Liverpool F.C. Damien Comolli". Liverpool Echo. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- Roan, Dan (3 November 2010). "Damien Comolli takes Liverpool position". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2010-11-03.
- "Damien Comolli and King Kenny work together". Goal.com. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- "Liverpool's future is bright, insists Damien Comolli". The Guardian (London). 23 March 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
- "Liverpool appoint Ian Ayre as new managing director". BBC Sport. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
- "Damien Comolli to leave lfc". lfc.tv. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
- "Liverpool shake-up begins as under-fire transfer chief Comolli leaves Anfield... and now the chief doctor's gone too". London: Daily Mail. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
- Collins, Paul (14 December 2012). "Comolli defends Dalglish's £110m Liverpool spending spree... as it emerges they missed out on Ba, Giroud and Kagawa". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 14 December 2012.