Steve Bruce says Aston Villa have learned how to better negotiate with agent fees, with the club applying a ‘common sense’ approach.
The Football Association released figures of agents’ fees this week, and Villa ranked the highest of the Championship clubs, with owner Tony Xia having paid £5.5million on intermediaries between February 2017 and January 31 2018.
However, it is understood that the vast majority of that sum relates to past deals, and the last two transfer windows only cost Villa £700,000 on agent fees.
From the remaining £4.8million, the biggest single payment went to the agent of now Middlesbrough winger Adama Traoré, who pocketed a cool £1.5million
Talking about the fees the Villans have paid out, as reported by the Express & Star, Bruce said;
I think it proves where the club has been, trying to get back into the Premier League, and what’s happened before that.
Thankfully now some common sense has come in. I don’t believe in still paying agents for players who are not here.
That’s obviously been the case, with one highlighted in particular.
While technical director Steve Round has been instrumental in bringing the level of fees paid to agents down, Bruce hasn’t always had the easiest of times spending money, having to work within a tight financial framework since he replaced Roberto Di Matteo in late 2016.
While the club have managed to shift a number of players off the books in the last two windows, they have also spent around £2.5million in transfer fees on new personnel. Talking about the situation he inherited, Bruce said;
I understand the situation. It’s what we have all inherited.
Clearing up and putting the house in order is part of my job. I don’t get involved as much as I used to
But certainly it’s part of my job because I manage the club and I would try to manage the club how I would manage myself in terms of finances.
Of course now it’s difficult because the future you go in the game the more shocked you are by money that is available.
We’re all in it, we all see it, but it’s to the detriment of the game, and certainly the average supporter.
Especially with so much money going to agents, it’s something that sticks in the craw.
Bruce also acknowledge that agent fees come as “part and parcel of the game”, while saying it wasn’t his position to criticised. The former Hull manager continued;
Of course with anything, there’s good and bad (agents).
It’s not my position to sit and criticise, they get what they can. But we have to deal with them.
I’m sure every manager will tell you an example of when a deal hasn’t gone through because the agent is not happy.
Really it should be the other way around, with the player being in control of the agent, but that doesn’t always happen.