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BARBER: HEMED A TARGET SINCE CHRISTMAS

28 June 2015



Brighton & Hove Albion chief executive Paul Barber has revealed that the club's hierarchy, led by chairman Tony Bloom, and recruitment team, had been working on a potential deal to bring new Israeli international striker Tomer Hemed to the club since before last Christmas.

Barber, speaking in an interview with BBC Sussex, also explained that Hemed is a player who manager Chris Hughton had been tracking for more than two years - beginning during his time at Norwich City - and spoke about how pleased the club were to keep the deal under wraps.

He explained the background to the transfer, and why it was so important to keep it secret, saying, "It's been six or seven months [that the club has been working on the Hemed transfer]. Chris had been aware of Tomer for two or three years; he's seen him many times in that period, and admired him from a distance.

"We started to really hone in on Tomer around six or seven months ago. It's been a long period of analysis and negotiation - with the club, the player, and the agent - but also making sure Tomer was the type of player who was going to fit into the squad Chris is putting together.

"We are delighted to have achieved that, and equally pleased to have kept the transfer quiet during that time. There is a lot of speculation around as to which clubs are going to sign which players, sometimes that doesn't help us as it's a negotiation disadvantage.

"It [speculation] can bump up the price, invite other clubs to come in with offers, or maybe even alert other clubs who didn't know about a player's availability; so we go to great lengths to keep these things secret."

Key transfer information and the negotiation progress is limited to a very small group inside the club, and Barber added, "There are probably only three, four or, at times, a maximum of just five people who might know our main targets at any one time, so a lot of the speculation out there [about Brighton & Hove Albion] is exactly that."

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Barber also praised the work of Albion's recruitment team, led by Paul Winstanley, in landing one of manager Hughton's top summer targets, and gave an insight into their scouting and analysis work outside of the transfer windows - and fans will be pleased to learn that there is still plenty of work to do ahead of the new season.

"Our recruitment doesn't start when the season ends. The recruitment is going on all year round, every day of the week, players being scouted all over the world and reports coming into us - and that work carries on all year round.

"We are in the market for other players. We need to strengthen and we have still have got a lot of work to do, and that work goes on, and [for this summer's transfer window] has been going on for the best part of six or seven months."

Meanwhile, Barber says he is looking forward to another season of fans' forums, kicking off with the annual pre-season event at the Amex, on Thursday 6th August.

Albion undertook a record number of fans' forum events over the past two seasons, and the club's chief executive explained that chairman Bloom, Hughton and he are looking forward to the event on the Thursday before the season starts.

"It's a really important event for us, and really important to have that dialogue with our supporters.

"We do a lot of forums throughout the season, across the county and further afield, and the opening one of the season is at the Amex.

"We are inviting up to 500 fans to come along and listen to the chairman, Chris and myself answer any questions fans may have."

Entry is free of charge and tickets for the event can be obtained online. Further information can be found here.


UPCOMING HOME FIXTURES

ALBION V SEVILLA

SUNDAY 2ND AUGUST, KICK-OFF 4PM




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