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Editor's Blog

The Truth About Transfer Deals

Last Friday at 17h00, SA time, the PSL transfer window slammed shut and, as per usual, Soccer Laduma made sure that if a transfer had happened, you knew about it first. That being said, we have come in for quite a bit of stick for some of the transfers that didn’t happen, especially the Oupa Manyisa transfer to Sundowns that didn’t materialise despite the massive speculation around the move, Bongani ‘Drogba’ Ndulula’s move to Chiefs, as well as Itumeleng Khune’s situation. 
 
So lest we continue to take hits for transfers that didn’t happen, let me explain to you how it works. Only the buying and selling clubs have the luxury of announcing deals that are officially done. For them, ‘officially’ means that the ink is on all the relevant paperwork and that monies have exchanged hands and, even then, they sometimes get it wrong. The reality, however, is that before these deals become official, they are actually made way in advance. Agents agree on fees, clubs secure gentlemen’s agreements, players sign pre-contracts, handshakes are made between chairmen in back corners of fancy restaurants and hotel rooms… and it’s this hidden knowledge that we try bring you at Soccer Laduma. That is why we are able to announce a club’s new signings before a club does. 
 
How do we do this? Well, we have the best soccer news gathering team in the country. Their networks extend the width and breadth of South African soccer. It includes club owners, CEOs, club managers, head coaches, assistant coaches, youth coaches, club scouts, club legends, agents… big and small, people who have been mandated by agents to find clubs locally and abroad, players, player’s parents, player’s uncles and aunts. The list goes on and on… so if something is going to happen, we generally hear about it before it becomes official. 
 
It generally takes three parties to agree to any new deal. The selling club, the buying club, and the agent and player he represents. The agent is usually the one that will let us know once a deal is imminent and, as they are in control of the player’s future, they are usually a very credible source regarding any pending move. Agents let us know if their clients are happy at clubs and want to stay, or whether they are frustrated and want out. They’re probably our best indication of a pending deal. Selling clubs are the next port of call and are usually quite open about any deal once they have offloaded a player. The buying clubs are the hardest to get any confirmation from, as they usually want to unveil their new players at press conferences and get the most bang for their buck in terms of media exposure. 
 
So when we ran the headline on our website Agent: Manyisa Will Be A Sundowns Player, why did that deal not happen? Notice first that the headline clearly stated ‘Agent’, so we were simply reporting what we had been told by the agent. We had no confirmation from either the buying club or the selling club, but we were well with in our rights to publish a piece of information that we felt you needed to know, as it came directly from one of the three key parties in the negotiation. We feel it’s our duty to you as soccer fans to continue to try and bring you the stories that are happening on a daily basis in South African soccer as they unfold. We also feel it’s our duty to tell you why deals don’t materialise, so make sure you check out Siyagobhoza today to find out more about the Manyisa saga. 
 
A final word on this is that in football anything can and does happen. In South Africa it seems to be more and more common that agents and their players are mystified when they find out that clubs have ‘options’ written into contracts that they are able to exercise. Also bear in mind that sometimes when the most powerful men in South African football don’t want a deal to happen, options or not, it just won’t happen. So for the deals that didn’t happen for one reason or another, we apologise. For the deals that we did bring you, we hope you appreciated getting it first and we will continue to try and improve our transfer window coverage. It would be great to hear your thoughts on how you think we could improve going forward. 
 
To end off, we’d like to thank all of you who have officially become part of the Soccer Laduma family by joining the Soccer Laduma Supporters Club. Between members that have signed up on the ground and have received their membership cards, and those that have registered online to become part of the Supporters Club, we now have 20 000 members! For those of you who have not yet joined up, you are missing out big-time and I urge you to become a member. It doesn’t matter what team you support or where you are based, the idea is to use the power of soccer for change – change that results in better soccer for our country, and a better country for our soccer supporters. 
 
Check out page 17 of this edition to find out how to join and become part of the Soccer Laduma family.
 
Shapa Clint 

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