'Grand Hotel Calciomercato' is the debut book for Gianluca Di Marzio, a journalist of Sky Italia Sports and one of the world's leading transfer market experts.
If in the soccer world a footballer is about to change team, there is a high probability that that news has come out of Di Marzio's website.
Now a key figure in the transfer market, certainly one of the most loved members of the entire football industry, we at Tribal Football spoke exclusively with Gianluca, to talk about the transfer market, football and also about his book, in which many absolutely incredible episodes related to the transfer market are told.
Operations failed for reasons that are hard to believe, such as the colour of a tie, or the style of the signature, or the apparition of God in a dream. But let's start from the motivation that prompted him to write this book.
"I wanted to to write a book, for my sons too, whom one day will see that I managed to write a book, but I also hope my work will help fans understand what lies behind the transfer market, educate the enthusiast on the dynamics of negotiations.
"It often happens that I on TV or on social media talk about a contact between clubs for a player, the deal begins and then clubs can't manage to close it, after a week I am accused of the news of that contact. Starting a negotiation, this is the point, does not mean closing it!
"There are so many incredible details which can blow up the negotiations, some of them don't even relate to football, like if you were born on the 17th or if on the day of the signature you wear a purple tie… even after a month of negotiations! One who wakes up after medical visits and says that he dreamed of God who told him not to leave anymore. It happened! I hope to make it clear with this book: I asked my interlocutors to remember the most incredible things that have ever happened to them, to create a casuistry of the transfer market, to make people understand what the transfer market really means, especially in Italy."
Asked if he liked writing it: "A lot, but to see and know that guys are reading a book for the first time, I'm glad. Many readers tell me that they have managed to empathise with the protagonists."
It is good to remember, and Di Marzio is particularly keen to make it clear, that it is not journalists whom close the operations: "When they insult me, I put myself in the shoes of the fans, which are taken by the enthusiasm of the moment, these are emotional reactions, but also because some of the transfer market mechanisms are still secrets, unclear."
Going into the details of the football market expert's work: how difficult is it to gain the trust of insiders?
"That's everything. If you have a network of contacts who trust who you are, as a person and journalist, it helps you, they don't mislead you. This comes from many years of work and from the fact that I grew up in the world of football. Compared to other colleagues I have the advantage of being considered one of them, thanks to my father. I am considered not an enemy, but a person who knows certain mechanisms, situations, they know that I have experienced them. This gave me an advantage over my good colleagues in what I managed to do and the respect that the world of football has for my father."
In this book a lot of incredible stories are told, how long did it take to write it?
"Not so long, but only thanks to the lockdown, otherwise I wouldn't have written it. I had this proposal for a year and a half, the decisive push came from the closure at home, which allowed me to have much more free time to collect the stories, because it is not a book of my memories, but I wanted testimonials. I have collected over about 200 stories, I speak of sources that I know personally.
"If I had had to meet them all physically around Italy and Europe it would have taken years. I collected 150 testimonies in 40 days, all recorded, then Matteo Moretto was precious for the writing of the book, we transcribed all the stories... and you don't know how much stuff came out! We were scared by the amount of work. We had to give a thread to all the stories, we delivered at the end of July, as per commitment."
Many readers are already expecting a sequel, because there are many stories that have not yet been told: "Many were left out, among the old ones, those that have happened in this transfer market, what will come out in the future ... there is material for making a sequel, surely like this, will depend on a few things. I was sorry not to be able to include some stories they had told me, I told them that I am already writing the sequel, but still not true! (laughs, ed). I'd like to, we're waiting for the results, but I have the material, maybe do something serial with it."
It is an interesting, easy and flowing read, which allows you to enter the world of the market with a privileged view, which makes every fan dream but whose dynamics are still obscure to most. We are sure that reading line by line how the negotiations take place, for what kind of details they can fail, from a person like Di Marzio, whom we trust almost blindly after so many years, will help readers understand how crazy the transfer market is.
You can purchase Gianluca Di Marzio's fantastic new book, Grand Hotel Calciomercato, by clicking here.