Damien Comolli (born 13 December 1972) is a former football coach, scout and director of football. He has previously worked with the clubs Monaco, Saint-Étienne, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Fenerbahçe. He speaks fluent English, Spanish and French.
On 7 June 2018 he signed a three-year contract with Fenerbahçe SK as Director of Football which was terminated on 16 January 2020.
Early life and career
Comolli 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, Comolli 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 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, Comolli 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 first-team head 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".
Comolli 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. Comolli was also responsible for the signings of former 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 Comolli 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 [£18.7 million] 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, Comolli's 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 Wayne Rooney. On 22 March 2011, Comolli was appointed as the director of football at Liverpool. In an interview, he stated the role 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. After leaving Liverpool, Comolli spoke out defending the club's record.
- Roan, Dan (3 November 2010). "Comolli takes Liverpool position". BBC News.
- Ley, John (20 October 2008). "Tottenham's director of football Damien Comolli needs clear role, says Arsene Wenger". The 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.
- "Club announce Damien Comolli as Sporting Director". Tottenham Hotspur. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
- 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.
- White, Duncan (13 December 2008). "Damien Comolli looks back in contentment at his Tottenham years". Retrieved 4 January 2020 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- "Bale earning his Spurs". BBC News. 3 November 2010.
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- FIFA.com. "Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) - FIFA.com". www.fifa.com.
- "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 3 November 2010.
- "Damien Comolli and King Kenny work together". Goal.com. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
- "Liverpool's future is bright, insists Damien Comolli". The Guardian. London. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "Liverpool appoint Ian Ayre as new managing director". BBC Sport. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "Damien Comolli to leave lfc". lfc.tv. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2012.