Any transfer market is always going to be extremely competitive so it’s important for a club to try and give themselves an edge to not only get their first choice targets, but at a fair and solid value price.
Swansea and Newcastle United are examples of two clubs that have looked outside England, focusing on particular markets in other countries in order to pick up players who will improve their sides.
Swansea have dipped into the Spanish transfer market recently and a large part of that is down to their manager, Michael Laudrup, who enjoyed a good playing career in Spanish football.
It’s natural for Swansea to look at that market because of the friends and contacts Laudrup has in the country, which allows him to centralise and focus Swansea’s scouting efforts.
The Swans have picked up a couple of very decent players this season, with Michu being the obvious best piece of business, as they signed him from Rayo Vallecano in a deal worth £2 million and brought in Jonathan de Guzman on a loan deal.
Newcastle by contrast have raided the French transfer market over the last couple of seasons, which has given them a great squad of players, who can all communicate and gel well.
Alan Pardew has spent a long time focusing on the French market which has allowed him to bring in a high volume of players for the same amount of cash that many clubs will spend on a single signing.
The main benefit of focusing efforts in one particular market is that, this will give you a greater knowledge of players in that area, increasing the chances that a player can be picked up for a lower fee, when judging by modern standards he’s actually worth a lot more.
It also allows clubs a quick route in if one of the bigger players from that particular country becomes available. The biggest names often have many suitors which means any sort of advantage a club can get based on past dealings or contacts, could be the difference between signing someone and missing out.
It’s important to consider the point of this in context because while Swansea and Newcastle are both well respected and established clubs, neither are mega global clubs on the same level as Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and so on.
Bigger clubs will always go after bigger signings and they have the resources to pay the biggest fees so this sort of approach is only going to be effective for clubs, which aren’t yet at that level.
What do you make of Swansea and Newcastle’s approach?
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