As the focus shifts towards Summer, I’ve had some follow up questions from a few members about how to handle transfers.  

My Key Strategy outlined in the Final Third of the Season article sets out my overall approach right now.

But whether you are doing something similar to me, or something different, it might be helpful for some if I share a few more details on handling transfer related trades.

Strategy Recap / Evaluation

Essentially, my strategy going into the Share Split announcement last week was to hold on trend, performance friendly players with summer media prospects. I went pretty much all in well before the news (bar a small reserve) rather than holding back to see the announcement and that was the correct decision. Holding it all back and waiting for the news I always felt would be too late. 

These players felt like the best bet to make to me, because those players were likely to prosper no matter what the outcome of the dividend changes ended up being. I made it easy for me to win and hard for me to lose. Following the actual announcement, I am feeling pretty good about the approach. 

The broad increase in dividends has and will benefit the players I hold and I have made decent gains since. 

Though, most people can say the same since it was a neutral increase in many ways. You could also have done very well with certain high priced premium players. 

I think the full benefit of my approach is still to come, though. I am strongly positioned for the coming weeks because I believe the major market factor before long is going to be hype for the 15 April announcement of a media dividend increase or bonus for the Summer. Once the internationals are over, this is where the focus should turn, as well as some experimentation with In Play Dividends. 

In the mean time, my players are solid performance and IPD returners in most cases too, so I’m not missing the party whilst I wait for others to catch up to me.

The shift from performance towards purely summer thinking has definitely begun but we are not even close to the peak yet. So, having positioned here very early, I am there waiting for everyone else to pull that trigger and follow me in (and most people will at different stages).

This is my preferred way of trading and what I believe to be the most profitable. It’s the polar opposite of “following” trading which is also over the long term losing trading.

It’s why I so frequently talk down the idea of chasing rises or piling into over valued hype players at insane prices. Following a trend is good but following the market into a specific highly priced player does not make sense to me. But, this is just what works for me not necessarily the only way.

But, it is not as simple as saying “alright, I’ll go and buy and hold every transfer rumour going into the Summer”. Not all transfer rumours will result in Summer media potential. Which brings me on to the main point of this article.

Transfer Strategy

See, transfer speculation trading is hard. It’s hard because we are essentially betting on outcomes that are impossible for us to predict with respectable accuracy. Players are linked with clubs all the time and most of it ends up being nonsense. 

We can increase our odds with good research, reputable sources, ferreting out contract information and such and that is why the site Transfer Centre exists.

But at the end of the day, none of us know exactly what will happen and we are just speculating.

So for someone like me, transfer trading is not the most comfortable place to be. I don’t like the idea that if I switch off my PC and come back in a few hours my player could have tanked because a news story broke. Purely performance based trades in early/mid season are much easier, because one bad game is usually no big deal. 

I have three ways of dealing with this uncertainty:

1) Buy transfer targets early and cheaply before most other people do

2) As an insurance policy – only hold players that I am generally going to be happy to start next season with.

3) Good and regular research through the Transfer Centre.

But I am not chiefly trading on whether I am right about a transfer or not. That’s almost a side issue. What I am trading on at this stage is other people’s growing expectations and hype for the Summer, particularly with the April 15 media boost in mind.

Trader hype and high expectations for this are pretty much nailed on predictable. Particularly when overall confidence is high like now.

Whether an individual transfer will happen is not easily predictable. So, why not profit from the predictable thing rather than the gamble?

That is a reason to be there early, so you can be selling at a profit ideally at the peak of the buying frenzy when others are still seeing strong reasons to buy at high prices. 

What Next?

The intent is not to occupy this ground for too long, at least not with any shaky players. An important thing to bear in mind is this: 

Generally, outside the very big transfers, the transfer has to have EPL involvement to count as a Summer Media friendly transfer. 

However, we are still in late season and right now, I am content to hold some risks like Pepé or Havertz. They are very strong players for next season sure with good transfer links, but given their likely destination outside the EPL, they are not actually very Summer media suitable unless the transfer link shifts. We should not confuse “has transfer speculation” with “good for Summer media”.

But given: 1) the Share Split approaching, 2) that I think a bigger shift towards the Summer will come and 3) not everyone thinks as far ahead as I do I expect to wait until around the 15 April announcement before I start worrying about this too much.

So, from the middle of the next month onwards, I expect to start offloading some players that might look destined not to get much summer attention to focus heavily on ones that do.

It’s not easy because transfer links can shift quickly. For example, today I updated Kroos in the Transfer Centre. He looked like going to Inter which I thought would be a negative move for him. However, in the last couple of days, he picked up Manchester United links which if true could catapult him into Category A. 

So, there is a tricky line to walk with transfer holds between not being too knee jerk and panic selling/buying (because you will see contradictory rumours all the time) whilst at the same time being quick to react if the reason you bought in the first place no longer exists, or a very credible source suggests it no longer exists.

Fortunately, being in March/April, not many transfer stories will come to a head yet, the risk of them being shut down or confirmed is still relatively low but will build up later on. 

By the time that risk is high, I intend to have narrowed down my list to the ones I am most confident in, and by May might even be thinking about next season already.

Last Thoughts

In the Transfer Centre, I have grouped trades by the most likely outcome with current information, from Categories A to E, A being the high profile big ticket moves. 

That said, do not overlook the under the radar category C or lower pick. If the price is right, the price rise here can be huge and there is scope to double money from say £1.50 > £3 (pre-share split money!). This can put to shame a higher profile trade that many people are already aware of. 

Now that I have the major transfers updated, I’ll do some scouring for potential hidden gems and get those on there too over the next week.

I’ll be doing a lot of updating in the Transfer Centre at least two major updates a week and probably three from now on. In the window proper, it will be even more frequent. It’s not real time, though, so I can do a lot of the heavy lifting but cannot keep on top of every breaking rumour and I am sure you understand why! 🙂

I hope you find the new Transfer Centre useful! If you have any questions about transfers or anything else, feel free to drop me a line via the Contact button at the bottom of the page or via Twitter DM. 

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