Behind The Scenes Of Football Transfers

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Twice a year, at the end and in the middle, there’s a break in the most important football leagues. Those are the days when nobody talks about what happens on the field: all the news is about transfers.

But of course, instead of fans wishes or preferences about some players, there’s a huge business behind all that. While many people talk without any knowledge about this topic (many of them accuse clubs or agents), it’s interesting to take a look at the process.

Let’s start with young guys who have become professionals. Usually they signed their first contract with the club where they were playing in low categories. But at the same time, many of the most important clubs from Europe have their own recruiters who travel around the world looking for young prospects. When they see those players, they talk to them or with their clubs, in case they have already signed a contract.

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Well, agents are hired by more and more young players. Transfers can be made between clubs, between companies that own players (that’s more rare occasion), or can consider also the player’s agent in the negotiation. Usually, this last thing happens when the player has special interests that he wants them to be respected.

In other words, the buyer and the seller (clubs) have to get an arrangement with the agent about the contract. What has to be considered? Well, the duration of it, the salary of the player, bonuses in special cases (titles, goals, attendance), rules and documents of the transfer etc. In some cases contracts have some particular clauses, like for example that the contract may be terminated in some special circumstances or periods. Of course, there is a termination clause that allows clubs to sell a player before his contracts ends paying some pre-determined amount of money.

Who takes the part of the transfer?

By the way, agents can make special arrangement with their players. The most common is that they will earn a commission (usually less than 10%) for the sale when the agent is the one to get a buyer. This happens because sometimes the player wants to leave a club, so his agents needs to work looking for the ones that are interested and get a good offer. In other cases, the agents only take part in the negotiation.

Sometimes players make special arrangements, like giving a bonus to his agent for getting a contract much better than the last one. Anyway, agents have a salary, which sometimes is paid by the player and other times by the club. Some agents are very confident with their footballers (they usually work with more than one at the same time). On occasions they do not sign a contract. There are other cases in which many agents try to represent the same player and try to convince him (remember that this is a business) to let them represent him.

Of course, agents are not the only ones who take part in this. Club officials sometimes have a very important role in negotiations or in offering players (this is common in clubs that are in an economic crisis and need to sell). We often see the president or vice president of a club travelling around Europe doing this.

But, even when the formal part is between agents or officials, sometimes players consider the advice of coaches or potential new teammates. For example, when one footballer is going to be sold to a team located in a new country and there’s one compatriot in it, his word is very important. In other cases, the coach is the one who talks with the players to tell them what is waiting for them upon their arrival.

Going back to the transfers, how much time does one takes? It’s difficult to say. As in other businesses, it depends on how fast both parties get to a deal. For example, Tottenham didn’t want to sell Gareth Bale to Real Madrid so that transfer took most of the two months of the transfer window. On the other hand, sometimes an offer appears and the player takes it immediately, especially on the transfer deadline day. Usually it takes a couple of weeks for the whole operation.

At the same time, the economy of one country is one thing that clubs consider when they want to buy or sell players in the international market. For example if the local currency of a Latin-American’s country depreciates, European clubs know that the Euro has more value and they don’t need to spend so much.

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