Published: 05:00, 27 May 2022
Gillingham boss Neil Harris will utilise all he can to attract players to the club this summer.
He’s already admitted the Gills might not be able to compete financially with the League 2 big spenders but feels they are still an attractive prospect.
Harris is looking at securing up to 15 new signings this summer and is busy assessing the best fits for the club.
“If I feel initial talks have progressed really well then I like to invite the player to the stadium,” he said.
“They can come and meet me and I can show them around, show them the facilities we have and it is a strong position to be in, certainly in League 2 with what we have built at the club over the last three months.
“What we utilise at the club, a lecture theatre, hydro-pool, a lounge and cafe area, it’s great for players.
“It is quite spectacular to be honest on a day-to-day basis for the players, so it is impressive.
“It is important for the players to see where they could be coming to work every day, it is important I meet them face to face, explain how I want to play and what I expect from them and how they fit into the wheel. That is ongoing. That can go a long way with players.
“Sometimes it can come down to financials with an agent and players and then sometimes it can be a bit of a lottery and where the market is at the moment, because it is fresh and people are excited about a new challenge.
“You have to scythe through the rubbish at times and sometimes you have to be patient. That is where we are at the moment.
“I have met players that we would like to sign, they have other options, so then I have to put on my salesman’s pitch to try and talk them into coming to Gillingham.
“You become No.1 salesman, trying to attract players, and as you can imagine the market at the moment is filled with agents that have the new Maradona or the next Messi, players that are playing non-league football who should be earning a million pounds a week.”
Commenting this week on where they were with new signings, Harris said: “I am a lot more relaxed now, I realise a lot of people are on holiday.
“We have done a lot of due diligence in a short space of time, [I’m] really pleased with that. Sometimes you can make progress by ruling people out, and have a lot more clarity on players you do want.
“So a lot of time for (head of recruitment) Nicky Shorey has been spent watching individual clips of players and learning about players who have been recommended that we don’t know in-person.
“We have made a lot of progress in the week without actually having a player put pen to paper.
“We have progressed our opinions of players, we have put lists of players we have had into order who we would like to sign first, our number one choice, number two, or three players.
“We have made a lot of progress, we just haven’t got pen on paper unfortunately.”