What I like on TransferRoom is you get the whole package - the availability, starting price, analysis on the data, if he fits our profile, the player’s financial demands. I know immediately whether that player will work for us. The information is vital. We cannot afford to waste time.
From Slovan to Sparta
Winning all of their last three matches, and four of their last six, ensured that Sparta Rotterdam stayed in the Eredivisie against the odds.
One of the keys to their survival was Joeri de Kamps, a near ever-present since his January arrival on loan, bringing much-needed experience and control to the centre of Sparta’s midfield.
A former Ajax youth player, de Kamps had disappeared off the radar of Eredivisie clubs since leaving NAC Breda for Slovan Bratislava in Slovakia in 2016.
TransferRoom’s ability to supply decision-makers at more than 650+ clubs with fast, reliable information soon put the 30-year-old on a flight back home.
Nijkamp (pictured at a TransferRoom Summit, left, with Head of Scouting Jesper Gudde) explains: “We were looking for a holding midfielder. We had our own list and we were pitching that position on TransferRoom a lot. A few hours later we got something back from Slovan Bratislava about Joeri de Kamps.
"He was not on our radar, and that is not a failure of my scouting team; there’s only 24 hours in a day. Of course you may miss something. That is the added value of TransferRoom. ‘Yes! Joeri de Kamps. Where is he now? Ah, Slovan Bratislava’.
“What I like on TransferRoom is you get the whole package - the availability, starting price, analysis on the data, if he fits our profile, the player’s financial demands. I know immediately whether that player will work for us. The information is vital. We cannot afford to waste time.”
Sparta Rotterdam and Slovan Bratislava connected on TransferRoom for the loan signing of Joeri de Kamps
A TransferRoom hat-trick
The signing of de Kamps came in the same month that Nijkamp started work at Sparta. One of the Dutch executive’s first actions at the club was to sign up to TransferRoom, having used the platform when he was Director of Football at PEC Zwolle and then General Manager of FC Cincinnati in Major League Soccer.
The hat-trick TransferRoom user says: “At Sparta, we have little financial resources to get a complete scouting department in place. Of course you build your own network year-by-year, but it's your own network and I also have only 24 hours in the day.
"TransferRoom has always helped me a lot to grow that and in addition I can bring my colleagues from Sparta into the same environment. It is so beneficial, a win-win situation. The first thing I was asking in Sparta Rotterdam was, ‘Do we have TransferRoom?’”
Build from the academy up
With a fourth successive season to look forward to in the top division, Nijkamp and his recruitment team, including Gudde, who joined at a similar time from analytics company Sci Sports, where he was Manager of Football, can focus on Phase 2 of their Sparta project.
Nijkamp explains: “We know we need to be more sustainable, to have a clear vision and stick to it. We need to stay in the Eredivisie every year, and then it’s about getting youngsters through the academy.”
Denzel Dumfries, Kevin Strootman, Marten de Roon, Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum; it’s not the latest Netherlands squad, but a sample of Sparta academy graduates.
Nijkamp adds: “Sparta has a great history of producing talents through the academy into the first team and becoming internationals. We want to bring that back. Over the last few years we have still done it a little bit, but it must be more consistent.
“Yes there is competition, of course, because Feyenoord is in the same city, but we are on the west side of the country and the population is big. Our catchment area is huge, so there’s a big talent pool. We have a great opportunity if we do things right to get the best players… Our brand as Sparta Rotterdam, the oldest club in the Netherlands, is very, very strong and that helps us recruit players in our area.
“There must be a vision and strategy behind it, a business model or ecosystem, whatever you want to call it: get better players with more value into your first team, so you can sell them and reinvest into the academy.”
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