What can contractors and recruiters learn from Transfer Deadline Day?

1st February 2018

Article written by:

Chris from iContract

A record breaking £150 million was spent yesterday by Premier League football clubs on January deadline day – an event in the football calendar that is always met with huge excitement and brings guaranteed drama. Outlay for the whole January transfer window came to £430 million with a great deal of clubs doing their business early on, with others waiting till the wire to conclude deals.

Although the amount of money in the football industry, particularly in wages, dwarfs the numbers in recruitment and contracting – there are definite lessons to be learnt from the transfer window’s activity, that can be adopted by contractors, and even recruiters.

Don’t leave it too late

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is always known for getting a good last minute deal with their recent acquisition of Brazil’s Lucas Moura. With Levy’s strong negotiation tactic of approaching a club keen to sell with a take it or leave it offer at the 11th hour, this has proved effective in allowing Levy to get the deal that suits him.

As effective as this can be for the North London side, it is not a tactic we would highly encourage as a contractor. You can of course have some time to ponder over what contract deal you’ve been handed by an employer or recruiter, but stringing out a deal for as long as you can won’t always go down well. As keen as they may be to have you on board as a contractor, there is always the strong possibility that they can find someone else. As unique and in demand as a candidate you may think you are, there could be someone waiting in the wings to take your contract if you dither on your offer for too long and leave it too late. Remember the beauty of hiring contractors is the flexibility it gives you and the admin burden it takes away.

Be clear on what you want

Deals and activity in the transfer window have usually been initiated by players stating that they want to leave or a club boldly announcing they are in the hunt for a particular player. With this, we can see deal activity escalate quickly or become dead in the water, usually this can be over what a player is looking for in terms of wage, and also what a club is willing to pay.

As a contractor or recruiter, it’s best to be clear from the start what you’re ideally looking for. There is of course room to negotiate a little bit, but both parties will appreciate knowing where they stand with each other and whether a deal on a contract is possible, or is a complete non-starter.

Weigh up your options

Players can get many offers from different clubs to dwell on, likewise clubs might have the option on a number of players to buy. Despite this plethora of choice, any type of transfer might not be as simple as it seems. There are varying reasons a transfer may not go ahead, and both parties having the benefit of choice can be a primary reason for this. A club may think they have adequate cover for a certain type of player, or a player may even be happy with their current situation.

As a contractor, you might be lucky enough to have a number of contract offers to choose from. You’re well within your right to weigh up your contract options. See if they tick all your boxes and meet certain expectations you have; career development, contract length, day rate, etc. It could be that your current position might not need you to rush in to a contract and your current offers might not just be what you’re after. Whatever choice you make, ensure it’s right for you.

Assess market rates

Where the current transfer market in football has been blown out of proportion slightly when looking at player wages and player values, there is still a measure of sensible rationale approached to transfer activity. In this window we recently saw a deal for Leicester City play-maker Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City fall through over a breakdown in value between the two clubs, with Leicester slapping a £95 million value on the player – £30 million more than what City were willing to pay – with Man City manager Pep Guardiola’s response being that despite the club’s riches, they were not the richest in the world.

As a contractor or recruiter, it’s always wise to keep abreast of the market’s day rates to know if you’re charging the right amount to clients, or getting your money’s worth when employing contractors. Being clear on day rates and not being miles apart in terms of valuation will ensure a speedier and more productive hiring process for both parties.

Are you looking for your next big contract? Register with iContract for free at and engage with an interactive community, and search and apply for your next contract today!

Fancy investing in iContract? Our Seedrs campaign is now live at WWW.SEEDRS.COM/ICONTRACT