Football clubs forced to rethink recruitment strategy

PARIS (AFP) – Around Europe, football is waking up from the coronavirus shutdown, but it is different to before for players and supporters and it is changing behind the scenes too.

While the German Bundesliga returns in stadiums devoid of fans, the sport is preparing for an economic crisis which will impact all levels of the game.

That will be particularly visible in the transfer market, where it has become the norm to see leading clubs splash out EUR100 million fees.

Damien Comolli has observed events from afar having left his role at Turkish club Fenerbahce in January.

The ex-Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur sporting director told AFP he foresees fees dropping by “between 30 and 50 per cent compared to the usual prices, and a reduction of 70-75 per cent in terms of activity.”

In particular, the loss to clubs from matchday revenue as a result of games being played behind closed doors will impact budgets.

When it comes to signing players, those in charge of recruitment at clubs have also simply not been able to do their jobs.

“The biggest part of my job is following up on targets for the next transfer windows,” said Martyn Glover, head of scouting and recruitment at English Premier League side Southampton.

Scouts usually spend much of their time clocking up road and air miles to watch prospective signings in action.