Here is a story from a few seasons ago, when I had a small involvement in an international move.
It all started with an email from a club manager, who wrote to me on the recommendation of his friend, an international manager. It was the classic: “hello, my name is **** my friend **** said you knew the English market very well as you attend many games, is it correct? Can I give you a ring?”
What followed was my first and probably last foray into the world of the international football transfer and it was certainly a huge adventure for me.
The coach rang me a couple days later, explaining what he was looking for in terms of players, their position, style of play and how the players should integrate into his team. We then agreed to contact each other once I had found potential players for him.
I had a few excel files with players’ data that were dormant on my hard drive. I sorted through it with the parameters available to me and it gave me a couple of names that I submitted to the coach.
When he rang me back, he had been recommended a regular England player at the time under Hope Powell, I don’t know if a scout had alerted him to her or if her agent had actually contacted him directly on her behalf.
I straightaway dismissed her saying she was not suited to his style of play. This was due to her multiple weaknesses, that were not compatible with the highest level required in my honest opinion. Then, I explained why Hope Powell was selecting that player on a regular basis and came up with a player’s name that I thought would suit the coach’s desire.
In terms of football ability, I had absolutely no doubt that the player would do well, she had everything you need for a player in that position, strong, powerful, technically agile and she was two footed. I sent the coach a couple of video links and a short player C.V.
He came back to me a couple of days later, saying the player was fitting the profile he was looking for and would I be able to find a contact for her. By coincidence, the player was on holiday in the same town as the club that was trying to recruit her.
She was over there with two team-mates and had been there at least once before. I contacted her straightaway and told her there was interest from a club where she was currently on holiday.
I also mentioned to the club that the player’s brother was living in the same town and should a transfer happen, he would help her settle quickly and easily. As a foreigner living in England, I know how difficult it is to live abroad especially at the beginning and you never know if British people will adapt to a different way of life. So that was an extra guarantee in case of a move.
The club decided to contact the player via her brother, but they did not manage to do it because her brother had gone on holiday himself. I then came back into play and I contacted the player again on social media (via PM of course) and told her that the club was keen to sign her.
To my surprise, the player said she was interested. I relayed the information to the club who quickly asked me to get back in touch with her and get her agent’s phone number and email to start the formal process. I got the information requested and passed it on to the club.
Among the numerous parameters that influenced the move, the player was looking for a job. She had just graduated with a BA from university and at the time the FA WSL teams were still semi-professional with training twice a week in the evening. Players had a day job to make ends meet.
The lure of a professional contract was probably too good to be turned down and maybe there was dissatisfaction with the way her club was going at the time. You never know why players decide to move away from their current club.
So my part in the move was over, I left it to the club to deal with her agent on the contractual side and spoke a couple of times to the coach as he was keen to find more reinforcements for his club.
Then one day I got an email thanking me for my help and that the deal was done but also not to put anything on social media until the club made the signing public.
What I found astonishing is the first email that I received from the coach was on the 27th June and the transfer was announced on the 19th July. You really don’t expect a transfer you are involved in to happen so quickly, but this one certainly did.