Transfers: Frequently Asked Questions

By Richard Johnson
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@kaybaba99
The 2014/15 season officially closed last Monday with a lot of clubs making last-minute rush to bring in players and took transfer fees to a stratospheric £1 billion mark in England alone.
Also, the transfer window traditionally throws up a lot of questions from football fans wanting to know the layman meaning of some knotty high-sounding transfer terms so, judging from the number of questions I’ve been asked in the recently closed window and in previous ones, I’ve compiled a few Frequently Asked Questions and provided their ordinary meanings here. I hope you find them helpful.

1.    WHAT DETERMINES A PLAYER’S TRANSFER FEE?
In the 2012/13 summer transfer window, I wrote a piece with the above title which was republished in the 2013/14 window due to popular demand. In order not to sound unduly repetitious, I resisted the temptation to publish it again today although it comprehensively answers this question. What I will do is to just briefly summarise the key points from that seminal article for those who missed the initial article and its re-run.

A – AGE: A player’s age is a key determinant when negotiating a contract. Is he young and able to play for a long time or getting older and likely to retire sometimes soon? An older player, if injured, could take sufficiently more time to heal than a younger one so it is riskier splashing the cash on players of a certain age. As a rule, Arsene Wenger does not give any player over the age of 30years a contract renewal of more than a year. Other clubs have come to adopt this rule too.

B – EXPERIENCE: this is self-explanatory as a player’s years on the pitch will be a huge factor when his transfer is being negotiated. Except in very rare cases, you hardly see a 17-year old commanding more money than a 24-year old battle-hardened veteran. Even where it happens, the 17-year old starlet must show an incredible amount of tzlntsnd potential.

C – SELL-ON VALUE: Age and experience will determine a player’s sell-on value i.e if it will be possible to get a higher amount of money for him in the near future when he makes a move to another club. For example, Man United forked out over £12m for a young Cristiano Ronaldo only to cash out by selling him on to Real Madrid for a humongous £80m fee! United would have been hard-pressed to pay such an amout for a player they know would have little or no sell-on value.

D – COMMERCIAL VALUE: Real Madrid paid £80m to complete CR7’s transfer from United and, before he kicked a ball for the Madridstas, they’d reportedly sold 1.2million shirts bearing his name in the city of Madrid alone. If a shirt sold for £30, that was a cool £36m recouped from their investment in just one city. You can do the maths on how much they would have made from his shirt sales alone since he joined them in 2009 and then you’ll understand why Madrid are always in the forefront to slash the big bucks on players. (By the way, did you read my article on HOW CLUBS RECOUP THEIR INVESTMENTS ON PLAYERS? It explains this point in greater details)

E – MEDICAL HISTORY: Micheal Owen and Owen Hargreaves are two examples of players who had to give up their careers because clubs were wary of touching them due to their frightening injury records. Robin van Persie was heading that way until Arsenal helped him to figure out the source of his injury worries and the Gunners were amply rewarded, cashing a cheque of £24m on a player of his age.

D – POSITION ON PITCH: In all of transfers biggest money moves, strikers and midfielders have commanded more than defenders and goalkeepers. This those not mean the others are less important on the pitch, it just shows the order of need by football managers.

E – TRANSFER PERIOD (Summer/Winter): Players are ‘relatively cheaper’ in the summer transfer windows because it is a buyers’ market where clubs have all the luxury of time to decide whether they want to buy a player or not and could haggle back and forth before agreeing on a price. However, during the winter (January) window, it is often the clubs in trouble who seek to fortify their teams and the selling clubs are usually able to exploit their desperation by asking for top dollar for their players.

F – LENGTH OF EXISTING CONTRACT: If a player is approaching the last year of his
contract and has not agreed to an extension will not command as much as a player who’s in in the second year of a five-year deal. The buying club, except if there’s a buy-out clause, would determine what they think is the minimum for which they’re willing to let that player go and, like Manchester City showed Carlos Tevez, the club could force you to run down your contract while sitting on their bench.

G – LENGTH OF INTENDING CONTRACT: A player who’s being considered for a one-year deal at a new club could reasonably not expect to command the same fees with someone who has a longer term contract, except in rare case where other factors come into play.

H – TRANSFER POLICY OF SELLING CLUB: Some clubs have developed their youth academies to produce exceptionally talented youth players who they sell on to other clubs but with a proviso that they get a cut of whatever transfer the buying club makes on the player in future. For example, Southampton were not directly involved in the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid but they got a percentage of his transfer fee because of the clause in his contract when they sold him to Tottenham.

