One of our key things is to be really creative and show excellence in player trading. Obviously communication is a key part of player trading both for incoming and outgoing players. So success for us is to invest in a system like TransferRoom that allows us to improve communication, and therefore move quicker and more efficiently in the transfer market.
Calculating player eligibility...fast
Trying to find value in the transfer market requires a strong scouting department and a creative mind.
But for English clubs in a post-Brexit world, on-the-spot information is equally as crucial as they seek new signings that will get a Governing Body Endorsement (work permit).
Frustrated by market tools that failed to deliver, Blackburn Rovers turned to TransferRoom for accurate data and direct access to club decision makers.
Gregg Broughton, Director of Football at Blackburn Rovers, explains: “What we were finding during the summer window for the two or three players that we looked at from outside of the UK was not enough consistency or reliability in the various different GBE points platforms we were testing.
“Most of the players we will be shopping for will be sitting in those grey areas [close to getting a work permit or not] - we are unlikely to go and buy a player from a top La Liga team or Bundesliga team who has been playing in the Champions League and has absolutely blown the points out of the park - so we have to have clarity.
“Otherwise you spend a lot of time and effort searching and looking into a player when ultimately if they don’t qualify for GBE points that is a complete waste of time and energy.
“The speed and accuracy of the GBE Calculator was a key part of the TransferRoom platform that we were attracted to.”
Growing contacts on the continent
Broughton joined Blackburn in June 2022 from Norwegian club FK Bodø/Glimt, where he had been Academy Director.
In his first transfer window in charge, six players were signed: five from within England, with Clinton Mola, on loan from Stuttgart, being the exception.
The focus going forward is to target potential new signings from the continent and beyond. Knowing their eligibility is one thing, knowing their availability is another. For that direct access to fellow decision makers in more than 650 clubs in over 60 counties will be crucial.
“One of our key things is to be really creative and show excellence in player trading,” says Broughton. “Obviously communication is a key part of player trading both for incoming and outgoing players. So success for us is to invest in a system like TransferRoom that allows us to improve communication, and therefore move quicker and more efficiently in the transfer market.”
Broughton (r) with Blackburn Rovers CEO Steve Waggott
He continues: “It’s important to have really detailed market knowledge of several markets rather than trying to have blanket knowledge of lots of different markets. We have to become experts in some markets and accept that in some markets we are not experts. But that doesn’t mean you cannot shop in those, you just have to heavily research specific players and build your contacts.
“What I think TransferRoom allows us to do, especially outside the UK, is reach those decision makers very easily and of course allow those same decision makers to reach us very easily if there's a player of interest that we have made available here at Blackburn Rovers.”
Perfecting the loan pitch
With Broughton’s academy experience in Norway and new Blackburn Head of Recruitment Gus Williams having been National Talent ID Manager for Wales for the past decade, there is understandably a focus on youth at the club and making sure development paths are well established.
“For a club focusing heavily on youth development, the loans market is really important for us, and by that I mean having more targeted loans for our players,” Broughton adds.
“Sometimes in the past clubs have been guilty of relying on contacts for players to go out on loan or just saying yes to the first club that has come in and let a player go. The club requirements information on the platform will allow us to be a lot more deliberate and constructive in terms of how we design that loan.
“There are various different factors that go into the success of a loan: the history of the club and the manager; the style of football that club play; the character of the player and whether they fit in with living far away from home. If you have identified a set of key clubs that fulfil that criteria for any specific player, then TransferRoom obviously allows us to pitch that player or speak directly to that club in a very straightforward way.”