Impact of players running down their contracts

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Don't remember this being a thing a decade ago, but more and more we're seeing players running down their contracts for a nice signing on fee and massive wages.

Players are the heart of football and I don't begrudge them for looking after themselves, but honestly I don't think there's enough money in football for this nonsense.

One club paying another club meant that money stayed within football clubs, but now money is being drained from football clubs into the pockets of players leaving on a free and agents. In any other business I'd be happy if employees are making as much money as they could, but football clubs genuinely don't make the kind of money that can handle this growing trend long term. I know that we could benefit from this at some point, but all in all I think it's a terrible trend. Clubs need to be much more aggressive in selling players before their contracts expire. PSG are basically re buying Mbappé, it's becoming a joke.
 

Ish

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Wenger called it over a decade ago, didn’t he? Anyway, a contact is a contract. Players running down their contracts risk an injury and not getting a renewal. Clubs get rid of unwanted players all the time. I don’t really see an issue with players running down their contract - as frustrating it must be for us when we lose out on a potential transfer fee.
 

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It started when stupid clubs started to pay huge sign up fees. Before the players had no incentive in running down their contracts.
 

JPRouve

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Transfer fees aren't the norm in other sports, free agency is. Players sign contracts and leave when it ends. No one is forced to offer contracts they can't afford, the same way no club is forced to offer transfer fees they can't afford or to speculate on future gains.
 

Someone

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Transfer fees aren't the norm in other sports, free agency is. Players sign contracts and leave when it ends. No one is forced to offer contracts they can't afford, the same way no club is forced to offer transfer fees they can't afford or to speculate on future gains.
That works when nobody has to pay transfer fees. But you sign a player for a fortune and lose him on a free, then another club pays him what otherwise would've been a transfer fee paid to the club. This means that money is being drained out of clubs.
 

Cloud7

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That works when nobody has to pay transfer fees. But you sign a player for a fortune and lose him on a free, then another club pays him what otherwise would've been a transfer fee paid to the club. This means that money is being drained out of clubs.
Then the solution is for clubs to stop paying ridiculous transfer fees to each other. The money in football quite rightly should go to the players not the administration.
 

JPRouve

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That works when nobody has to pay transfer fees. But you sign a player for a fortune and lose him on a free, then another club pays him what otherwise would've been a transfer fee paid to the club. This means that money is being drained out of clubs.
That's clubs decisions, nobody has to pay transfer fees and players don't have to leave before the end of their contracts. Surely you realize that the only reason transfer fees are a thing is because there is a big financial gap between clubs which allow the wealthiest to attract players with the prospect of better contracts and can convince poorer clubs to let their players go against money? It's a system based on disparity and you are trying to protect the ones that have money and intend to make more on the back of others.

Free agency, players and club respecting the terms of the contract they signed is the way to go and has always been.
 

Crashoutcassius

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It would regulate itself if the oil money left, which is likely will one day
 

El Jefe

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I mean when Declan Rice is being valued at £150m why wouldn't players and clubs wait until their targets were available on a free.

From 2016 to 2021 the most obvious thing in football has been how risky mega transfers are. Pogba, Hazard, Neymar, Coutinho, Dembele, Lukaku, Grealish, Maguire have all been terrible value for money transfers.

Its just too much of a risk nowadays to pay the transfer fees, agents fees and wages for some of these transfers. It's also the reason why players like Zaha, Milinkovic-Savic, Koulibaly haven't left their current clubs. The potential outlay for the value is not worth it.

Free transfers cut out the middle man (selling club) and works out better for both the player and club getting the player. It's going to happen lot more often now.
 

R'hllor

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Good for them in general, specially if you have to deal with clubs like Arsenal, United etc. Trying to milk every penny possible from initial contract, delaying contract renewal as much as possible, suddenly power shift changes and then its to late, after which players being painted as disloyal, them leaving for free is a cnut move because club bought them for transfer fee and similar drivel.
 

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Only solution, wage bill caps based on league average revenue, with some individual positive adjustment for the big earners and some individual negative adjustment for those who earn way less. Make certain the wage cap isn't more than 50% apart between the richest and poorest team of each league, and of course it needs to be enforced by FIFA and UEFA and not just a single league.
 

Lay

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I can't be mad at it. Signed a 5 year deal and honoured it? Cool.
 

