Ozil's agent Sogut shares what happens behind the scenes

Dr Erkut Sogut, 39, started as a lawyer for sports agents before taking on his first major client in the form of Ozil in 2013.

Last year, Sogut took umbrage against former Arsenal player Martin Keown’s criticism of Ozil and wrote a strongly-worded reply branding the former defender ‘jealous’.

It was not too long ago Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac were the target of an attempted carjacking incident in London. Further security-related threats in the ensuing weeks meant the duo was sidelined from Arsenal's opening two matches of the Premier League season. It was not until the fifth game week that Ozil made his first appearance.

Dr Erkut Sogut, Ozil’s agent of seven years, says it was important to make the player and his family feel secure before resuming focus on football. “In such situations, you try to calm him down. You sit down with your client and try to secure them. You work with the club and work out a way as to how to secure the player's and his family's safety," Sogut tells Sportstar.

READ| Arsenal has warned players after Ozil, Kolasinac attack - Mertesacker

He adds, “He was more concerned about his wife, who was also in the car with him. It becomes a matter of psychology and also to help them in the process of bringing their focus back to the sport. It’s important to bring their life back to normality. He is perfect now.”

Sogut, 39, started as a lawyer for sports agents before taking on his first major client in the form of Ozil in 2013. He has a small clientele to work with them on a day-to-day basis. “The career span of a footballer is a maximum of 15 years and an average of seven to 10 years. They earn a lot of money so the question is what do they do after their playing careers which is what I help prepare them for. I spend a lot of time working towards that.

“I also help them with social work. I ask them to give back to the sport which has given them a lot. For example with Mesut, we operate with 1000 kids worldwide. It’s one of the 50 projects with Mesut. He is an ambassador for cancer among children in England and he spends a lot of money on these organisations, which I promote,” says Sogut.

The German agent is in Mumbai as part of the Football Business Certificate taking lectures to provide insights into the football industry. He recently launched a second volume to his book ‘How to become a Football Agent: The Guide’ which offers key learnings for upcoming agents. “The second volume has contract examples and many agents giving their opinions. Regional agents from Australia, Africa and America all give their opinions from their region on how to work as an agent,” he says.

Sogut, 38, started as a lawyer for sports agents before taking on his first major client in the form of Ozil in 2013.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

He explains that there are many facets to the job of a football agent. “There are two types of agents. You do the transfer deals, negotiate and help get brand endorsements deals like cars or a Puma or an Adidas. You do social work with the players and also in helping make a network. For example, Shah Rukh Khan came to London and he was the guest of Mesut at the Arsenal box. So we had to help host the guest of our client. We also look after their family and the charities they are involved in. It’s 365 days a year work,” he says.

READ| Arsenal's Ozil switches to Bergkamp's number 10

He adds, "There is another side, where the agents only help brokering deals (transfers) but don’t look after the players. Agents can represent players, clubs or both in the same deal."

While looking after his clients, Sogut needs to protect them from slander. Last year, he took umbrage against former Arsenal player Martin Keown’s criticism of Ozil and wrote a strongly-worded reply branding the former defender ‘jealous’.

Dr Erkut Sogut, Ozil’s agent of seven years, says it was important to make the player and his family feel secure before resuming focus on football.   -  getty images

 

“Critics are the most normal thing for a footballer. It’s part of the business. But if it gets personal and if the language used crosses a line then I have to protect my client. People can’t use my clients to make headlines. I am not a person who goes out to respond to criticism. If someone tries to insult my clients, believe me, I am 100 per cent prepared to respond to that person,” Sogut reasons.

READ| Mesut Ozil maintains healthy relationship with Unai Emery

According to Sogut, it’s not just during the period of the transfer window when an agent works on executing a transfer deal. “I work with 15 clients daily but I can also broker deals with clubs for other players. I can also work with other agents where another agent approaches me to complete the deal.

"There are a lot of opportunities during the transfer window. And the window is not the place anymore where the deal happens; it’s just the time where the transfer is signed. The real work is done before the window opens. All countries have windows open at each point during the year so you need to work throughout the year,” he says.

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