Hibs recruitment chief joins Europe’s top clubs at Barcelona transfer summit

Hibs will be among 150 clubs gathering in Barcelona this week to take part in what’s been described as football’s equivalent of speed dating ahead of the summer transfer window.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 12:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 12:08 pm

Launched in 2017, TransferRoom has facilitated more than 200 transfers with more than 500 clubs – including the likes of Manchester City, Juventus and AS Roma – from 41 countries using the platform.

It is the latest high-tech innovation which, according to Hibs head of player identification and recruitment Graeme Mathie, has already helped the Capital club’s ongoing search for fresh talent.

Mathie, pictured, will be in Catalonia along with George Craig, the club’s head of football operations, meeting the movers and shakers from elsewhere, getting first-hand information on which players may be available in the coming months, either on loan or by way of a permanent deal.

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“It’s very much a global market,” explained Mathie. “And this summit will be attended mainly by sports directors, loan managers and heads of recruitment, allowing you establish relationships which can help immensely.

“There’s information kept confidential between clubs as to which players may be available, on loan or selling, and TransferRoom can give you an early heads-up. You are dealing with the decision-makers at other clubs, people that can make decisions on taking deals forward. It gives you clarity as to whether a deal can be done or not very quickly.”

In fact, the record from a club pitching a player on TransferRoom.com to receiving interest in that player from another club is less than two minutes.

While clubs can use the online marketplace via a messaging system, the get-together in Barcelona gives delegates 15 minutes of face-to-face talks having sorted out their own meetings in advance.

Hibs' head of player identification and recruitment Graeme Mathie

“We met the guys behind it three or four years ago when the concept was launched,” revealed Mathie, who was also at last year’s summit in London with chief executive Leeann Dempster. “It’s already proved very useful to us. Like every other line of business, it’s better to be able to put a face to the name and this gives us the chance to meet people from other clubs. When you’ve had that contact it’s far easier when you pick up the phone and the person at the other end knows immediately who they are speaking to. You connect directly with the other club – it creates transparency and saves time. For example, when we were speaking to Darmstadt about Jamie Maclaren we’d already met their vice-president while the names of Vykintas Slivka and Kevin Dabrowski came to us through this format.

“We’ve sat down and had conversations with many people at other clubs – you can always arrange follow-up meetings – and, apart from making important contacts, it’s always interesting to learn how they work and the strategies they have in place.”

Although those long, lonely nights driving up and down the M6 to take in numerous matches throughout a season, or flying visits to check out a potential signing abroad will probably never be replaced, Mathie said: “This is a great product, it’s adding another level to what we are doing. We are always keen to use these different models and you always come back with new leads, new contacts.”

The main speaker in Barcelona will be Victor Orta, director of football at Leeds United, who has also worked at clubs like Valladolid, Sevilla, Zenit St Petersburg, Elche and Middlesbrough, who will talk about his recruitment techniques and how TransferRoom.com helped him make five deals in just one transfer window.