Filippo Giovagnoli has hit back at criticism of the club’s recruitment policy and insisted he has full control over who Dundalk recruit ahead of the new campaign.

A number of supporters have been questioning the club’s decision to go outside the SSE Airtricity League for additions to their squad with Alessio Abibi arriving from Albania, Erik Ole Midtskogen and Sonni Nattestad joining from the Faroese league, Raivis Jurkovskis coming from Latvia and Scottish midfielder Sam Stanton signing having most recently been on the books of Phoenix Rising FC in America.

This scepticism of the recruitment policy took another step at the weekend when a fans’ podcast expressed the view that Giovagnoli was “powerless” when it came to recruitment.

The article as it appeared in The Argus on February 2nd 2021

Asked about this, the head coach hammered home the point that he was behind all the new signings to date.

“I will be always criticised,” said Giovagnoli.

“Anything I do will be criticised but I don’t give a shit. I know there are many people who don’t like me. I don’t know why but it doesn’t matter. This is really not a problem.

“The players that you see signed were scouted by me, by the staff and by the sporting director. We agreed together to get these type of players. It’s as simple as that.

“We believe that these are players that we can develop, we believe they are players that we can sell later and we believe they are players that can make us win. This is what we believe and the club is moving in this direction.

“I, of course, follow the direction of the club but I make the technical decisions so if I need, for example, a left footed centre back and I try to look in Ireland there is maybe one who I felt wasn’t good enough to replace the player who we were losing so we went overseas.

“It’s simple but I don’t know why people have an issue with that. It’s time to look a little bit bigger. Maybe people are afraid of the unknown but someone has to start. It is what it is though because we’re here, we’re going to work and we’re going to do our best.”

While traditionally clubs within the league have recruited mainly from within, Giovagnoli said it was good to look elsewhere to widen your options.

“I think it’s good to have players from all over the world coming because they’ll make this league more known in other countries. I think this can only be a benefit and I don’t see problems on that even if I know that there is a little bit of concern that we’re not only playing with Irish players and staff.

“I understand that but the way that the world is now football is global, so we need to be open to all sides to make this league more important. It’s not a parochial league. This could be a really important league. We play in Europe so we have to have a different vision in my opinion.”

Giovagnoli added that it was the club’s long-term intention to develop players within their own academy to cut down on the need for overseas recruits.

“It’s not that we won’t pick Irish players but we have to look at things from the long term. These players are going to help Irish players to be better. This has to be the idea.

“Even this thing that if a player goes from Shamrock Rovers to Dundalk or Dundalk to Shamrock Rovers, that you should get the best players from the other teams to make them weaker, I mean no, the league should be stronger and the stronger the league that helps everyone.

“The best players in Ireland don’t stay. They go to play overseas so it’s not sustainable like that. We need help until such time that we develop a system internally that we can develop a lot of players in the youth system. That’s something we want to do. Then we’ll have more talent internally and we’ll need less players from overseas but until you build this kind of model, you need something from outside the country.”

Giovagnoli also dismissed suggestions that his five overseas recruitments would not be good enough to help Dundalk challenge for the title this season.

“People are talking about our players and they don’t even know who they are, what they’ve done in the past and how good or bad they are. They have no knowledge of them at all.

“People who have knowledge are those who watch and study them but other people talking on a podcast, they don’t know shit about football. They’re just talking. It’s like going to the bar and having a talk but let them talk. It’s not important for us,” he said.