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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Taking a broader view of transfers aids understanding

Understanding what is happening around the world with transfers is a key part of understanding transfer stories in the Premier League in relation to foreign players. Far too many fans take a simplistic view that if a chairman offers more money then a player would have been signed, which is, of course, complete nonsense in most cases.

Players and agents map out their careers, they know where they want to get to and what they have to do to get there. Simply following whoever throws the most cash at them is not the route a player who wants to get to the top takes. There are mercenaries and plenty of them, Emmanuel Adebayor is a prime example, but to get to the very top takes a dedication of purpose not dedication to the wallet.

At Tottenham, at long last, we now look at a player mentally, as Rob Mackenzie alluded to in one of his Tweets, and try to avoid money mercenaries, unless that player is a player who produces the goods. Lassana Diarra was referred to as one because he only wants to move to a club that has Champions League football, however, he produces the goods, so much so that he has made it into the French squad for the European Championships in his home country this summer.

Rob Mackenzie is Head of Player ID at Tottenham and in his first 12 months in the job he watched 146 live games of football, not one of them a game involving Tottenham. Beneath him, there are a range of scouts in various areas or countries doing the same thing. We have a specific scout for France for instance, a guy we took from Southampton, Drissa Diallo. I'd love to know the number of total games all our scouts combined watch in a year.

Southampton has since appointed two full-time scouts for France, an area they consider a hotbed of talent at the moment. We are certainly being linked with a lot from the country, hardly surprising when their football is the nearest in physicality to ours and the fact that they produce more home-grown players than other countries in Europe, at least in the top tier leagues.

To return to the point of this piece, fans must be careful not to be insular. It's a subject I have talked about with clubs towards fans not being insular, it works the other way too. if you don't have a rounded view then you're not going to see the obvious things staring you in the face, like Ousame Dembele joining Borussia Dortmund, which he has duly done on a 5-year-deal, or at least agreed until the window officially opens.


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