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Football clubs to rethink transfer market

26 May, 2020 - 00:05 0 Views

The Herald

LONDON. — Around Europe, football is waking up from the coronavirus shutdown, but it is different to before for players and supporters and it is changing behind the scenes too.

While the German Bundesliga returns in stadiums devoid of fans, the sport is preparing for an economic crisis which will impact all levels of the game.

That will be particularly visible in the transfer market, where it has become the norm to see leading clubs splash out €100 million fees.

Damien Comolli has observed events from afar having left his role at Turkish club Fenerbahce in January.

The ex-Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur sporting director said he foresees fees dropping by “between 30 and 50 percent compared to the usual prices, and a reduction of 70-75 percent in terms of activity.”

In particular, the loss to clubs from matchday revenue as a result of games being played behind closed doors will impact budgets.

When it comes to signing players, those in charge of recruitment at clubs have also simply not been able to do their jobs.

“The biggest part of my job is following up on targets for the next transfer windows,” says Martyn Glover, head of scouting and recruitment at English Premier League side Southampton.

Scouts usually spend much of their time clocking up road and air miles to watch prospective signings in action.

“I would expect to be abroad every week at some point,” says Glover, who previously worked at Everton.

“I might fly to Paris to watch PSG and then the next day to Germany to watch somebody else. My week would probably be three or four live games of football.”

Robert McKenzie has a similar a role at Belgian second-tier outfit Leuven, who in 2017 were taken over by King Power, the Thai owners of Leicester City.

Usually he would be on the road watching up to 20 games a month, eyeing up targets.

“The current situation obviously has significant implications for what has historically been the most important part of the process: the assessment of players in live games,” he tells AFP.

However, he acknowledges that the shutdown has afforded him the luxury of time to take stock and assess options.

Even clubs lower down may emerge stronger. That includes Leuven, although they must await the outcome of a play-off in August to see which division they will be in next season.

“I think there may be opportunities that arise for us as a club as a result of the current situation which were previously thought not possible,” insists McKenzie. — AFP.

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