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What We Learned From The FA’s 2019 Agents Info

The Football Association have released detailed lists on how much money clubs have paid intermediaries over the last year.

Reading v Crystal Palace - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

The FA have released their annual agents transactions details, and it makes for interesting reading from the Royals’ point of view. The information is for the period of February 1 2018 to January 31 2019, and relates to all deals for which we’ve used an agent.

In total, that’s 27 instances of signings, outgoings and contract renewals. From what the FA have released, we know:

  • All the deals for which Reading needed an intermediary,
  • When those deals happened,
  • The player’s agent and organisation,
  • The registering club’s organisation,
  • How much these deals cost Reading in agents’ fees overall.

So what are those 27 deals?

Tennai Watson, Liam Driscoll, Jack Nolan, Andrija Novakovich, John O’Shea, David Meyler, Andy Yiadom, Lewis Walker, Luke Southwood, Marc McNulty, Darren Sidoel, Sam Walker, Sam Baldock, Axel Andresson, Josh Sims, Saeid Ezatolahi, Liam Moore, Yakou Meite, Pelle Clement, Ovie Ejaria, Lewis Baker, Jordan Holsgrove, Nelson Oliveira, Emiliano Martinez, Matt Miazga, Tiago Ilori and Adrian Popa.

Most of those are straightforward - either signings, departures or contract renewals, but there are a few worth highlighting.

First and foremost, who is Lewis Walker? Reading apparently conducted business involving him on July 4 2018 - the same day as Novakovich, O’Shea, Meyler and Yiadom. I presume it’s a misspelling of Lewis Ward, whose contract extension was officially announced at the end of June.

Interestingly, Pelle Clement’s involvement in this list is described as a ‘cancellation’ - Reading presumably terminated his contract so that he could move to PEC Zwolle. At the time, the transfer was presented as a simple case of him moving between the two clubs.

Otherwise, two other players departed on a permanent basis but aren’t included in this document for whatever reason: Yann Kermorgant and Dave Edwards. Although George Evans joined Derby County and is present in the Rams’ section, the same isn’t true of Edwards and Shrewsbury Town.

A few more stray observations

Going by what the FA say at the top of the document - that it lists all transactions which used an agent - you’d assume that deals involving Kermorgant, Edwards and others just didn’t require an intermediary. But that still strikes me as odd, considering that we’re talking about professional players who were cutting short or extending their contracts.

How much did Reading spend on agents’ fees overall?

A grand total of... £2,103,206. That puts us 10th in the Championship behind Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Derby County, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Norwich City, Stoke City, Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion. In total, Championship clubs spend £50,481,295 in the 2018/19 period, coming out at an average of £2,103,387.29 - so almost exactly Reading’s figure.

The relegated sides from the Premier League sit at the top of the tree; Stoke on more than £7m, with the other two on more than £5m each. The opposite is true of teams promoted from League One - in particular Rotherham United who forked out around £150,000.

As for Reading though, this year’s figures are noticeably better than the worryingly high rate of £2,850,283 that went out of the coffers in 2017/18. That of course includes the free-spending summer of 2017 and expensive loan purchases the following January.

Before that, Reading spent just £1,514,273 in 2016/17 and apparently a paltry £327,390 in 2015/16. It is however worth noting that agents fees have shot up across the board in recent years - not just at the Madejski Stadium.

Anything else?

Yes, there’s one more name to mention from the FA’s list: Stephen Hunt. In total, the former Reading player (and now agent) was involved in 10 deals. Two of those related to former Royal Gabriel Rosario - a goalkeeper that joined Huddersfield Town in the summer - with another being John O’Shea’s move to the Mad Stad.