Transfer Deadline Day: How it works from the perspective of a manager, a player and an agent

Transfer Deadline Day: How it works from the perspective of a manager, a player and an agent

by Emily Smith
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Carroll had scored 11 goals in 2010-11 for Newcastle before joining LiverpoolTransfer deadline day has become a biannual staple of the football calendar. It is a day when the high-octane drama of a football match can be recreated without the action, and the same emotional highs and lows achieved.

But it can also be filled with upheaval and worry, changing real lives very quickly. So what is the day itself actually like? BBC Sport asked three people with three very different perspectives to find out.

‘It was a really, really tough day’ – the managerFormer Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew

Alan Pardew admits 31 January 2011 “scarred” him. Less than two months into his reign as Newcastle United manager, he was confronted by something he’d hoped to avoid.

Liverpool and Tottenham had been bidding for 21-year-old England striker Andy Carroll throughout the day but, after the sale of Fernando Torres to Chelsea, the Reds needed a partner for another arrival, Luis Suarez, and came in with a huge offer of £35m.

Newcastle, who didn’t appear in genuine danger of relegation, couldn’t turn it down. But there was no time to react.

“We were adamant in the morning that Liverpool wouldn’t get to a value we’d accept,” Pardew recalls. “Then I got a phone call to say a strong bid had come in, above Andy’s market value.

“The board’s decision was he was going to go and that was a massive blow to me because we didn’t have time to replace him. We were only just good enough with him in the team. It was a really, really tough day.”

Speculation over Carroll’s future had intensified in the final week and Pardew admits there was a sense of unease within the club.

“The players and the staff were all aware of the situation. It adds a different tension,” adds Pardew. “We had nothing with Andy because it was so late in the day. We knew the player was adamant he wanted to go and the fee was over his value.

“We were hoping we could get through to the summer and use the money to grow the club. But the fans weren’t going to see that for five months. Every question I got after was ‘are you going to get the Andy Carroll money?’ until the end of the year, but we came to the conclusion there wasn’t much we could do.

“The transfer deadline can offer a lot of opportunities and people make decisions that trigger other decisions. That is why it gets really busy.”

Upson cost West Ham £7.5m but got injured on his debut’It was a disaster’ – the playerFormer West Ham defender, Matthew Upson

Matthew Upson completed a deadline-day move from Birmingham City to West Ham in January 2007, and it all happened so quickly he didn’t even have his boots with him.

“It was a lot, to be fair,” Upson admits. “I’d played for Birmingham in the midweek and I got everything sorted on the Thursday, leaving only the Friday to train and then we were away at Aston Villa, so you are on the bus to the hotel.”

The Hammers’ new owners spent big in the winter to try to help the team up the table with relegation looming over Alan Curbishley’s side. Upson was their sixth signing of the window after a protracted departure from St Andrew’s.

“Any move like that, they are late notice,” he adds. “You get a phone call and just jump in your car. Everything is a bit up in the air. I got injured in the first game, I think the preparation I’d had for the game wasn’t good, it was a disaster, I felt awful.

“You’ve just signed for a club who are in a bit of a sticky situation, they’ve paid good money and you are laying about on a treatment table.”

Ultimately, Carlos Tevez’s final-day heroics at Manchester United saved West Ham, but the whirlwind nature of his arrival arguably cost Upson. The centre-back says: “I was stuck in the flat, I was renting having just moved in, my foot in the air, just anxious [watching that game]. It was one of the worst few months I’ve had.”

‘Deals can collapse because of the family element’ – the agentJohn Print, owner of Sprint MG agency

John Print, who has clients all over the world, often tries to avoid the uncertainty of deadline day, but the very nature of the market means that cannot always be the case.

“It is a game of moving parts and you don’t know what can happen,” Print says. “From a player’s perspective, you don’t want to be relying on a deadline-day move. But clubs could identify your player on a list of five on 1 January and by the end of the window they could be number one.”

Because he looks to help players build their careers, Print is wary of the human aspect of transfers, having seen deals hinge on emotional issues.

“Some agents try to engineer moves for their players, I wouldn’t do that,” he adds. “It isn’t about spur-of-the-moment decisions to get another pay day.

“It depends on the individual. We’d go through the pros and cons. Does that player have a family? Would they be willing to be without them for a few months? Players have to realise that contracts can mean security so they’ll need a positive attitude to make it work. But if the club really wants you, there is the potential to get a better deal on deadline day.

“Sometimes deals can collapse because of the family element. The initial reaction of getting a move can be euphoria, but then reflection brings a completely different answer.”

Although it seems glamorous, transfer deadline day can prove difficult in so many ways.

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