Sydney FC’s new Head Of Player Management Alex Baumjohann has had to hit the ground running in his new role during what has been a very busy period for the club.
Baumjohann joined the Sky Blues in mid-May and was thrust straight into the world of the off-season transfer window.
During that time there has been a lot of player movement so we caught up with him and got an insight into his role and what is still to come.
- Describe your role in your own words & the work you’ve been doing.
It has been a very busy few weeks since I started and I needed to hit the ground running.
I have watched a lot of our Academy games since the A-League Men’s season finished, which I had been doing for the past 12 months anyway to get as much knowledge as I can, but it was great to make myself a picture from the inside to realize how great our Academy operates and to have a closer look at our players.
Apart from that, I have been involved in player recruitment, player transfers, renegotiations of player contracts and even mutual terminations. This is obviously a peak time for player movements in both the A-League Men and A-League Women and I am very pleased with the results achieved by the club.
The club has retained some very promising Academy players on professional contracts, assisted with transferring Academy players to Europe who otherwise may have departed the club and had to negotiate transfer agreements for both the Men’s and Women’s players. My core focus is generating football revenue and I am very proud of the financial outcomes that the club has achieved to date this window.
- How important is the role to the club?
While the objective of our Academy is to produce players for our A-League squad, we equally need to realise a return on the investment the club makes into the development of the Academy players.
We are very fortunate to have so many talented players in our Academy and we want to provide the best possible pathway for these players to progress into a professional career.
Ideally, our Academy players progress into our first team however this is not possible for all our players and we need to also identify opportunities for our players to make an early move to Europe, Asia or another appropriate league anywhere in the world.
To facilitate this, I have been able to leverage my network of contacts all over the World but also then we need to agree terms with the club and discuss the move with the player and their representatives.
It is not only with Academy players where there are opportunities but in some cases our first team players both male and female. The objective is to identify potential transfers and then present these back to the club to decide whether to proceed or not.
- You’ve had a few successes already. How pleasing is that?
It is very pleasing to successfully negotiate transfers. For example we recently announced moves for Rawley St John and Max Vartuli. Both players from our Academy, we arranged trials at clubs VfB Stuttgart & Aalborg BK overseas which have led to long term contracts for both.
I am especially happy for the players, because both are very talented and our club has provided these opportunities. The revenues from these deals can be reinvested back into the club and the Australian football ecosystem.
I speak to a lot of people around the world and I can assure you there is a growing market for Australian players in Europe. This is an opportunity that we need to take advantage of. I am sure that we will see more of our players following the same way over the next weeks or months and it is great to be able to deliver on this key strategic focus for our club.
- What do you see transpiring in the A-League Men’s and Women’s areas?
Firstly for the A-League Men, the club has made some brave decisions this window and as a consequence the average age of our squad has reduced. It is important for the club that our younger players start breaking into the first team and the club is making some positive changes to support our younger players. We remain determined to win trophies next season and ensure Steve Corica has the squad to achieve success.
The recruitment panel meets frequently at the club and Steve is vocal on where he wants to strengthen, particularly the centre back and striking options. We are in discussions with a number of new players and I am confident the squad that we will put together will be very exciting for our fans and members to watch.
Regarding our double winning A-League Women’s squad, we are continuing to field enquiries from overseas clubs and it’s likely we will be accepting offers for some players who will make exciting moves for their career.
Ante Juric has already identified several new prospects he would like to bring in and we are working hard to secure these players. The APL are launching incentives to secure players from the FIFA Women’s World Cup to play in the A-League Women next season. We will be proactive as a club to take advantage of these incentives and hopefully some world cup players end up in a Sydney FC jersey next season.