The impact of Covid 19 on the Soccer transfermarket

It came in silence. It surprised and affected all of us directly or indirectly. Affected all the industries and the soccer industry was not different. The Covid 19 crisis probably will dictate and it came to show that many aspects in the soccer industry were camouflaged and were based on weak foundations or even nonexistent ones. There was no emergency plan for a situation like this and even the biggest clubs have been affected.

Player careers are at risk,  many clubs survive also, transfer fees will be necessarily adjusted and this transfer window is still uncertain in many aspects and probably will dictate many things for the future.

One thing is for sure, there will be a society, a world and a soccer industry pre-covid and another one after it.

In terms of transfers, it affected the deadlines, players contracts that had to be extended in order to finish the competition, scouts that couldn’t watch players live to deliver the final verdict, top players market value that dropped down significantly, uncertainty on club structures, staff and budgets that condition the decision making.

Maybe we will see clubs looking more deeply at their academies and to the players that are already part of the club giving more opportunities to those same players. In many cases, especially in countries that are “sellers” all this has a direct effect and a direct connection with the country’s economy which is equally affected by it.

This transfer window and next season in its entirety can be vital for many clubs and will reflect the assertiveness of their plans or in many cases can lead clubs to ruin if not well planned. It’s a reflection time for each club, to outline a strategy, a philosophy and an identity like it should be done, but like usually we say, better late than never.

As it is obvious in any crisis the ones that will “suffer” less are the ones with big structures, the richest clubs, as in soccer the principles and procedures are the same as in the global economy. The economy is the same for soccer, for a country, for any kind of industry or even for each single one of us.

Now more than ever it makes even more sense to be assertive on the decisions especially on the players recruitment that it is one of the most crucial aspects for a club as players are one in not the bigger actives inside the structure as it’s them to lead a club to success and also the ones can multiply exponentially their market value, allowing in many cases clubs to have a future and don’t go bankrupt as we could see on the news by the number of clubs in risk of that happening, including clubs from the top 5 leagues in Europe.

Every single event or catastrophe that happens in an unexpected way, for as many negative aspects that it can bring, invariably has the reverse of the coin and specially makes us think, change strategies and be better prepared for the future. What may not seem important today may be crucial tomorrow, and the ones that are better prepared are always the least affected after the storm settles down.

At the moment it is still premature to know the exact impact of Covid 19 on soccer’s future, as we don’t know this “storm” evolution, when it will disappear or even the collateral damages that will cause, but for sure, in regards to players transfers it will affect it, but it can be a good way as it can have a turn around of the philosophy adopted by the majority of the clubs, from amount of transfers vs players quality.

Assertiveness only comes with organisation, maybe it’s time to invest less in a bunch of uncertain players and invest more in good recruitment, on developing the players that are already part of the structure, and not just sign players that are no better than the ones that are already part of the club.

I will leave this open for reflection and hope that the core of the sport, soccer in particular, that is passion and values to stay intact and returns to its true essence.

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Nuno Milheiro
Nuno Milheiro is an experienced Soccer Scout with previous experiences as FC Porto youth teams scout, he was also the Head of Scouting and Co-founder at Athleads and FC Felgueiras 1932 Chief scout. He is currently International Scout for the German Club SpVgg Greuther Fürth and Partnerships Manager at Soccer HUB!

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