Agent reveals the truth about transfer deadline secrets

Don’t be fooled by transfer deadline day. Here at football4football we’ll take you exclusively behind the supposed last minute wild spending and roller coaster ‘breaking news’. Top agents give never before seen personal accounts of the deals that cost mega millions. Here is the first part of how your clubs sign players.




The mere mention of the transfer deadline sends waves of anticipation and wonder as to what new player will be coming or going from one club to another.

Daily speculation in the press only fuels the excitement and sometimes confusion. Journalists have to fill the back pages so if there’s a slightest hint or link of putting a story out, then ‘hey go with it, you never know!’

Speculation and opinion is what fires most of the transfer going-ons throughout the season, and that is exactly the time frame that a player’s movement is orchestrated. The vast majority of deals done on ‘deadline’ are in fact the end product of many months of calculated monitoring and negotiation.

If you really think about, football is a business and businesses need planning to work. So, a player signed in any of the windows is likely to have been on the radar for sometime, the only thing needing looking at by either of the parties; player, selling club and buying club, is timing. Timing is not just necessarily down to the 30 day periods but a full spectrum of influences.

Football agent James Featherstone has sat at many a transfer negotiating table and knows only too well that in order for deals to happen a long strategic process will have to have taken place.

James Featherstone: “Clubs have plans and they’ll start to implement those plans very early on.”


+2 Harry Redknapp sits in the stand to watch a pre-season gamePA ImagesHarry Redknapp is viewed by some as a 'wheeler dealer'. Redknapp though pulls off mater strokes and gets players performing in a way others thought impossible. He is a true exponent of utilising the transfer windows to galvanise a season.Visionary



Basically a full hit list of players is drawn up by clubs. In the good old days a manager would hand such a list to the chairman and they would try and get player x, y or z. These days directors of football or technical directors will liaise with the board on player recruitment. You could say that it creates a very efficient business flow, allowing the manager to just concentrate on the playing side, on the other hand it could be a case of eliminating any potential player target problems.

A scenario that could definitely arise in the modern game and going back to James’ dealings with clubs long-term strategy, is when a manager identifies a player. The tracking starts, a deal is virtually ready to be processed somewhere down the line but then that manager is sacked. So, that good ‘business’ of having a director of football in place, who generally reports more to the chairman/owners day-to-day and is seen as a fixture would potentially safe guard the buying process.

“it's not uncommon now to have a technical director or a sporting director looking at the market” : James Feathersone explains the club set-up


+2 New signing Henrik Larsson sits with the Manchester United manager Sir Alex FergusonPA ImagesTransfer windows are an opportunity to add to the squad. If a team is challenging the right player could add a new dimension to a title pursuit. Even an astute loan signing could prove pivotal.Opportunity



For all the planning and vision the lead up to the deadline can get blurry. Deals that were rubber stamped ready to go can be sent astray by the uncontrollable variables.

Change of heart: Players are human and can basically decide against a move.

Injury: The buying or selling club my suffer an injury to one of the current squad. A direct replacement could be required changing the focus and if that player is already earmarked to go somewhere else, then 'supply & demand' kicks in.

Sacking: If a player was the target of a particular manager’s way of playing and that manager is removed then that players could be left in limbo.

Demand: We live in a consumer society, sometimes a potential transfer can be kept under wraps until the window kicks in. If that player has been flying and is hot property then the player could wait and listen to new offers. That also applies to the club, they may decide to see if a higher bid comes in for someone they have already agreed to sell. Also as previously mentioned, emergency replacement for injury is always a good one. The selling club knows that the player is needed by the buyers.

So for all the hype and shouting only the variables really lend themselves to the last-minute deals that are seen throughout the window, the rest, well they are all part of the master plan.

The ideal situation is to get deals done fast and early. Arsenal did just that securing Swiss star Granit Xhaka BEFORE Euro 2016. They know he's a good player so the last thing they wanted was for him to be lost after a good tournament. 


New Arsenal player Granit Xhaka

Managers however and chairman are people, the transfer bug can sometimes affect them too. Rational thought processes are thrown out of the window as the 'what if' factor takes grip. Football being what it is, generally a risk reward landscape, that done last minute deal could be the genius master stroke that turns a season around.

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