From investigation to contract: how does the transfer market work

26 June 2017

Transfer windows – very important part in the life of football clubs. During these periods the teams strengthen up their squads, laying the foundation for future victories. But how does that begins and what is the way to signing of the player? It is a high time to talk about specifics of transfer work.

Scouting: how does the transfer market work


Success of the football coach can depend on work of his scouts. And though between request for a transfer of this or that football player and signing of the contract there can pass only several days, preliminary work can be performed for several months or even years.

"Scouts work in all weather. These are those who are in the car at 1 o'clock in the morning with a piece of meat pie in one hand and a wheel in another. They get 40 pence for mile, that's all", - Michael Calvin says. He is the author of the book The Nowhere Men in which he has told about scouts of talented football players.

Speaking at The Footballers' Football Show in 2013 Calvin told that David Moyes at the time of cooperation with "Everton" wanted to receive 50 long reports on the main transfer goals written by 10-12 scouts. "Moyes has what he calls the check list. It contains 12 criteria for each position in an optimum situation. David has about 5000 reports about 1000 football players", - Calvin says.

It is not a game in the football manager. Opportunities on the football field, of course, dominate but sometimes it is only a half of the reason why did the football player suit the team. Scouts, as we know, sometimes write down in their notes information about "body language" of the football player during warm-up period or goal celebration.

The British coach Carl Robinson in an interview to Sky Sc's Art of Scouting has told: "There is no good scout who would watch only 10 games and knew about all abilities of the football player. I can guarantee this. I trust scouts large amount of work and at the end I only tick off".

In the club of the English Premier League there are 10-15 scouts but the head of them has close connection with the head coach. They are connected by accurate vision of common goals. Thousands of games, thousands of kilometers … Is there a simpler way in scouts’ work? Most clubs use statistical databases in parallel with scouts’ work. Prozone, WyScout, Scout7, DataScout. All these programs are good, but whether computers will be able to replace the pen, the paper and the certificate of a scout?

"You have to visit stadium and you need intuition. It is impossible to watch a match on a laptop", - Mel Johnson , the scout of West Bromwich, is speaking. Gary Neville has the similar opinion. "Many people watch a game, but don't see it. When we are preparing the broadcast at Sky Sports, we use cameras from a birds eye view. The coach watch a game this way", - the ex-player of Manchester United has told.



Scouts have pointed out the target football players. What's next? It is necessary to continue to obtain information. "We call the coach and we learn reference data about the player, we contact the agent and we find out what is the personality of the football player", - tells the coach Carl Robinson. The agent and the football player will learn about club’s interest long before the proposal will come. The transfer request seldom becomes a real surprise for the player and the public nowadays.

The agent of World in Motion James Lippett is speaking: "The club that wants to buy a football player always wants to know whether they have a chance to finish the transaction, otherwise they will look silly. The conversation with the agent often has these questions: 1) How much will the player cost? 2) How long will the player stay under the previous contract? 3) How much does the player want to earn? 4) How much is the player earning now? 5) What are the family and personal affairs of the player?"

As Lippett says, the scheme at which the club receives the fax with the money proposal is outdated. "3-4 proposals usually come by e-mail. The first proposal is rejected in 99.9% of cases. The second will be closer to the aim and it will be followed by several final proposals. It is like poker", - the agent has told.

Negotiations with the football player

The club accepts the transfer proposal: the football player of Y approaches club X. But to tell the truth, he isn't so close. The present "personal terms of the contract" are much wider than the salary. The slightest disagreement can lead to a failure of transfer. While coaches speak about football the bosses of the football club negotiate with the football player about money. This includes the salary, payment for signing, bonuses for victories, goals or "dry" matches. In addition, the player and his agent can demand anything they want.

Everyone can become an agent. All you need is to pay £500, to undergo security check in Football association, and you are registered. In Great Britain there are about 1300 agents for 4000 professional football players. But many new agents simply don’t have any clients. Freshers hope to snatch the piece. Nevertheless, only 10% of the best agents get big money, and others only fight for what has remained.

"What car will the football player get? If he moves from abroad, perhaps, he needs some money for moving to another city. Sometimes players ask to help in choosing school or any other help", - Lippett told. The career of the football player is short therefore he and his agent are trying to get from clubs as much as possible.

sport director of Peterborough United Barry Fry

The sport director of Peterborough United Barry Fry has another point of view. "Initial requirements of agents are simply shocking. Some of the agents haven’t even seen how their client is playing and this is terrible. They aren't interested in development of football players and only in what they will be able to earn (usually agents receive 5% of the transaction though FIFA recommends 3%). We tell players: "You won't become a millionaire in Peterborough but you will become the millionaire when you leave us". I think many coaches of the Premier League have told these words to the football players they are interested in", - Fry told.

In reality football players, as a rule, are trying to get to top club as soon as possible. As Lippett tells, requirements and the player's ambitions strongly depend on what they have achieved at the moment, and it is quite logical. "If the player is successful and very rich, personal conditions take the most important place. If the player hasn’t achieved any great success then money will be on the first place. Ambitions can take the backseat. Many football players live in one city and go for training to another. Many football players live in isolation. Only few of them think about this fact", - Lippett has told.

Contract details and confirmation

Even when all personal conditions are coordinated with the football player there are still some deal breakers. Clausule is mentioned in football circles now more often than earlier. Its purpose is protection of the football player and club.

Besides, there are very strange details of contracts. So, after signing of the contract with Sunderland the Swedish midfielder Stefan Schwarz is forbidden to fly into outer space after his agent has bought a place for the space flight in 1999. Or Harry Redknapp insisted to include the point of weight control when Crystal Palace signed Neil Raddock.

Dominic Matteo in 2000 had moved from Leeds to Liverpool

Also the process of medical examination is difficult. The more the football player costs the more careful are these examinations. Clubs are trying to find the latent trauma or a problem in order to justify the spent money. But some football players had failed medical investigation and, nevertheless, completed transfer. Dominic Matteo in 2000 had moved from Leeds to Liverpool for £5 million.

Stuart Pearce has told about one interesting case: "We appointed medical examination to the football player. The doctor told that his anklebones and knees are under suspicion there are some problems with pelvic area, bad blood analysis and heart murmurs. I asked whether there is something good. The doctor answered: "The football player has fine teeth". The football player nevertheless came to us and promised that if he is difficult to reach during any period then he won't receive money for this period. He was not able to play. If all players do like this they would be in much better physical fit".

After medical examination it is necessary only to send to Football association necessary documents till a deadline, to prepare the press release, social networks and a club shirt. That is all – after laborious work the football player is signed.

Read also: english premier predictions

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