I – STATUS OF BUYING CLUB: Real Madrid are traditionally known to be big spenders so when they are interested in a player, everyone connected with that player senses a big payday and the price, not necessarily the value, of the player goes through the roof.

J – AGENT POWER: PiniZahavi, Mino Raiola, Kia Joorabchian and Jorge Mendes are some of world football’s biggest agents who can command top dollar for their clients so you find some of the best paid players employing this powerful agents to represent them.

2.    HOW’S THE TRANSFER FEE SHARED?

There’s no universally agreed sharing formula but the basic transfer fee goes to the selling club and, depending on the agreement, the player’s agent may also be paid either by the selling club or the buying club. The play MAY also be entitled to a percentage if it is stated in his contract but this is not automatic. Where the player makes his money is in the personal terms which he signs with the new club so it is possible for two clubs to agree on a fee but for the player and intending club to fail to agree on personal terms. A player could also agree on personal terms only for the two clubs to fail to agree on a transfer fee. In either case, the deal will not go through.

3.    WHO PAYS THE WAGES OF A PLAYER ON LOAN?
Except in extra-ordinary cases, it is the duty of the new club to match the wages of the player. However, if the two clubs have an agreement, the parent club will be expected to bear a percentage of the wages, particularly if they are the ones wanting to get the player off their hands. A good case was when Emmanuel Adebayor was on loan at Tottenham (before making the move permanent). City did not want a player of his calibre being paid so much money to sit on the bench without playing (since he was no longer in Roberto Mancini’s plans) so they loaned him to Spurs who claimed they could not afford his weekly wages. The Citizens were thus forced to pay a percentage of his salary until the end of the loan period.

4.     WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PLAYER BEING RELEASED AND WHEN HE GOES FOR FREE?
In both cases, it means that the services of the player are no longer required by the club so he’s being let go. However, a player is said to go for free when he has reached the end of his contract and the club refuses to give him a new deal but if a player is released, it means he still has a subsisting contract which the club is willing to terminate either due to declining productivity or for any other reason.

5.    RELEASE/BUY-OUT CLAUSE: This is the minimum amount for which a player will be allowed to leave the club before the expiration of his contract. Once another club is ready to match that amount, the parent club is obliged to allow the player talk to the intending club and see if a deal could be struck. That was exactly what Arsenal tried to do when they offered the now famous £40m+1 for Luis Suarez. However, these figures vary from player to player and the exact terms are also different. CR7 reportedly has a £1bn buy-out clause with Madrid.

6.    TRANSFER REQUEST: A player wanting to force a move away from his club while he still has a valid contract can tender a transfer request for the club’s consideration. The downside for the player however is that the club will be at liberty to determine the price at which they are willing to let him go and this is usually very high, sometimes too high that the intending club is scared away.

7.    LOYALTY BONUS: A recent phenomenon, most top players now demand that particular amounts are paid to them if they achieve some certain milestones like winning the league or some other important competitions. Conversely, some clubs also include loyalty bonus in their players’ contract as incentive and motivation. For example, Manchester United will pay Robin van Persie a whopping £10m if he should stay until the end of his contract.

8.    MEDICALS: This is a formality in which a player is expected to undergo a comprehensive medical examination to determine is physical fitness before he’s committed to a contract. And, yes, players do fail medicals. Our own KanuNwankwo’s heart defect was discovered during a medical examination at Inter Milan while Liverpool pulled the plug on signing Loic Remy this summer for the same reason. However, he’s signed for Chelsea because the team’s doctors and other heart specialists convinced Mourinho that it was nothing serious.

9.    HOW’S A PLAYER’S SALARY DETERMINED?
The same way our own salaries are determined: by the values, both long and short term, which he’s expected to add to the club. Age, experience, pedigree and a good agent are some of the reasons some players get a better bargain than others.
Have I left out any question unanswered? Kindly let me know.
This is a formality in which a player is expected to undergo a comprehensive medical examination to determine is physical fitness before he’s committed to a contract. And, yes, players do fail medicals. Our own KanuNwankwo’s heart defect was discovered during a medical examination at Inter Milan while Liverpool pulled the plug on signing Loic Remy this summer for the same reason. However, he’s signed for Chelsea because the team’s doctors and other heart specialists convinced Mourinho that it was nothing serious.

9.    HOW’S A PLAYER’S SALARY DETERMINED?
The same way our own salaries are determined: by the values, both long and short term, which he’s expected to add to the club. Age, experience, pedigree and a good agent are some of the reasons some players get a better bargain than others.
Have I left out any question unanswered? Kindly let me know.
En savoir plus sur http://isoccerng.com/blog/2014/09/transfers-frequently-asked-questions#9RC1lOvTpbzCqI4a.99

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