MILLWALL manager Neil Harris says the club spend at least six months gathering background information on potential transfer targets as he outlined the current recruitment process.
Harris says he has the final decision on who leaves and joins the club, and praised former head of recruitment Andrew Mills for setting up the department.
Mills, a former Brentford chief executive and agent, left Millwall last month after his one-year contract ended.
Harris recruited Mahlon Romeo, Jordan Archer, Joe Martin, Tony Craig and Steve Morrison to the first-team squad this season. Shane Ferguson was initially signed on loan before joining permanently from Newcastle in January.
During the season, George Saville and Jed Wallace enjoyed productive spells with the Lions before returning to their parent club Wolves, while Harris could sign Chris Taylor, currently on loan from Blackburn, on a permanent deal in the summer.
Harris described the process behind those moves, citing references on a player’s character as the most important element in deciding whether or not to pursue a deal.
“All players that come into the club or leave the club are signed or let go by me, final decision,” Harris explained.
“There are lots of parts to the process of bringing players in, i.e. identifying players in the first instance, finding out about their availability and then working with their agent on their expectation levels in terms of wages.
“The biggest thing for us is character references from people. We’ve worked all season identifying players for every position at different ages. The recruitment department work busily behind the scenes gathering all the information we need, putting together a dossier on the player including watching him in numerous games, getting numerous references from people who have played and worked with the player.
“We also look at family life and living location. So we attain all that information and then the questions become: Is he a player we want to sign, and does he fit the way we want to play?
“If they all come back with good references in terms of those attributes then we continue with the process. If everything fits the bill then you get down to the player’s availability and do they fit into the pay structure.
“Andrew did a terrific job setting up the department and now the responsibility falls on the shoulders of all of us, not just me.
“It’s really in-depth now and the process we go through in the summer in terms of signing players won’t just be based on availability on that day. It will be a process that would have gone on for a minimum of six months.”