Norwich football agent seals transfer of non-league player Cohen Bramall to Premier League Arsenal
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
Norfolk's only dedicated sports agency has secured its highest-profile deal to date after negotiating the transfer of non-league player Cohen Bramall to Premier League giants Arsenal.
The 20-year-old is set to join today for a fee of around £40,000 meaning that just weeks after being made redundant from his job as a warehouse worker in Crewe, he will be training with the London club's first-team squad, including the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mezut Ozil.
Bramall was signed as a client of Norwich-based Full Contact Law in September, since when the agency has been marketing him to clubs higher up the football pyramid.
Meet the Norwich football agent who's striking Premier League dealsPartner Dan Chapman said the transfer was the most significant the Full Contact had negotiated since it was founded five-and-a-half years ago.
He said: 'From the agency's point of view, to be able to do a deal with Arsene Wenger is not an opportunity that many get.
'Arsenal have been impressed with our talent-spotting so it has not done our reputation any harm at all.
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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?''
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Bramall signed for Hednesford Town, who play in the Premier Division of the Northern Premier League, in the summer but was signed up as a client for Full Contact after the agency received a tip-off from a scout in its network. A former athlete, he is a speedy left-back who can also play as a left winger.
Full Contact Law already represents more than 80 players and clubs, and last year sealed the transfer of striker Freddie Ladapo to Crystal Palace from non-league Margate.
The agency's scouts scour the lower leagues for unrecognised talent, before using their contacts in the professional game to move the players further up the football ladder.
'Our speciality is finding players in non-league or in other countries, trying to unearth the gems that other clubs haven't found,' Mr Chapman told the EDP 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.'
Cohen Bramall's path to the Premier League began last August, when Dan Chapman received a call from one of his scouts in the Midlands about a left-back 'who looked a bit tasty'.
Just five months later – and thanks in part to a spectacular YouTube video – the 20-year-old will soon be training alongside the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal.
After the tip-off, Mr Chapman and his colleagues watched Bramall in action several times, before he was signed as a client in September.
But it was an audacious rabona assist – in which the players kicks the ball behind his standing leg – during a match for Hednesford Town which was filmed for the club which got the ball rolling, said Mr Chapman.
'The significance of that was I sent it to Soccer AM, and they showed it.
'That then gave us something to send to clubs, and it made it easier for them to justify sending their scouts down.'
The agency felt that, as a former 100m runner with no formal coaching, Bramall had 'outstanding attributes' which needed developing, and though interest was building from League 1 and League 2 clubs, they held on.
'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.'
Bramall attracted the attention of Championship club Sheffield Wednesday, who invited him to play for their under-23 team - and it was during that game, against Birmingham City, that the player had his second slice of good fortune.
'After that game, the phone went and it was Brian McDermott, Arsenal's chief scout,' said Mr 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.'
After Bramall impressed during a two-day trial in the week before Christmas, negotiations took place and he is set to be unveiled as an Arsenal player today.
For Mr Chapman and his agency, the signing is an important milestone of progress since Full Contact was founded in 2011.
'For every 100 tip-offs you get about a non-league player, 99 are rubbish,' he said. 'It's days like this that make it all worthwhile.'