How do Football Transfers Work?
Football transfers in the modern game have grown in importance and complexity as the years have gone by steadily. Soccer transfers simply explained is the sale and acquisition of a player’s services for an agreed sum. This usually occurs during a limited period in the year called the transfer window. Nowadays the dynamics of the transfer system has shifted to favor the player, who through their agent has been able to negotiate lucrative contracts for their services. The key turning point was in 1995 with the Bosman ruling. This was a case instituted by Belgian professional footballer Jean-Marc Bosman against his club then RFC de Liege. The ruling by the European Court of Justice made it legal for a player to become a free agent after his contract with his club had expired. This effectively now gave players the power and freedom to work out better deals for themselves. This has impacted how the transfer process also works. So, what exactly goes during the whole transfer rigmarole?
Transfer Process Between Clubs
Today a soccer player is usually under contract with a football club. Another club that is interested in buying the said player will usually make a bid. A bid is the proposed amount of money you want to buy the player’s services for. If the selling club is satisfied with your bid, the formal transfer process would then be activated where things like player wages, agent fees, sell-on fees, etc will be discussed.
Clubs who do not want to sell their most talented players usually place hefty valuations on such a player to ward off interested teams. In the eventuality that a club is able to meet that valuation, this is called activating the sell clause. In all of this, the wish and desire of the player will be considered. If a player under contract decides that he doesn’t want to leave his current club then he will not be sold against his will.
However, clubs try to get around this by excluding such a player from the first-team squad banishing him to train on his own or with the youth team. In all of this, the club is obligated to continue to pay the player’s wages until his contract expires.
Transfer Process Between Club and Player
When a club has their bid accepted to buy a player from another team, they will still enter into another round of negotiation with the player to thrash out issues surrounding wages, bonuses, appearance fees, image rights. This is when you will hear that the club and prospective player have agreed on personal terms. This will then be harmonized with agreements made with the selling club as well on things like a percentage on a future sale of a player, profit on the potential of the player, etc.
However, it’s important to note that if the other club refuses to sell then the personal agreement between the player and other clubs will be of no use since he won’t be joining them anyway. This is where the advantage of being a free agent comes in. A player who might want to leave a club can choose to wait till his contract ends and then sign with a club as a free agent. This will enable him to negotiate a better deal for himself without having to pay a dime to his previous club.