When a football transfer is announced—no matter the prominence of the player, the complexity of the deal or work that was put in behind the scenes—it is simplified and condensed into one meaningful indicator: the fee.
Hundreds of millions are spent every winter and summer across the globe by clubs on acquiring new players, but it’s far from the clean, crisp process a simple announcement on a club’s website or Twitter feed suggests.
Fans are far removed from the exceptionally murky world that dictates and decides the process of player movement—be it 18-year-olds leaving an academy without the first clue of where to turn, a blockbuster star who is swapping Madrid for Barcelona or a veteran nearing the end of his career looking for one final contract.
It’s not simple; there is no exclusive glossary that contains all the information a club needs in order to negotiate a deal.
This void, fortunately, is a place Droom Soccer is willing to step into. A rapidly growing platform aiming to connect young talented players, to clubs and intermediaries more efficiently, its wish is to provide transparency for the sport—a word Droom Soccer founder and CEO Akporobaro Emmanuel uses frequently when talking to BBC sport about its aims. The market is broken,” he states. “We want to connect the talent mobility chain.”
Droom Soccer has targeted two major areas that are in drastic need of revamping and improving in order to achieve its goal: eliminating the murkiness surrounding transfers (big or small) that acts as an obstacle to completing deals; and relocating promising youths who are not offered professional contracts and fall out of the loop.
While staunch commitments are being made to solve the latter over the coming months, the first issue is perhaps the more prominent; it’s the one that the public are more cognisant of.
“[Football] is a very corrupt industry,” Chief scout for Droom Soccer, Paul Robinson says. “With player trafficking, all the issues happening on the internet, rogue agents scamming players for money. We are verifying intermediaries, verifying users, providing credible contacts at clubs and educating players about their rights.”
“A player who moved from Croatia to Spain had 18 people involved in his transfer, in the chain. Two clubs, one player, 18 people involved? This is the problem. Over €1 million was spent on this transfer, but the actual fee of the player was no more than €300,000.”
This scenario involved a player moving to the lower divisions of Spain, where transactions and deals are actually among the shadiest of any country in world football, but similar problems occur far higher up the food chain, too. “We want to eliminate certain aspects some clubs are just sick of this murkiness. They want to do business in a transparent, organised arena,” Paul affirms.