Mr Agent: So it all begins again… but believe me, we've been very busy!
Stapleton, an FA licensed players' agent and co-founder of Star
Management Signings Ltd (right), has signed up for Sportsmail to give
our readers an agent's insight into the transfer window and football's
big talking points.
Read his thoughts on what will be a busy January transfer window…
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So the January window is upon us again. People often ask me: 'what does an agent do outside of the window'
A fair question given the summer window closes at the end of August and doesn't reopen until New Year's Day, leaving four months without being able to bring money into the company through transfers.
But, believe me, there is plenty to be getting on with. During this time we are out there trying to sign new talent, build relationships with clubs and personnel, all in preparation for the next window.
There are a lot of games to be watched and the air miles soon stack up.
Now January has arrived, the focus shifts to moving players on, both here and abroad.
In my experience, January has always been a strange window and it is always hard to predict how it will go for our agency. We can do as many deals as we did in the summer window but the level of income seems to be a lot lower.
Most clubs tend to look towards the loan market and cheaper options, simply to add to their squad rather than rebuild it in such a short space of time.
Obviously, there are a few exceptions to this rule with some of the big clubs but generally there's nowhere near as much money spent.
There are deals to be made in China
At the moment, we are working on a few deals at both Premier League and Championship level. We're also busy with a few pre-contracts with players overseas who are available on a free in the summer and some loan deals too.
We also pay a lot of attention to other international federations whose seasons are set to start, with this window their equivalent to our summer window.
China, Russia, USA, even Uzbekistan – these countries all present us with good opportunities for our players.
Deal made in China: Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka has joined Shanghai Shenhua
China, in particular, are spending a lot more money now and looking to bring players with real quality to their league – as already proven with Nicolas Anelka.
As an agency based in the UK, this means that we have to work with local agents within these areas.
This can be difficult at times but you try to work through everything in order to get the deal done for the player.
I have just returned from Dubai after talking to a few clubs out there and, of course, managed to get a couple days in the sun… the New Year's fireworks at the Burj Khalifa were quite incredible!
The going can get tough for some players
Our players are half way through their season now. Some have done very well so far and there are others who have found the going tough.
In the summer, difficult decisions have had to be made and only at the end of the season do we know if those decisions have been the right ones.
Kaspars Gorkss has been doing exceptionally well at Reading, while Robert Koren is having a very good season at Hull.
Improving: Blackburn's Radosav Petrovic
But on the other side of the scale, Zoltan Gera has picked up a nasty injury after a promising start on his return at West Brom and is sadly now out for the season.
It is also difficult for a player to travel to the UK from abroad and settle quickly in the Premier League.
Radosav Petrovic, for instance, has endured difficult start to life at Blackburn.
Ideally, a player needs a transitional stage but he was played straight away and struggled to adapt to the pace of the game.
But, after a period on the bench for a few games, he has had more time to adapt and impressed in the New Year's Eve win against Manchester United. So we look to him to improve more in time.
It's almost identical to Marko Futacs at Portsmouth. The big striker has bided his time and got his first start since arriving from Werder Bremen in the summer this week against Leicester.
His hold up play was very good and he scored a good goal. He then repeated his success against Watford with a header.
Two goals in two starts isn’t bad but it's up to him now to keep improving, adapting and keep his place in the team. What better opposition than Chelsea in the FA Cup this weekend to do this…
We're not all 'parasites'…
Agents, as a whole, get a fair bit of bad press and were recently called ‘parasites’ and ‘spivs’ by Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell.
Comments: Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell
To be honest, it always makes me laugh when people who know nothing about what goes on in the industry jump to conclusions based on ambiguous figures that are published.
To label all agents 'parasites and spivs' frankly surprises me as I would have thought a politician knows all about being tarnished with the same brush
In fact, in one instance recently, we gave the agency fee to our player in order to help him with his salary and, on another occasion, we took money off an agency fee in order to make sure a loan move went through as the club was looking for a loan fee.
As an agency it really isn't all about picking up agency fees. It's about developing our clients and making sure that they are at the right club and on the right path.
FA Cup of plenty
I will look to keep you up to date with all that's going on within our agency over the next few weeks during the January window.
This Friday I'm off to Anfield to watch Liverpool take on League One side Oldham to see how Josh Parker does for the Latics.
Then, on Sunday, I'm at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea's third round FA Cup tie against Portsmouth to hopefully see Marko Futacs continue his good run.
Till next week…