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At the time of writing we are half way through transfer deadline day; the bi-annual feast which occupies the minds of football lovers and pundits and overwhelms online chat rooms. Keen eyed reporters hover around grounds pouncing on every arrival and departure with glee, all hoping for the scoop which will make their name. Rumour abounds and if we dared to include current speculation in our article, such as David Beckham to sign for Paris Saint-Germain, there is a real chance that the fast pace of the day may prove us wrong.
But while some clubs scuttle around desperately trying to fill the gaps, others such as Manchester United sail serenely on, happy that their squad is already complete. In fairness clubs may not have any choice but to hit the transfer market. Illness or injury, an unhappy player or the offer of “too much money to refuse” for a player can all leave their mark. But what of the players who are brought in at the last moment; how do clubs know that they will bring a winning dimension to the team.
Interestingly a report by Radio 5 has looked at this very aspect today*. Whilst it is easy to see a player’s performance on the pitch and a medical will reveal hidden weaknesses, how do you measure the character of a player before signing them? Football clubs are not allowed to run psychological tests on players before signing them and this means that clubs are potentially signing a player who has great skills with the ball but is not going to fit into the cultural makeup of the team.
We’ve previously written about the way in which the culture of an organisation changes with every new employee. When that person has as high a profile as a star player brought in on transfer deadline day the whole culture, ethos and playing style of a club can change. Choosing the right employee, managing any cultural transformation, is not an easy job at the best of times and when the stakes are as high as they are in football those who transfer in haste had better have done their homework or they may just repent at leisure.