Fabrizio Romano is an acclaimed journalist whose coverage of the football transfer window has been featured by leading news publishers, including The Guardian and Sky Sport.
Watch the video below to find out how he secures the trust of some of the biggest clubs in the world – and makes sure he's the first to hear about breaking transfer news.
Watch the video:
The importance of respect
The transfer market world has a keyword – a secret that's also valid in life: respect.
I've used respect to build connections with many people in the football industry. Since the early days of my career when I walked the streets of Milan looking to make contact with managers, presidents and agents, respect was at the core of everything I did.
Respect means building a relationship with a source but also managing information in the best possible way, understanding the right time to share it, and also the best way not to create problems for the club, the player or the agent.
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Maintaining your network
Even after you've gained someone's trust, regular check-ins are still important. I often message or call sources to stay fully up to date – not only when there is breaking news, but also when the transfer window is closed.
This helps build a friendly relationship, with respect being the basis of everything.
The news search process is constant. Every day you need to be in direct contact with different sources, prioritising based on the importance of the news and information.
There is no rule to follow when it comes to who you contact. In some clubs, it's easier to speak directly with the board while at others there will be a spokesperson. Several clubs keep things totally secret by entrusting everything to their president.
Of course, the greatest help often comes from player's agents, who have a greater interest in sharing information.
The contact can happen either way. Sometimes, my sources will look to give me an update, but more often, I will contact them to find out what is happening.
Certainly WhatsApp is the most immediate form of contact, but for me phone calls are also essential and, when possible, meeting in person makes the difference. I often travel for the Champions League, but sometimes the agents are in Milan and so there is the possibility of meeting face-to-face.
Direct contact makes the difference and helps build mutual respect. Focusing on respect first of all is how you get to the best news.