Day at ProEleven Offices
Market leaders in the world of professional player management.
On our third day in Lisbon, we were joined by some familiar faces for company. Gregory Arnolin – who holds the record for the most appearances at FC Goa and has been a part of the Club since Day 1 — is taking us around the city he calls home. Gregory works with a professional management agency, ProEleven, who represent some of the biggest names in Europe — both managers and players. The agency was established by Carlos Goncalves, a FIFA-certified player representative, and is now also being run by his brother, Vitor, who we are scheduled to meet. The agency is working at full steam, what with it being the midst of the January transfer window. Players keen for a change of scenery, and others in search of first team football, have all reached out, and Vitor and his team are working around the clock to find players the best options possible.
ProEleven is a serious setup. They have a staff of around 14 people, each one dedicated to a specific objective. It’s late morning when we walk into ProEleven’s offices and the team is already in the thick of things. There are screens where social media handles are being updated . Another few screens are dedicated to the matches from last night, and clips of specific players are being edited to highlight the action they were involved in. Vitor is busy on his phone as we walk in, working on three deals simultaneously, as we are later informed. It was only a few days later, we figure out that one of these deals was Marco Silva’s placement at Hull, and what an astute bit of business that’s turning out to be.
We engage in conversation with Vitor, Gregory and Vasco , a fellow player manager who give us a lowdown on how the agency’s operates and the current European market. scene . Right from the outset it’s easy to spot the absolute professionalism they employ. As people who come from a relatively new football market, where the world of transfers hasn’t reached anything close to overdrive yet, it’s refreshing to hear these guys speak.
The first rule, Vitor elaborates is to put the the players’ needs on the field over finances. It’s important to them that the player is happy. ProEleven takes a holistic approach to placement. They are visibly at pains to underscore the importance of a player’s suitability for a team, barring which they don’t even make an initial case for placement..
As we continue our tete-a-tete, a TV in the background runs highlights of all the players in action. It’s obvious that these guys have adopted a proactive approach to assisting their clients. They are on-the-ball, pun not intended, when it comes to staying updated with player performance, and have developed a digital ecosystem to track not just how each player is doing, but also which aspect of the business needs immediate attention. This screen has got all the information one would need: contacts who have reached out to them, players who are in the market and every aspect where attention is due. I suppose when you represent Andre Vilas Boas, Marco Silva, Paulo Bento, Rui Patricio, and Marcos Rojo, among a 100 other equally significant names, it’s of paramount importance to have constant view of all aspects of the business. At any rate, they seem to have it covered.
During lunch at Vitor’s preferred seafood restaurant, he explains how he loves a good bargain and to negotiate. That is the aspect of his work that thrills him the most. The reason ProEleven can afford to negotiate terms is due to the quality of their work. Everyone at the agency is mindful of the language they use and insist on the use of the word ‘partners’. Casting our minds back to India, where a hyper-inflated player market is the norm — where one can never be sure of what they are getting themselves into — it’s refreshing to hear Accountability, Responsibility, Transparency, and Trust as the buzzwords in their modus operandi. A quick stop, but I’m sure this won’t be the last time we’ll be working with these guys.