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It is important to learn how to negotiate transfer deals effectively so you can make the most out of your transfer budget and avoid damaging your club's finances.

You can make a transfer offer for a player by selecting Make An Offer from his Transfer drop-down menu. This will take you to the Transfer Offer screen. By default this screen will show the terms that can be included in a transfer offer. If you want to make a loan offer instead then you can use the drop-down at the top-left of the screen.

If you want to buy a player but do not want to negotiate a transfer deal for him yourself then you can delegate this responsibility to a member of staff by adding the player to your transfer targets list from his Transfer drop-down menu.

1. Making an Enquiry

Before making a transfer offer for a player you might want to make an enquiry by selecting Make Enquiry from his Transfer drop-down menu. The club may then respond with a set of terms that they are willing to accept for the player, which you can use as a starting point in negotiations. Although, a club will often respond by dismissing your enquiry, in which case it could be difficult or impossible to obtain the player for a reasonable price. However, you might still be able to sign the player by bidding in excess of the minimum estimated cost, if any, shown on the player's scout report.

2. Judging the Value of an Offer

When making a transfer offer for a player you are essentially trying to reach an agreement with the player's club on the value of the player. This is a different concept to the estimated value shown on the player's Profile or Attributes screens. The value of your transfer offer represents how much you are willing to pay for the player (how much you value him). If this is acceptable to the club then the transfer will be agreed.

An estimate for the value of an offer is shown by the potential value in the information on the right of the Transfer Offer screen. This is the maximum amount of money the player's club will receive from your club for the player before any payments related to a future sale of the player to a third club.

The potential value is equal to the fee, which is the amount to be paid to the player's club immediately upon his transfer, plus the full, maximum amount payable of any additional fees that you choose to include in the offer. Additional fees can be amounts paid in equal instalments over time (which are actually slightly less valuable than the same amount paid immediately) or amounts paid if and when particular conditions are met during the player's time at your club (which are actually less valuable than if the amounts were to be paid with certainty).

Players to exchange and additional clauses are not included in the potential value.

Therefore, the potential value does not take into account the fact that some fees will be paid in the future and some fees are uncertain, nor does it take into account the value of exchanged players or how additional clauses might affect the club's view of the bid. You should therefore consider these factors in addition to the potential value when assessing the value of your offer.

3. How Much to Offer

When making your first offer for a player, assuming the bid is not a response to a successful enquiry, the fee will in most cases default to the player's estimated value. However, you should not use this amount as a basis for forming the value of your offer.

On the other hand, if the player has as asking price, as would be the case with a transfer listed player, then the fee will default to this amount. In this case the default fee does form a reliable basis for the value of your offer. The club will most likely accept a bid for this value if they are happy with the structure of the offer, but you may still be able to make an acceptable bid for a lower amount.

If other club's have already bid for the player then you will want the value of your offer to equal these. A lower offer will most likely be rejected, while if other bids have already been accepted then there is no point in bidding more. Any bids that have been made will be shown on the player's Transfer Status screen or on the right of the Transfer Offer screen.

If no other clubs have made a bid then you should base the value of your offer on the estimated cost shown on the player's scout report, even if this means bidding below the asking price. The report should be dated recently as the estimated cost will change over time. The estimated cost is normally shown as a range rather than a single amount, and so you should generally start by making an offer valued slightly below this range before negotiating upwards. If another club bids for the player then you may need to increase the value of your offer to match.

In some cases the estimated cost is equal to the player's release fee, a fee that must be accepted if offered due to a clause in the player's contract, in which case you could start by bidding under this amount before increasing your offer to match the release fee if necessary. However, a release fee cannot be activated using additional fees, as the whole amount must be paid up front. The information on the right of the Transfer Offer screen will inform you if a release clause will be activated by your offer. You should not include any additional fees or additional clauses in your offer if a release clause is activated.

3.1. Transfer Budget

The amount you can offer is subject to your transfer budget, which is shown on your club's Finances screen, as well as on the right of the Transfer Offer screen. This is the maximum amount your board will allow you to spend on transfers. However, they may also allow a percentage of transfer revenue (fees received from players sold) to be added to the budget. This percentage is also shown on the Finances screen.

