Silly Season Decoded


Falcao signs on loan to Manchester United

The transfer window, whether it is the Summer or January window is known as the silly season in football. A football novice may ask why? Well simply put, everyone goes absolutely bonkers; Fans, Managers, Players (and their families), agents and let’s not forget the media. Its multiple months of speculation about who is going where for how much.

Fans rabidly clamor for all the latest news – mostly conjecture and absolute lies made up by the media to sell whatever it is they sell. This crazed demand for news has lead to a proliferation of blogs, websites, social media pages, TV, radio and print media dedicated only to transfer information. These media¬† sources conjure up many “juicy stories and leads” on an hourly basis, sending fans on an emotional roller coaster ride. In the end, most fans are left high and dry. However, once the news train rolls into the station again, its All Aboard! When you think about it, transfers and porn go hand in hand.

Maybe if we knew what actually went into making a transfer happen, it would temper some of the emotions. I myself have gotten into fits of rage over transfers often saying “Just buy him! We have the money!” Alas, it’s not that simple my friends. So, lets look at the basic steps required to bring that game changer to your club.


Clubs will employ scouting networks to search the globe for the best available talent. In some cases, the scouting process can take a few months up to years. The process is tedious and ongoing. In the end clubs would have gathered a database of players for various positions, outlining the strengths and weaknesses of each. Once the player becomes available, the race is on because as you might have guessed, your club isn’t the only one watching.


Once a club decides on a target, they must approach the selling club and the player. This can prove to be the trickiest part of the process and will require some deft skills on the part of the buying club and the agents. In some cases the buying club needs permission to speak to the player or his agent. In these cases “middle men” are used to seek information on how likely it is for the transfer to take place and at what fee. Buying clubs, especially the big ones will want to avoid the embarrassment of a “tapping up” scandal.


With all information acquired and tapping up scandals avoided, the buying club goes to work negotiating with the player, agent and selling club. As you might have guessed, this can be the most agonizing part of the whole deal..ask Gareth Bale. The buying club must agree a fee with the selling club, personal terms with the player and his agent’s fees. It can get more complicated when the matter of buyouts, bonuses and image rights comes in…and ugh…the sleazy agent’s ego fees. The good news is that a transfer rarely ever falls through at this point.


By this time in most high profile transfers, the media would have been providing minute by minute commentaries on an impending move. The fans will be either chuffed to pieces (Falcao to United) or deflated as hell (Welbeck to Arsenal). Either way, everyone is just waiting too see the superstar in their team’s colors. But wait, there’s more! The medical has to be done. This is the most nerve-wracking part for players, fans and clubs. It requires a no-holds-barred, grueling check on the player’s health…and the club or player may have nary a clue of what the findings will be. This process can take more than a day and a seemingly great deal can be scuppered with one check mark on a clipboard (Remy – Liverpool)


After the player is deemed fit, the player then signs to the club. However the deal is not done until all documents are filed with the requisite associations and the transfer registered. One can imagine that this can also be a time consuming process with English clubs still using fax machines to send documents in. From here, its party time for the fans. Let the social media fun begin!

Hopefully, this helped to shed some light on transfers. Click here to see ESPN’s infographic for more information.