In two months, soccer's neural connections, like those of society, have mutated, forced by the global impact of coronavirus. At the beginning of March it was normal for some of the big clubs to consider spending 100 million for a player. And now? The stoppage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the closed-door meetings and their economic consequences in the big european leagues will have a direct effect on the next transfer markets: It will lower the value of the players and will force the teams to look for talent in their quarry. “Ethically, who is going to pay 70 million now for a transfer?”, reflects this newspaper Manel Ferrer, a FIFA agent with long experience who, like so many other colleagues, face an unknown situation. Today, representatives of soccer players and team managers are navigating amidst a rough sea of uncertainties. And that, at least, the times of LaLiga, with that June 12 as an alleged shore, they appear more clearly.
Between the dilemmas, a date and a question keep many people on edge: What will happen from June 30? “We are waiting to see what the legislation will be for footballers who end their contracts. Know if there will be a common order via UEFA. It is the date that worries the most»Says Antonio Sanz, from the Bahía Internacional agency. In European football there are a good handful of names that do not have their future tied up from July 1. Among them, for example, Pedro Rodriguez, world champion with Spain and Chelsea player. It is just one of many cases, since, in addition, there are players whose transfer has the same expiration date. “Today, an agent or manager who is able to say 'this is going to happen' is reckless. It is a period of great uncertainty due to the influence of the economic impact on the value of the players, the assumptions of promotions and decreases … », reflects Víctor Orta, director of football for Leeds United.
“I would be worried”
Summer market transactions, the band of which has yet to be defined, also stagnated in March. Logically, any open process can be distorted. I would be worriedBecause it is difficult to know where the buying and selling club can go. There are transfers that can be altered. The humblest teams will not have the same financial resources, “he says. Julio Llorente, representative of Marcos Llorente, his nephew, and Luis Milla (Tenerife).
Everyone admits to having started some negotiation during the confinement, but no one has dared to close it for fear of a totally unknown future situation: «We have recently spoken and exchanged information with the sports director of Naples, also with the Attic, with Monchi, with the vice president of Betis or with Leonardo (PSG). There is talk of players and positions they want, but when it is time to take a step forward, you always find that we are all with the handbrake set in the face of uncertainty, “he adds. Álvaro Torres, general manager of football for You First in Spain. “We have tried to outline some things for when we know the stage”, he admits Emilio Vega, Alcorcón's sports director, who believes that despite the “significant decrease” in income, “in one or two seasons everything will return to normal.”
The quarry as a flag
In this scenario that everyone is talking about, economic austerity, the low number of transfers and the quarry as the base of the templates: «It is going to be a good time to reorder a market that had exploded. The quarry is going to have its chance because it will be necessary to look for raw materials “, he admits Carlos Cutropia, agent of Iker Casillas, in the Manel Ferrer line: “It looks like it is going to be a disastrous, anomalous market, with hardly any transfers.” And it is that the reduction of the income in the clubs has forced to adjust the budgets hard and is going to mark the direction in which the world of the ball moves. “At the moment, no economic operations have been estimated with a transfer price. The market is going to move depending on what happens in the major European leagues “, they point out from Bahía Internacional.
The evolution of advertising revenue it is envisioned as another key factor. Despite some revolutionary ideas, such as LaLiga's virtual advertisements in the empty stands, the losses will be in the millions: “Before, we were receiving offers of two million euros a year for advertising our shirt, and now i think we're going to have to call», Indicates a manager of one of the big European leagues.
Doubts about the end of La League, the duration of the next market window and the losses due to closed-door games center the concerns of all the protagonists: “Operations are going to be slower and the clubs are going to push,” says Álvaro Torres. «If the Bundesliga comes back and something happens… “, thinks Victor Orta, who still does not know if his Leeds, leader of the English Championship, will compete in the Premier:” We will have losses of eight million. And in case of promotion, we estimated that we would earn 45 million from the sale of tickets … They are heavy losses and we have had to kick out 90 people, humble people. It is the war of our times».
How to sign from home
At the moment, this war is being waged at a distance, from house to house and from video call to video call. And scouts and analysts work in the trenches of the teams, squeezing the viewing platforms of matches to arrive (virtually) before anyone else at their next signing. «We were already working with video, but now we were in the phase of seeing the selected ones live. That was going to give us a clearer detail, we could better analyze the physical and other variables. Right now we are working on two squads, one for the Premier and the other for the Championship, “admits Orta, Monchi's former teammate at Sevilla:” A few years ago, it was decisive to go to tournaments that were not broadcast on television. that's how we signed Perotti for Sevilla. But now there are tools that have democratized soccer, giving all teams access to many platforms for viewing and analyzing players.
Decisions are made based on what was analyzed in 'WyScout', a viewing platform for matches for which clubs pay between 500 and 1200 euros a year,'StatsBomb' and 'SciSports', from statistics, or'TransferLab', to analyze the market, emblems of that famous Big data that it was important before the virus and that with the closed door of the 'new football' it will be vital. “I can't know 2,000 players in detail because I don't have as many scouts, so I want to analyze 200 well that we have been able to filter. We look for similarities between the player's style of play and ours and we make an 'ideal eleven' of each month of each of the leagues we see ”, summarizes Orta.
And in the middle of everything, players, with an eye on infections and their contracts. The agents are focusing on advising them and clearing their economic and financial doubts (donations, ERTEs …), and some, like Emilio Vega from the modest Alcorcón, remember that in soccer «not all are Messi and Cristiano». “Many people live on this. Zero risk does not exist, but we are talking about a return to work in a sector like any other. If we want to demonstrate solidarity, this is one of the ways ».
According to the criteria of