If your transfer budget is not high enough then you may be able to increase it at the expense of your wage budget by clicking Budget Adjustment on the right of the Transfer Offer screen. You will need to be under budget on your wages to do this.

Another way to keep an offer within your budget is to offer more in additional fees that are to be paid in future seasons, and less up front and in additional fees to be paid during the current season. The amount of your offer that will be deducted from the current season's budget is shown by the transfer budget cost at the bottom of the screen, while the information on the right provides details of the amount that will be deducted from future budgets.

Asking the Board to Sign a Player

By asking your board to sign a player on your behalf you may be able to buy players that you would otherwise not be able to afford given your transfer budget.

For some players who could be important signings for your club there will be an Interact With Board button on the right of the Transfer Offer screen. This button may also be available on the news item that appears in your inbox when a club responds to an offer.

Clicking the button will take you to the Board Meeting screen where you are able to try to convince the board to buy the player by selecting a reason why the player should be signed. Often the board will reject this request, however, particularly if the player is an unrealistic target. If they agree then the player will most likely be signed, but the board may end up paying a large sum to bring him in that could damage your finances, as well as leaving you with no remaining transfer budget for the rest of the season.

4. Transfer Offer Options

4.1. Basic Options

Other than the fee, the basic options that can be set in your transfer offer are the transfer date, the flexibility of the offer and the decision deadline.

The transfer date should usually be set so that the player joins immediately (or in the next available transfer window if the window is currently closed), but it can also be set so that he joins at the end of the season. Delaying the transfer until the end of the season can help you to keep your wage spending down if you do not need the player immediately. Your transfer budget for the season though, will be reduced as soon as the transfer is confirmed. It can be useful if a player will be leaving your club at the end of the season (perhaps due to his age or because he wants to leave) and you will need a replacement. It is also a good way to give a developing player first team experience if he is not yet good enough to play regularly in your team. The loan back clause, discussed later, would also achieve this but would require your club to pay the player's wages during the loan.

The flexibility of the offer can be left as negotiable unless you have no interest in increasing your offer further, in which case you can click the Negotiable button at the bottom of the Transfer Offer screen. Often though, a non-negotiable offer will be rejected with no response possible. Alternatively you can make individual terms non-negotiable at any point during negotiations by using the padlock items next to each term.

Similarly, the decision deadline should generally be left as no deadline as the club will be less likely to accept an offer under their valuation if they are given a deadline, particularly if there are other clubs interested in the player. You may want to set a deadline, however, if there is no other interest and either you are looking at various potential signings and so need a quick decision or the transfer window is drawing to a close.

4.2. Additional Fees

Additional fees can be used to help your club afford the player more easily by either:

  • spreading out payments over time - monthly instalments, fee per league appearance; or
  • deferring payments until a particular condition is met - fee after league appearances, fee after international appearances, fee after minimum league goals, fee after promotion.

Using these fees means that you can pay some of the overall cost out of future transfer budgets and reduce the amount that will be deducted from the current season's budget. As such they can help you to spend more on transfers than you would otherwise be able to. However, because delayed and uncertain payments are less valuable to the selling club you will have to offer more (in terms of total possible payments) than if you paid the full amount up front. The longer payment is spread out for or the more unlikely payment is to be made, the more you will have to offer overall. The selling club will attach no value to unrealistic targets such as a defender scoring 20 goals.

You should therefore be very careful not to pay too much in additional fees as this can seriously damage your finances. To check that you are not overspending on a player by paying too much in additional fees you can compare the value of your offer to the estimated cost in the player's scout report. You should not have to pay much more than the estimated cost.

Despite this, additional fees can be effective if used well. The fee per league appearance and fee after league appearances ensure that you pay an extra amount only if the player is featuring regularly in your first team. If the player is not a success then you will save on his overall cost. Such fees can be particularly useful for young developing players where there is no guarantee that they will become good enough to justify the amount demanded by the selling club. The fee after international appearances and the fee after minimum league goals can be used similarly, although the latter is only really relevant to strikers and other attacking players.

