Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 23:06 GMT
Transfer deadline day
Wednesday, 31 January 2007

By Mandeep Sanghera

The transfer window will shut at midnight on Wednesday and there will be a frantic struggle as teams try to squeeze in deals before the deadline.

Last-minute bids, talks between clubs and contract negotiations are likely to dominate the day in a flurry of late activity.

BBC Sport gets the ins and outs of a transfer from leading agent Alex Cowdy of Touchline Soccer Ltd.


A written offer will be made for a player and the selling club may reject or accept any bid.

The two parties will then keep going backwards and forwards until they negotiate a fee.

Clubs may also contact an agent to work on their behalf and ask them to find a buyer for a particular player. This situation can arise if a player is not playing games.

An agent might also speak to a club who decide that for whatever reason it is in the best interests of a player to leave. An agent would be given permission to speak to other clubs and given a specific fee the sellers have in mind for the player.

You then have to delve through your contacts and I will either speak to a manager or a chief scout at a club.

In the summer, a player might be out of contract and you can spend quite a bit of time phoning clubs and trying to place a player at a particular club.

As an agent I will also speak to managers and chief scouts and ask which positions they are looking to fill. They might say we need a left midfielder or a big striker with pace and you have to check whether there is someone available for them in their budget.

If a player who I represent is under contract then a written offer will have to be put in to his club.


A fee can be agreed but it does not mean a move will go through. But, once it is, then the job of the agent is to agree personal terms on the player's behalf.

The agent is there to secure the best possible deal for his client and this can take a little time.

Professional and financial issues will be taken into consideration such as: whether the player is going to play, the wage and the length of the contract.

It is a bit of negotiation and compromise. The agent wants to realise a player's value to a club while the club will be looking to minimise their outlay as much as they can.

If the player is of a certain level the club will be prepared to offer him a better package than for a less valuable player.

Issues which arise in the negotiation process include:

  • An adjustable salary: This would see an increase in salary year-on-year and after a certain number of appearances.

  • A signing-on fee: This is a payment the player gets for signing for a club, although this may vary and depend from league to league.

    At the larger clubs you get a payment when you sign and then a fee split over a couple of years.

    Aston Villa winger Ashley Young moved from Watford to Villa Park in a 9.65m deal
    West Ham agreed a fee for Ashley Young but he decided to move to Aston Villa

    If a number of clubs have agreed a fee for a player then he will weigh up a number of aspects.

    These may include whether he is going to play more at one club than another, the package he is getting and how much he will have to uproot his family.

    It often comes down to a wide range of reasons but for most players, first and foremost, it can be about how many minutes on the pitch they are going to get.


    There is plenty to be done in fine-tuning a deal and some of the major aspects can include negotiating the following:

  • Loyalty bonus: A player will get this for seeing out his contract at a club and it will be paid on the last game of the season in the final year of a contract.

  • Appearance bonus: If appearance money is X then you would get 100% for a start, maybe 50% for a playing substitute and 25% as a non-playing substitute.

  • Other bonuses: There can also be bonuses paid if a team wins the league, a cup, qualify for Europe or make a certain round of the cup.

    Often when a young player signs his first professional contract with a club after graduating through the academy they might get a bonus on their first-team debut or after a certain amount of games. Their contracts are usually also re-negotiated after five first-team starts.

    In addition, you can also have goalscoring bonuses, a clean sheet bonus, international bonuses and award bonuses.

    Clauses can also be included which depend on whether a club is relegated. If this happens a player may have it in his deal that he will be released or can speak to other clubs if a certain fee is tabled.

    Personal terms can sometimes take a bit of time with big players as there are more issues.

  • Image rights ownership This is an important issue in contract negotiations.

    In short this is ensuring that the player has the right to control commercial use and exploitation of his image, voice and likeness.

    Agents may help their players set up their own image company and the club may come to an agreement that the player can keep hold of his image rights and the club will pay the player for use of his image.


    It is up to the player to concentrate on playing and the agent to take care of everything else.

    What I say to my players is that I am there to advise them and take care of everything off the pitch.

    I provide them with a comprehensive representation package: from contract negotiations and commercial opportunities to lifestyle openings and wealth management services.

    Ultimately, the transfer decision will be discussed between the agent and the player, who may also speak to his family.

    The agent should be doing things in the best interests of his player and, along with his player, will have to consider the standard of facilities at the club. Decisions may come down to the ambition of a club.

    Also, sometimes personal terms cannot be agreed and deals can look like they are going to happen and then fall through.

    After discussions with the player, he might decide he wants more money, not be happy with certain clauses or want a shorter or longer contract. It is then the agents job to tweak the clauses.

    As part of a deal a player will also have to undergo a medical.


    An agent can only be remunerated by one party. An agent will in most cases negotiate a fee with the buying club.

    The club will then pay this as a lump sum or in annual instalments. Any fee due to the agent is recorded in the documentation relating to agents which is sent off to the FA Premier League and Football Association.

    Of paramount importance to me is the happiness of my clients. You have to be a pretty unscrupulous agent to stop a player's move going through because of demanding high fees.

    Having said that agents may have put months of work into facilitating a transfer and, as such, are entitled to be paid for the work they have undertaken.


    Once everything is sorted certain documents need to be lodged with the relevant authorities for the transfer to be approved and registered.

    Documents are lodged with:

  • The Football Association and Premier League if the transfer involves a player moving to a Premiership club.

  • The Football League and FA if the transfer involves a player moving to a Football League club.

    The documents include the transfer documentation, the financial agreement between the two clubs, the players contract, the players registration, the players bonus schedule, and any forms relating to agents.

    January sales
    30 Jan 07 |  Premiership
    Transfers - January 2007
    30 Jan 07 |  Transfers
    January transfers in photos
    24 Jan 07 |  Photo Galleries
    Young completes 9.65m Villa move
    23 Jan 07 |  Aston Villa
    Owen Hargreaves column
    30 Jan 07 |  Football


    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
    Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

    Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us