Transfer Fee

A Transfer Fee in soccer is a fee required in some transfer deals. Unlike with free transfers, there is a certain amount of money that two clubs have to agree on before the deal. UEFA overlooks transfers in Europe. Some factors that affect a transfer fee are:

  • Current contract length of a player – this means that players who usually have more than one year left on the current contract will have a higher transfer market value. Clubs have a tendency to offload players who won’t renew a contract that runs out next year. Even bigger pressure is put on clubs during a winter transfer window when players who only have six months left on the current contract won’t renew it.
  • Injury history – players who often tend to be sidelined are usually not the ones signing strong multi-year contracts. Clubs are usually looking to avoid signing players who may potentially sit out a whole season while receiving the full salary.
  • Current age – the younger the player, the more likely the new club will offer a bigger contract. A good comparison would be between Kylian Mbappé and Cristiano Ronaldo. The age difference makes Mbappé a more valuable asset even though Ronaldo is considered one of the best players of all time.
  • Disciplinary issues – some players tend to have disciplinary problems with their current employers. After ending their relationship with the parent club on a bad note, they usually struggle to sign a multi-year contract with a club on the same level.

What kind of fees are there?

Fees can also vary depending on the type of deal the two clubs decide to make. Even if we take out the usual transfers that include fees out of consideration, we can also notice that some leagues prefer asking for a certain loan fee for a loan transfer.

Loan fees are not as common as the aforementioned types of deals but are still an effective way of condoning business.

Clubs can also try to lower the asking price of a certain player by offering one of their players in return. A combination of a player plus fee is often a popular choice.

What is a Buyout clause?

Almost every player has a buyout clause in their contract. This means that if there is a club interested in a player with a buyout clause, the club in question can easily activate it and pay the amount stated in the contract. That was the case in 2019 when Barcelona activated Griezmann’s buyout clause and signed the player on a five-year deal.

Are transfer fees higher during the summer or the winter?

Even though transfer fees can vary depending on the window, traditionally, big transfer deals are done during the summer. That way, the clubs have more time to adapt newly-signed players to the squad.

Summer transfer windows are longer than the winter ones, which gives clubs more time to think about their next move. Panic buys are usually associated with the winter transfer window, but even those don’t make up for all the deals concluded during the summer. The Premier League is usually associated with high-spending winter transfer windows.

Let’s take a look at an example of a transfer that included a huge fee:

Kylian Mbappé’s move from Monaco to PSG in 2017 was initially a loan deal, after which PSG agreed to buy his contract. The total transfer fee for this move was €145.00m. According to several sources, Mbappé’s market value at the time was around €120.00m, which was lower than Monaco’s asking price that PSG accepted.

PSG decided to invest a huge amount of money into a young top-tier talent that could be a worthy asset in the future. The deal proved to be more than successful, which is not always the case when this much money is involved.

What are some of the highest transfer fees ever?

  1. Neymar – from Barcelona to PSG in 2017 for €222 million
  2. Kylian Mbappé – from Monaco to PSG in 2018 for €180 million
  3. Philippe Coutinho – from Liverpool to Barcelona in 2018 for €145 million
  4. João Félix – from Benfica to Atlético Madrid in 2019 for €126 million
  5. Antoine Griezmann – from Atlético Madrid to Barcelona in €120 million
  6. Jack Grealish – from Aston Villa to Manchester City in 2021 for €117 million
  7. Romelu Lukaku – from Inter Milan to Chelsea in 2021 for €115 million
  8. Ousmane Dembélé – from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona in 2017 for €105 million
  9. Paul Pogba – from Juventus to Manchester United in 2016 for €105 million
  10. Gareth Bale – from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid in 2013 for €100