The fee after promotion can be useful if you are signing an expensive player in an attempt to get out of your current division, in which case your club will earn extra income to help meet the extra payments. You will save some of his overall cost if your attempt for promotion is not successful.

Uncertain fees such as these will, however, add more to the maximum cost of the player than certain fees such as monthly instalments or, to an extent, fee per league appearance will.

4.3. Additional Clauses

Additional clauses can provide an added incentive to the selling club and allow you to reduce the fee and additional fees offered.

The percentage of profit from next sale and percentage of next sale clauses are generally the most likely clauses to be wanted by the selling club, although they are less valuable for older players whose value is only likely to fall in the future. They involve paying the selling club a portion of any amount received from a future sale of the player to another club; either a percentage of the net profit (selling price less buying price) or a percentage of the whole selling price respectively (meaning the latter clause is of higher value to the selling club). However, these clauses can make it more difficult to earn a net profit on a transfer. In particular, if you are buying a young, developing player then his value could increase considerably and you may end up forfeiting part of a large profit if you later sell him; therefore, you should try to keep the percentage low if you do include such a clause. If you do not expect to be selling the player until after he passes his peak though, then including one of these clauses could be a good idea.

For a young, developing player especially, the selling club might be interested in a buy back price clause, which would allow them to buy the player from your club at any time for the amount specified. You should be careful if offering this clause though. For a developing player the buy back price should be significantly greater than the cost of the transfer, while for a developed player who you are less likely to make a profit on it can be set closer to the transfer cost.

Including an arrange friendly clause can be effective if the selling club has a much lower reputation than your club and could therefore greatly benefit from such a fixture.

Another clause that can sometimes be very useful when buying from a lower reputation club is loan back length. This involves the player remaining at the selling club on loan for the specified period of time, which can be a number of months or until the end of the current season or the next season, while your club will pay his wages. This can be very attractive to the selling club if the player is an important player to them but perhaps wants to leave to join a bigger club, as it will enable them to retain his services while saving the cost of his wages and ensuring a transfer fee is received. Therefore, in such circumstances it can be very effective in helping you to reduce the overall transfer cost. In addition, you can benefit from the player gaining match experience at the selling club, especially if he would not be likely to play for your first team straight away.

4.4. Players to Exchange

You also have the option to offer one or more of your own players in exchange, which will reduce the amount that you will need to offer in fees. As well as this, exchanging a player can make it easier to sell a player who you no longer want or who will be surplus to requirements if the new player is signed.

Such an exchange is only likely to be accepted by the selling club, however, if they have shown an interest in the player or players you are offering, or if they are looking for a player in the same position or positions. This information will be displayed on the right of the Transfer Offer screen if relevant.

Even if the club does accept though, a transfer deal that includes a player for exchange can only go ahead if all players concerned agree contract terms. A player offered in exchange is more likely to agree terms if he has been transfer listed and given a not needed squad status.

To add a player to exchange select Players To Exchange as an additional fee, then select Add and either choose a transfer listed player or click Other Players From Squad to go to your Squad screen. From here you can add a player by accessing his profile and selecting Exchange Player.

5. Continuing Negotiations

When you are happy with the terms of your offer you can click the Make Offer button at the bottom of the screen, which will send the offer to the player's club for consideration. You will receive a news item in your inbox when the club have made their decision.

Alternatively, you can use the Suggest Terms button to receive an instant response from the club. The club will let you know immediately if they are willing to accept the offer, but if not then you will have to send another offer for their consideration.

After considering an offer the club will sometimes respond with a negotiated offer that they would be willing to accept. If you are happy to negotiate then you can continue discussions by making an offer somewhere between your original offer and the negotiated offer. On the other hand, if you cannot risk taking time over the offer, perhaps because other clubs have made bids or you are worried about missing out on other possible targets, then you might want to accept the demands of the negotiated offer.

If the club choose to reject your offer rather than negotiate then you may want to try again with a higher offer, especially if the player's scout report includes an estimated cost that he believes the club will sell for.

If at any point you are not willing or able to increase your offer then you can cancel it by clicking Cancel Offer or Reject Offer.

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