Adisa

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It's a good development. The concept of trasfer fee is archaic.
 

B. Munich

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It's a good development. The concept of trasfer fee is archaic.
You would be right, if players didn't get a sign up fee. But as it is now it's just the players pocketing in the huge transfer fees as joining bonus.
I rather prefer the money goes to the selling club. The players really earn more than enough already.
 

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You would be right, if players didn't get a sign up fee. But as it is now it's just the players pocketing in the huge transfer fees as joining bonus.
I rather prefer the money goes to the selling club. The players really earn more than enough already.
Exactly. The transfer fees are just turning into signing on fees. Even when there's a sell out clause like in the case of Haaland that he and his agent deemed to be below his value, City ended up forking additional payment for him and his agent. Clubs aren't winning anything here.
 

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I mean when Declan Rice is being valued at £150m why wouldn't players and clubs wait until their targets were available on a free.

From 2016 to 2021 the most obvious thing in football has been how risky mega transfers are. Pogba, Hazard, Neymar, Coutinho, Dembele, Lukaku, Grealish, Maguire have all been terrible value for money transfers.

Its just too much of a risk nowadays to pay the transfer fees, agents fees and wages for some of these transfers. It's also the reason why players like Zaha, Milinkovic-Savic, Koulibaly haven't left their current clubs. The potential outlay for the value is not worth it.

Free transfers cut out the middle man (selling club) and works out better for both the player and club getting the player. It's going to happen lot more often now.
Good point. It's crazy how the most expensive signings in history have mostly been failures.
 

JPRouve

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You would be right, if players didn't get a sign up fee. But as it is now it's just the players pocketing in the huge transfer fees as joining bonus.
I rather prefer the money goes to the selling club. The players really earn more than enough already.
Why would you prefer the money to go to the selling club instead of the people creating the value. A signing on fee is nothing else than a part of the salary, that is given up front. What you are suggesting is that money shouldn't go to players and instead be largely used to speculate on players value and also remunerate club's owner/shareholders.
 

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I think the inevitable outcome will be clubs are less willing to pay huge transfer fees for players on long contracts

And more clubs will wait for the player to have 0, 1 or 2 years left to get the fee down
 

dinostar77

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Transfer fees aren't the norm in other sports, free agency is. Players sign contracts and leave when it ends. No one is forced to offer contracts they can't afford, the same way no club is forced to offer transfer fees they can't afford or to speculate on future gains.
Good post. Could see a future where there are no transfer fees, would be a long way off and lots of EU laws to resolve before that day.
 

SilentWitness

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I mean when Declan Rice is being valued at £150m why wouldn't players and clubs wait until their targets were available on a free.

From 2016 to 2021 the most obvious thing in football has been how risky mega transfers are. Pogba, Hazard, Neymar, Coutinho, Dembele, Lukaku, Grealish, Maguire have all been terrible value for money transfers.

Its just too much of a risk nowadays to pay the transfer fees, agents fees and wages for some of these transfers. It's also the reason why players like Zaha, Milinkovic-Savic, Koulibaly haven't left their current clubs. The potential outlay for the value is not worth it.

Free transfers cut out the middle man (selling club) and works out better for both the player and club getting the player. It's going to happen lot more often now.
Good post and agree.

If you look at the PL record transfers it doesn’t look pretty.

City - Grealish - Miss, so far
Liverpool - VVD - Hit
Chelsea - Lukaku - Miss
Tottenham - Ndombele - Miss
Arsenal - Pepe - Miss
United - Pogba - Miss
West Ham - Haller - Miss
Wolves - Fabio Silva Miss, so far
Leicester - Tielemans - Hit
Brighton - Mwepu - Hit?
Brentford - Ajer - Not sure
Newcastle - Joelinton - Massive flop until v. recently - now a hit
Crystal Palace - Benteke - Miss?
Villa - Buendia - Miss, so far?
Southampton - Ings - Hit
Everton - Gylfi - Largely a miss but could be argued either way
Burnley - Ben Gibson - Miss
Leeds - Rodrigo - Hit
Watford - Sarr - Hit
Norwich - Tzolis / Rashica - Miss

I think for most teams in the league, especially the top sides it rarely ever works out. There are a few that are big signings for the top sides that do that aren’t too far off a record fee but I think it isn’t the big thing it’s made out to be.
 

