Leeds United announced today that Victor Orta is joining the club as the director of football. This move had been rumored for weeks, with new owner Andrea Radrizzani allegedly a fan of his work.
Orta, who started out in a director’s role at Spanish giants Sevilla, has also worked at Zenit St Petersburg and also at Spanish club Elche CF. While largely unknown in England before coming to Middlesbrough in 2015, he was seen on the continent as a up and coming director after being a part of some extremely successful Sevilla teams.
✅ Technical Director of Sevilla— Leeds United (@LUFC) May 30, 2017
✅ Won the UEFA Cup in 2006
✅ Oversaw recruitment at Zenit
✅ Promoted to Premier League with Middlesbrough pic.twitter.com/XMvQepSDQr
His track record at Middlesbrough is a mixed bag. While the team achieved promotion in the 2015-16 season, last season Boro was much less successful. While the team had a wonderful defense, the team was unable to find players to put the ball in the back of the net. Boro was 10th in GA last season, but was dead last in goal scored. While some of the results can be chalked up to manager Aitor Karanka, Orta was responsible for bringing the players that Karanka had to work with. Orta’s appointment has already lowered the odds on Karanka being named manager of the club.
The “director of football” position is somewhat new in England, but it has been used with success in Europe. North American sports usually divide the coaching and the player acquisition parts of team management, with a vast majority of NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA teams hiring a general manager to oversee the recruitment while the head coach develops game plans, strategies, and tactics to win games. Some more successful head coaches have a lot of input into which players the teams will sign, most famously New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, but those cases are rare. Not to say that a head coach doesn’t have a lot of input into personnel decisions, but it is usually a specialized position in North American sports.
Time will tell if this is a decent appointment for Leeds United or not, but new owner Radrizzani is certainly starting to put his imprint on the club.