Barker: Deals take time

Blues boss Richie Barker Picture: Joe Pepler
Blues boss Richie Barker Picture: Joe Pepler

Richie Barker admits it is becoming increasingly difficult to complete transfers in modern-day football.

The Blues boss, who is believed to be in the hunt for a striker and a midfielder on loan, has seen his attempts to bolster the Pompey squad hit a brick wall this week.

He will restart that battle again next week, but Barker admits it’s simply not as easy to bring new players into a club these days – especially with the many figures involved in trying to complete a deal.

And while some Pompey fans have wondered why there has been no movement this week, Barker has revealed some of the issues he faces.

Barker explained: ‘It’s frustrating but it is just the way it is when you are trying to sign a player.

‘It’s getting tougher and tougher because there are more and more people involved.

‘Football clubs have managers, chairmen, chief executives, directors of football, then the player has his opinion and the agent will have an opinion as well.

‘I then have to go to my people and work out whether he fits in with what I want to do.

‘Then you have got the finances to work out.

‘It amazes me sometimes how transfers ever happen because you need about 15 people to buy into it at one time. It’s hard work getting a player in.’

Barker estimates it takes several days to secure a new signing – even on loan – and struggles to understand how late deals can be done on transfer deadline day.

He said: ‘Everyone thinks it’s easier than it is.

‘They play Football Manager on the computer, offer £500 per week and he’s signed – brilliant.

‘It doesn’t quite work like that in reality.

‘You wouldn’t believe how many man hours go into signing a player – it is hundreds and hundreds.

‘It takes us two days to sign someone and that’s just from the point that everybody says “okay then”.

‘You’ve got medicals to organise and all sorts.

‘Some of the signings I have made took four or five weeks to negotiate.

‘Maybe if you are paying someone £1m per year, it’s not so hard to negotiate.

‘On deadline day, Ross McCormack, at Leeds, had six offers with three hours to go before the deadline.

‘I was sitting in my front room thinking: “How on earth is he going to get to where he needs to get to, negotiate a contract and do a medical?”

‘Sometimes things get glossed over, I think.’

And Barker makes no apologies for keeping his targets under wraps as long as possible, having been stung in the past.

‘I’ve had a player turn around in the car park before,’ recalled Barker.

‘He was ready to sign, waiting in the car park and ready to come in for his medical. Then he got a phone call and a two-year offer from somewhere else and drove off again.

‘That’s why I don’t say anything until the papers are signed.’