Portsmouth chief executive Mark Catlin lifts lid on anatomy of transfer deal

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It’s a process which is usually months in the making.

Now chief executive Mark Catlin has given an insight into the anatomy of doing a transfer deal at Pompey.

Catlin outlined the complexities of getting a signing done, as well as the amount of hard work and skill which goes into bringing a player to Fratton Park.

The Blues have so far brought in James Bolton this summer, after the defender left Shrewsbury.

Work is continuing behind the scenes to bring in the men highlighted as those who can make a difference to Kenny Jackett's squad next term.

READ MORE: Mark Catlin explains why fans weren’t consulted ahead of kit launch

Craig MacGillivray was one of the 10 completed transfers last summer. Picture: Colin Farmery

Craig MacGillivray was one of the 10 completed transfers last summer. Picture: Colin Farmery

Catlin gave a revealing insight into how the team at Pompey work in harmony to get the job done.

‘We feel we have a good system here,’ Catlin said of the process.

‘How it works is we hold monthly conference calls with Kenny, Joe (Gallen), our recruitment team, the senior executives and the rest of the board.

‘It’s quite a big recruitment meeting which is diarised every month.

Ronan Curtis was one of the 10 signings completed last summer

Ronan Curtis was one of the 10 signings completed last summer

‘The recruitment team, which is specifically Phil Boardman and Roberto (Gagliardi), present players who’ve caught their eye.

‘We then have a broad idea of players in a certain position who are catching the eye, their contract situation and what their salary expectations will be.

‘No decisions are made on signings at that point.

‘So during the window we are really prepared and there is a list of targets we’ve identified in order of preference.

‘It’s a big list with perhaps 10 to 15 players in each area of the pitch.’

After the reconnaissance work is complete, a move will accelerate if discussions between the two clubs or club and player is successful. That nature of those talks will depend on the target’s contract situation. 

Catlin explained that’s where chief operating officer Tony Brown comes into his own as the pair work side by side as Jackett liaises with the target or club’s manager.

He added: ‘I will normally get a call from Kenny who would have spoken to x manager at y club.

‘He will perhaps say there is an interest to sell at this price and this is what the player is looking for.

‘I will traditionally then start negotiations with the other club.

‘At the same time, given permission from the other club, Tony will then start speaking with the player and the player’s agent and have that dialogue.

‘When that comes together the final deal is put together in regards of fee, player wages, add-ons and sell-ons.

‘Tony negotiates the deal and agent fees, while I tend to speak to the other club. Although that can be Tony as well.

‘It often depends on who has the best relationship with a player or player’s agent.

‘At that point we’re dovetailing with each other in regards of the club, player and agent.’

The hope for Pompey fans is there are currently deals approaching the stage where the club will ask the board for their blessing to complete a signing.

It’s at this point they come back into play to ‘rubber-stamp’ a move or raise any further questions.

Catlin explained he’s yet to experience a signing fall at this stage under the current regime.

He said: ‘Kenny keeps the dialogue with the player at this point and, ultimately, when it comes together, I will pass it to the board which historically will be to rubber-stamp the deal.

‘They will question and ask why are we doing this or that.

‘But after working with them for two years there’s never been a scenario where they’ve said they’re not doing it.

‘This is a process which has worked well for us and it’s a good system.’