Mr Agent: Transfer deals are a bit like spinning plates… up in the air
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 is proving a busy January transfer window…
In this game you have to ensure that you have as many deals up in the air as you possibly can. Perhaps they will all come off, perhaps only one comes off or you may not have any that come off at all.
As I look at our whiteboard in the office we have completed three deals currently and we have a further 10 'up in the air'. Very similar to spinning plates I imagine. You need to keep your eye on all of them and try not to drop any. They all need as much attention as each other.
We are, of course, working towards a deadline at the end of the month, however a few of our current 'plates' are in China and Turkey. Both countries remain open after our transfer window closes.
Up in the air: Mr Agent has many transfer deals on the go in what is a busy period
This becomes a bit of an issue to a UK club; if they lose a player outside of the window then they cannot add to their squad to replace them, unless of course you are in the Football League, in which case you could try to loan a player.
As an agency it’s hard to predict your yearly cashflow. Money always comes in to the company around February and September. One year you may have a good year, the next may be bad but you have to try and juggle things to make it work. I know how much it costs to run our company a year with our employee salaries, travel, mobile phone bills, office space etc, and we use that as a starting point. It doesn’t alter a great deal, year to year.
We therefore go out and try to earn as much money above that starting point as possible.
An issue that I feel has got worse over the years is when clubs don't pay us. In fact to say that they ‘don't pay’ is probably slightly unfair, they do pay the amounts that have been agreed but it takes them a very long time.
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Payments to agents are very much bottom of the priority list, which I’m sure most of you probably agree with but in any line of work it makes it very hard to run a business when you are due a certain amount of money on one day and you receive it close to six months later.
Some clubs have their financial issues and therefore can’t pay until they are rectified but others have the money and simply choose not to pay it.
However, there are some clubs that pay on time or within days of when they are meant to. I’ve actually had a club call me to chase an invoice that I hadn’t sent on the day that a fee was due! This creates such a positive feeling for us and makes us want to work with that club in the future.
If I have a player that is wanted by two similar clubs and they are offering him similar wages, then I'm going to suggest the club that I know is going to pay everything on time.
Technology is always advancing in football, on the pitch, off the pitch and not just in football clubs but in the agency world as well.
We are always looking at ways of trying to improve and make things better.
Technology has driven scouting forward
Scouting at clubs has come on leaps and bounds with the use of technology.
A scout can now write a match report or a player report on his Blackberry or iPad either during a game or immediately after and the manager and chief scout can have the report in his inbox before he wakes in the morning.
You can call clubs in the Premier League and mention a player and within minutes the sporting director can tell you all about the player and if they like him or not, based on scouting reports that have been done over the past few seasons, although you would be surprised at how many don’t do this.
Scouting departments are so very important and technology is a huge part of this. As an agency we used to have to send out VHS tapes to clubs in order for them to look at a player that we suggested. Clubs must have had one room that was full of video tapes! Obviously it has now progressed to DVDs which takes up a lot less space and doesn’t cost as much to send, however, we now have the next step which is inevitably using the internet.
We use a system called Wy-Scout, that can be found at www.wyscout.com.
We have access to the majority of games across the world online. Many clubs also employ the same system so they can simply download the games of the players that we have discussed.
Gone are the days of asking, and waiting, for players to send their game DVDs in order for us to make a highlights reel or to send the games on. It makes everything so much quicker.
I wonder what the next step will be
Pack in the play acting, Pepe…
Last night I was in Madrid watching the first El Clasico of 2012, slightly ashamed to say that it was my first one since starting in this business almost nine years ago.
Amazing atmosphere. Real Madrid is truly an incredible club, any player who has the opportunity to be a part of the club is very lucky.
Leave it out: Mr Agent felt Pepe's play-acting was embarrassing
Saying that, it incenses me to see a player like Pepe behaving like he did, faking injury to an embarrassing degree. Does he not realise that the whole world is watching the game and watching numerous replays and different angles
I'm sure the manager will have a word with him.
Arriving back into the UK today for a meeting this afternoon with a Premier League club and then dinner with a manager from a Championship club.
On Saturday I’m off to watch Spurs Youth take on Leicester Youth in the morning as we helped bring in a couple of Lithuanian youth players to Leicester that are doing very well and then to Reading v Hull to watch Kaspars Gorkss and Robert Koren.
See you next week…