Credit must be given to agents and clubs that unearth the genius in so many of the footballers that we see.
The deal for Cohen Bramall to Arsenal is one that is being celebrated by the player’s agent after the player secured a £40,000 on a two-and-a-half year deal.
The story is the stuff of fairy-tales, – a player plucked from the 7th division of English football and thrust into Arsenal as their likely third-choice left-back.
“From the agency’s point of view, to be able to do a deal with Arsene Wenger is not an opportunity that many get,” Chapman told the Eastern Daily Press.
“Arsenal have been impressed with our talent-spotting so it has not done our reputation any harm at all.”
He added: “We’ve already been inundated with players and clubs getting in contact with us.
“This morning I had 50 emails from people saying ‘My son plays for so-and-so – can you come and watch him?’”
Full Contact Law have more than 80 players on their books, scouting the lower leagues for talent, as Chapman explained. “Our speciality is finding players in non-league or in other countries, trying to unearth the gems that other clubs haven’t found,” Chapman told the same paper last year.
“What we are doing is scouting potential. The bigger clubs think the players in non-league aren’t good enough for them, while the smaller clubs don’t have the resources to do it themselves.”
He then went on to reveal how they used Sky Sports’ Soccer AM to raise the profile of Bramall after he had been brought to their attention. One of his scout’s had spotted Bramall’s rabona assist and sent the clip to the agency with a message that he ‘looked a bit tasty’. “The significance of that [clip] was I sent it to Soccer AM, and they showed it,” Chapman explained.
“That then gave us something to send to clubs, and it made it easier for them to justify sending their scouts down.
“We took the view that the higher we pitched him the better he could be.
“At League 2 level the club would expect him to come in on a Saturday and make an impact but bigger clubs can sign a player on potential.”
Attracting the attentions of Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship, Bramall was invited to play for their u23s and it was there that Arsenal’s scout, Brian McDermott, spotted him. “After that game, the phone went and it was Brian McDermott, Arsenal’s chief scout,” said Chapman.
“He’d been watching another player but our triallist had caught his eye.
“He asked if we’d be prepared to pull him out of Sheffield Wednesday and get him to Arsenal so they could take a look at him.”
That game took place on 19th December and by Christmas Arsenal were so determined to sign him that they only allowed him to return home for Christmas Day before getting him back to London Colney and away from any other clubs who might try to sign him.
“For every 100 tip-offs you get about a non-league player, 99 are rubbish,” he added. “It’s days like this that make it all worthwhile.”