JPRouve

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Good post. Could see a future where there are no transfer fees, would be a long way off and lots of EU laws to resolve before that day.
You don't need a single EU law. It's already the case outside of Football, transfer legislations are part of legal exceptions linked to Football, in some ways they are of collective branch agreements. The normal employment regime doesn't include transfer fees and even in the case of financial compensations transfer fees are in principal widely overvalued.
 

Rajiztar

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I am all for player gets the money instead of money grabbing clubs. If clubs need to avoid this situaton then give players their worthy money through contracts renewal earlier.Rudiger and christensen will be gone at the end of this season from chelsea. But situation was simply created by our board. They should have renewed the contract or sold them last season itself.Instead they played with their contracts and penny pinching. Then sanctions came from nowhere plans went south.Now losing defensive core and need to replace them with minimum 100 mn worth players.
 

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Real and Barca were mocked for their consistent renewals of Ronaldo and Messi’s contracts but the prevention of this is the obvious reason to do so.
 

Tavern in the town

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Clubs are partially to blame themselves by demanding extortionate transfer fees during the contract. Palace turned down 70m for Zaha at one point. Look how much West Ham are demanding for Rice. Even the Mbappe saga had PSG turning down a 160m euro bid for a player in the last year of his contract last summer. If football clubs weren’t so greedy players wouldn’t have to resort to this.
 

marktan

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Only solution, wage bill caps based on league average revenue, with some individual positive adjustment for the big earners and some individual negative adjustment for those who earn way less. Make certain the wage cap isn't more than 50% apart between the richest and poorest team of each league, and of course it needs to be enforced by FIFA and UEFA and not just a single league.
That just means the club owners would make an absolute killing. Much rather the money went to the players.

@ OP - Yeah the money involved in transfers has increased, but so has the amount of money clubs are earning. There's a reason why every rich man and their dog is trying to buy a club - sports rights and sponsorships are only going upwards. I'd much rather that money went to the players rather than some rich suit - they're the ones who've put the hard work, usually come from nothing and risk their bodies when playing.
 
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Iker Quesadillas

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Mbappe was going to be the game-changing free transfer of an extremely pricey player at the top of his game who left a massive club on a free, and in the end it didn't happen.

Instead we're gonna see more of the same, players who did not live up to expectations or whose clubs don't really want to pay them that much.

Power has yet to shift. There's still too much to lose for a player.
 

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Clubs are partially to blame themselves by demanding extortionate transfer fees during the contract. Palace turned down 70m for Zaha at one point. Look how much West Ham are demanding for Rice. Even the Mbappe saga had PSG turning down a 160m euro bid for a player in the last year of his contract last summer. If football clubs weren’t so greedy players wouldn’t have to resort to this.
On the flip side of this, they’re probably only greedy because they know some mug will usually cough up. The fees have gone mental these past 5 years, why wouldn’t they hold out for some of the action?

They might also actually want to keep the player. I remember some saying Napoli should’ve sold Koulibaly years ago, they won’t get top dollar for him now etc, but they’ve had 8 top seasons out of him. Maybe that means more than 60m quid - the same applies to West Ham and Rice. They might just be pricing him out of a move for football reasons. If someone comes in with obscene money then great but if not, he’s running their midfield for the next 3 years.
 

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I am surprised it has taken this long to be honest. How many years have passed since Bosman? 30?

It's taken basically until very recently for players to realise they have all the power and the money clubs spend on their services could/should ALL be going to them, in theory,
 

PedroMendez

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Unless we assume, that clubs, that receive (net) transfer fees pay out more money on non-football related issues compared to clubs, that pay these fees, the total spending on wages shouldn't really change. So the change from a system where transfer fees are common to a system where free agency is normal primarily changes the distribution of wages between players.
Initially nothing really changes for clubs, that are were able to run huge transfer deficits. Instead of spending money on transfer fees, the money is spend on additional bonuses/wages. Top players are the winner, because they get a bigger share of the revenue. Clubs, that were able to generate income through player sales, have less money. Consequently, they can pay their players less money. To compensate, these players have a bigger incentive to leave earlier proportionally to their individual bargaining power. The wage distribution is going to shift towards top players while "developing teams", will struggle even more to hold on to their best talents.

