Arsenal could set a trend for non league players, says agent
- Credit: Simon J. Newbury Photography
There's more where that came from – that's Norfolk-based agent Dan Chapman's message to professional clubs after Cohen Bramall's fairytale move to Arsenal.
The 20-year-old signed a long term contract at the Emirates after being plucked by Arsene Wenger from non-league Hednesford Town earlier this month, who were paid an undisclosed transfer fee. Chapman, whose Norwich-based Full Contact agency (a part of Leathes Prior Solicitors) represents Bramall, insist there are others that are ready to make the transition to the pro ranks.
'There are quality players in non league,' said Chapman.
'We've (Full Contact) got three or four more players that are certainly capable of going into a League One or Two club, even a squad player at a Championship side.
'The value for money is exceptional and, in a lot of cases, they could be more cost effective and better than what they have got. That's the trick of making financial fair play work for you – sell high and buy low, but don't let the quality and potential lessen.'
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Non league players, like Bramall, have been battle hardened in the lower reaches of English football argues Chapman and his colleague Lee Payne, who himself was the subject of the then record transfer fee paid for a non-league player when he was transferred from Barnet to Newcastle in 1988.
Academy football is accused of sometimes failing to provide managers with genuine first team options.
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'If a club signs a young professional player who only has academy experience he will not be used to senior, first team football,' added Chapman. 'It counts for something if you can say you've come up against a 35-year-old gnarled centre half. 'Look at Cohen (Bramall) – he is battled hardened and played a lot of competitive football. He knows the importance of doing whatever it takes to get that win bonus. At a lot of academies it's almost like results don't matter.'