Napoli Coach Rafa Benitez has mused on the research clubs must do to avoid being ‘at the mercy’ of agents in the game.
On from a January transfer window which saw the Vesuviani pick up Jorginho, Henrique and Faouzi Ghoulam but miss out on Etienne Capoue, their Coach has written on how clubs must prepare heading into the market.
“In Spanish, we call it a subasta – an auction – and that's what the month that's just finished can be for the managers,” Benitez has mused this week for the Independent.
“The transfer market is difficult and January is even more difficult. It's been made easier by the team of us who are working closely here at Napoli – the President Aurelio de Laurentiis, the sporting director Riccardo Bigon and me, working, talking, working together in the last days of the market – but it's still a difficult time.
“It's an auction because clubs like to find different ways of building up the price for the player of theirs who you are trying to buy.”
Benitez commented further on Napoli’s activity last month.
“One of the important parts for us here at Napoli is finding good value in the market. We are all talking and thinking about Financial Fair Play – planning for the future as well as for now, which is one of the reasons why we have bought a 23-year-old, Faouzi Ghoulam, and a 27-year-old – our new centre-back Henrique, who can also play in midfield.
“When you don't have big money, like us, but are still looking for players to get the balance of the squad right, it is also useful to have secrecy.
“The agents always like to say that "this club is interested, that club is interested", in their player – and when the information is out there in the media that helps the agents too. As managers we like to monitor players and move quickly.
“That is how it was when we bought the first of the new three players whom we added in January – Jorginho, a midfielder with real quality. We saw him and got it sorted quickly, after our team of three had agreed on the characteristics of the players we wanted.
“The good value was a very important factor for a club like Napoli and I think it is the same reason why we are see quite a lot of loan deals now, with Fulham players like Adel Taarabt and Dimitar Berbatov moving and Lacina Traoré being the latest player to arrive at Everton on loan, from Monaco. I saw figures that showed the number of loan deals in the Premier League were up by January, to make 41 per cent of all new deals, compared with 29 per cent last winter.
“In Serie A the rise was also big – 76 per cent of transfers were loans. There are specific reasons for that. Firstly, the acquiring club can get to know the player and see if he will adapt to the style of the team.
“Secondly, the "releasing" club – if we can call it that – loses the wages. We've seen an economic crisis which affects the ability of clubs to spend, in some of the continental countries.
“I know there has been talk about austerity economics in England and elsewhere and we can say that loans are an idea for times of austerity.”