How Southampton signed Harwood-Bellis and Fraser via TransferRoom
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Success Stories
How Southampton signed Harwood-Bellis and Fraser via TransferRoom
by Jack Hyom

Watch their Head of Scouting Operations explain how the online marketplace allowed them to beat the competition and instantly see the Man City and Newcastle loanees’ availability.

Taylor's a player we've liked for a long time. We always thought he might be available but we never thought he'd be available to us. So when he was pitched to us, we were really excited straight away. We could connect with Manchester City and get a deal done.
Sam Stanton
Head of Scouting Operations, Southampton FC

After getting relegated from the Premier League in the 2022-23 season, Southampton FC knew that the following Summer Transfer Window would be crucial.

Southampton negotiated fees of around €180m as they moved on a number of their players and recorded a net profit of €160m in the 2023 Summer Transfer Window, more than any other club worldwide. So investing in quality signings and smart transfer business was pivotal as they targeted an instant return to England’s top flight.

This is the story of two of those key signings - Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Ryan Fraser - and how they used TransferRoom’s revolutionary online marketplace to instantly connect with the right people and reliably see their availability and exactly what the parent clubs were looking for.

 

‘We didn’t think he’d be available to us’

 

After winning the English Championship with Burnley and the UEFA European Under-21 Championship as England’s captain, Harwood-Bellis was in high demand in the transfer market.

The defender, who had been on loan from Manchester City, had his sights set on achieving his dream of playing in the Premier League as a first-team starter away from the champions of England.

Harwood-Bellis had long been on the radar of Southampton and they thought he would be available in the following Summer Transfer Window, but not to them. 

But that all changed when Man City’s decision makers offered him to Southampton on TransferRoom. 

After Man City’s pitch, Saints could instantly see that Harwood-Bellis was available to them, and what the club and player’s expectations were financially and in the level of club they were targeting. 

The result: Harwood-Bellis joined Southampton on a season-long loan, with a £20million option to buy if Saints secured promotion in that campaign. 

Southampton’s Head of Scouting Operations, Sam Stanton of the club’s ownership group, Sport Republic, said in the video below: “Taylor's a player we've liked for a long time. Speaking to different people, we always thought he might be available but we never thought he'd be available to us.

“So when he was pitched to us, we were really excited straight away. We could connect with Manchester City and get a deal done.

 

Video: How Saints signed Harwood-Bellis and Fraser



“When you've got a system that tells you ‘Yes, the player's available. This is what we want for him. This is the deal that you can do the player on,’ it's perfect for us. It just simplifies things so much.”

Harwood-Bellis said in the video: “I knew it was going to be a big step in my career of where I was going to go and how it was going to get me to where I want to be in the next five years.

“I felt like I was ready to play the Premier league and I know that no one's just going to walk into the best league in the world. 

“I played in the Championship last year, but I had no feeling of, ‘Oh, I was taking a step backwards in coming to Southampton.’ It's a Premier League club. The aim was to get to the Premier League and I want to play there for the team that I want to be on and suits me. And the manager has to be the right one. I felt like this was perfect.”

 

Fraser adds PL experience

 

The Harwood-Bellis deal was not the only key loan move that Southampton used TransferRoom for in the 2023 Summer Transfer Window. They turned to world football’s digital marketplace, which is home to more than 700 clubs and 450 agencies in transfer market, for the signing of Fraser. 

Fraser was in a different mould, aged 29 and seeking first-team football after having limited game time at Newcastle United, at the end of a seven-year spell in the Premier League which started at AFC Bournemouth.

The deal indicates the ability for clubs to target players of all levels of experience on the TransferRoom platform.

“We look mostly at young players,” Stanton added. “So a player like Ryan Fraser, we don't spend loads of time on, but we knew Fraser from playing against him over the years in the Premier League. So when he becomes available, it becomes a decision.

“We needed to sign a little bit more experience to add to our team. So when you get offered experienced players like that, we can then put it through our process and say, ‘Yeah, he's perfect for us’.”

Fraser added: “I never really went through my career without playing so that, I don't know, two to three months or God knows how long it was, was always difficult. It was fundamental for me to go and enjoy football again, not just play it but enjoy it.

“So, when I got the phone call from Russell [Martin], the manager himself to come down, I just got on a plane straight away and this club, the staff, everyone, the fans, obviously it was the perfect place to try and help them achieve what they want to achieve as a goal.”

 

First in line for two key signings

 

For Stanton and Southampton, TransferRoom allowed them to beat the competition for Harwood-Bellis and Fraser, through receiving pitches from the parent clubs’ decision makers and the instant access to player availability on the platform.

“It gave us an opportunity to be first in line,” Stanton said. “We saw it happen straight away: the players we wanted became available on TransferRoom. We managed to make an early call because we saw it so early.

“The players we thought might become available and we were waiting for sort of phone calls. But as soon as it came up on TransferRoom, we could then make the phone call to try and get a deal done. So it was really important.”

 

Clubs, get ahead of the competition and take your transfer business to the next level by joining TransferRoom here.

 

No limits to level of players you can sign

 

The two loan deals are among a series of success stories for Southampton on TransferRoom, including the €14million signing of Carlos Alcaraz from Racing Club in Argentina. 

Watch the full inside story on the deal here, with Alcaraz, Stanton and Alcaraz’s agent, Sebastian Lopez, of TransferRoom Trusted Agency Insua & Rol Sports Group.

 

 

It’s further indication of the platform’s importance in the club’s transfer strategy, with Stanton adding: “We use TransferRoom right from top to bottom. We use it to bring high profile players in and we use it to move high profile players on.

“We use the platform as much as we can. I don't see any limit on what we can get out of it, whether it's moving an Under-19 player on loan or whether it's buying a player for multi-million pounds, we can use it for everything.”

 

Agents, gain instant access to the key people at over 700 clubs worldwide and get your best deals by becoming a TransferRoom Trusted Agent here.

 

See the Expected Transfer Value career history, resale value and Player Ratings of Harwood-Bellis, Fraser, Alcaraz and thousands of other players through our new Player Profiles, plus much more.

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