Brighton's Weir: Loans the short-term solution to a longer-term problem
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Best Practice
Brighton's Weir: Loans the short-term solution to a longer-term problem
by Jonathan Rest

David Weir, Brighton and Hove Albion's Pathway Development Manager, has hailed TransferRoom for the immediacy in which clubs can use the loan market to fill an immediate need in their squad.

We are continually having conversations and monitoring TransferRoom for whether there may be an immediate need for a club in terms of a position where we feel we have a player that needs to go out on loan.
David Weir
Pathway Development Manager, Brighton and Hove Albion

For Weir, getting players to the right coach at the right club at the right time is critical.

 

He told the TransferRoom Virtual Summit in March: “We are continually building up a database of clubs we know. We feel like we are giving players to coaches and staff and environments... So it’s important that we understand the philosophy. We are having conversations with people at clubs to find out what’s going on, to monitor leagues and players and teams to see how they are faring.”

He continued: “TransferRoom is very helpful in terms of giving us access to a wide variety of information on clubs who loan players, who don’t loan players, on the make up of squads, maybe some gaps that we feel they have and that they feel they have that they then advertise on the system. 

“We are continually having conversations and monitoring TransferRoom for whether there may be an immediate need for a club in terms of a position where we feel we have a player that needs to go out on loan.”

The Pitch

While Weir is well-connected - he has “lots of conversations, lots of messages, lots of phone calls” with people in the game about players - the ability to target multiple clubs in one go has proven a vital tool.

“The Super Pitches and the Plus Pitches at TransferRoom have become very important,” Weir said. “You can target clubs that may be realistic options for your player. We try to do our work well so we are making those pitches sensibly, whether it’s a Super Pitch to a smaller number of clubs whereby we can offer them a player that can fill a need for them. 

“If we can get that right, then very quickly a deal can happen. So it’s important to be on TransferRoom constantly and be aware of what is going on in leagues and what the needs of clubs are.”

Everyone’s a winner

For Weir, for Brighton, all parties “must win” from a loan deal and that starts with clear communication from day one.

“We have to offer clubs something they do not have internally or cannot get externally because of costs or wages. It’s a short-term solution we feel to a longer-term problem,” he told summit delegates.

“The club we are loaning to must be happy with the player - he must be better than what they’ve got and have a good chance of playing. We must be happy with the level that the player will get a development both on and off the pitch that will enable him to hopefully play for us one day, and the player has to improve, enjoy the environment he’s working in and be at a competitive level to challenge him, push him and make him better.”

Ben White, Brighton’s young centre-back, is the “best example” of a successful loan system, Weir explained.

The 23-year-old has been a regular in the Brighton first team this season, after three consecutive seasons on loan in League Two, League One and then the Championship, where he helped Leeds win promotion to the Premier League last year.

Weir said: “We were involved in the process in terms of picking the clubs and helping Ben when he was out on loan, but the credit for the success goes to Ben. When we loan a player to a club we tell the player, ‘you’re there to help the club, the club is not there to help you.’ That’s a really important message for us. They’ve got to fit into what the club wants from them and then perform on the pitch when they get the opportunity. Ben is a really good example of that.”

The Brexit factor

Brighton’s recruitment strategy has always been to stay ahead of the curve, invest in players earlier in their development and then use the loan market to provide the stepping stone to the first team.

While that strategy remains intact, Brexit has added an extra layer of complication.

 

Weir explained: “There are certain restrictions but TransferRoom has the GBE calculator now which really helps us. 

“We have been aware of the restrictions for maybe 18 months now, so we've tried to plan ahead by getting some good young talent into the building already and developing them. We’ve just got to be aware of the rules, conform to those rules and try to use them as best we can.

“Loans are an important aspect for us in terms of getting players early in the process and then trying to give them an experience that will enable them to play for us. We just have to be on the ball and adapt and change to the environment.”

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