Teams like Benfirca, Porto, Ajax, Lille, RB Salzburg, Lyon, Braga, Sporting, Undinese are going to suffer with potential knock on effects for much smaller clubs, that are hard to understand. Not sure that this is particularly great.
 
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That's clubs decisions, nobody has to pay transfer fees and players don't have to leave before the end of their contracts. Surely you realize that the only reason transfer fees are a thing is because there is a big financial gap between clubs which allow the wealthiest to attract players with the prospect of better contracts and can convince poorer clubs to let their players go against money? It's a system based on disparity and you are trying to protect the ones that have money and intend to make more on the back of others.

Free agency, players and club respecting the terms of the contract they signed is the way to go and has always been.
Well said.
 

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The clubs can insert a clause that the contract can be renewed again for the same duration at the discretion of the club but with a x% increase in wages for the player.
 

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Players aren't forced to accept contracts. They will choose the best one on offer, the best one for them that is. Why on earth should a player sign one that would give him a maximum, ie limited, pay rise in x years time, however well he had been playing, and then only 'at the discretion of the club'? I just don't get what's so hard to understand about contracts - both sides have to like them.
 

JPRouve

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Players aren't forced to accept contracts. They will choose the best one on offer, the best one for them that is. Why on earth should a player sign one that would give him a maximum, ie limited, pay rise in x years time, however well he had been playing, and then only 'at the discretion of the club'? I just don't get what's so hard to understand about contracts - both sides have to like them.
People understand how contract works, they simply want to see their clubs exploit others.
 

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Why would you prefer the money to go to the selling club instead of the people creating the value. A signing on fee is nothing else than a part of the salary, that is given up front. What you are suggesting is that money shouldn't go to players and instead be largely used to speculate on players value and also remunerate club's owner/shareholders.
I should have been more clear. If all players would run down their contracts and there won't be any transfer fees, that's fine.

However, now most clubs paid huge transfer fees like e.g. United for Pogba. There is growing trend amongst players to refuse to sign extensions to pocket in huge signing in fees when moving or even when they decide to eventually stay.
First I think these players earn more than enough already and secondly running down their contracts can cause a lot of distraction within a team and even derail a season.
I'm convinced these contracts talks at Bayern caused distraction and are a key reason for the drop in form in March/April.
 

JPRouve

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I should have been more clear. If all players would run down their contracts and there won't be any transfer fees, that's fine.

However, now most clubs paid huge transfer fees like e.g. United for Pogba. There is growing trend amongst players to refuse to sign extensions to pocket in huge signing in fees when moving or even when they decide to eventually stay.
First I think these players earn more than enough already and secondly running down their contracts can cause a lot of distraction within a team and even derail a season.
I'm convinced these contracts talks at Bayern caused distraction and are a key reason for the drop in form in March/April.
I don't understand where you are coming from. The reason players run down their contracts is because their clubs won't sell them for reasonable fees or sell them at all, the increase in money means that clubs aren't in as much need of money from transfers. Everyone involved knows when the term of a contract is supposed to occur, so there is no reasonable reason for any distraction outside of genuine idiocy or immaturity. And free agency doesn't derail seasons in every single other sports on earth, so there is no reason for it to be a thing in Football and why would it be more of a distraction than the constant rumours about transfers that we currently have, do transfer fees soothe other players?
 

B. Munich

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I don't understand where you are coming from. The reason players run down their contracts is because their clubs won't sell them for reasonable fees or sell them at all, the increase in money means that clubs aren't in as much need of money from transfers.
Let's take the example of Gnabry. He got a more than fair offer equaling the deals of Coman and Gorezka. Still he doesn't accept the offer. Then Bayern wants to sell him this season but he shows no interest to move and rather prefers to run down his contract so he can move on a free transfer and pocket in a huge signing on fee next year.
Being a fan of the club and not a particular player I don't like this trend.
 

JPRouve

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Let's take the example of Gnabry. He got a more than fair offer equaling the deals of Coman and Gorezka. Still he doesn't accept the offer. Then Bayern wants to sell him this season but he shows no interest to move and rather prefers to run down his contract so he can move on a free transfer and pocket in a huge signing on fee next year.
Being a fan of the club and not a particular player I don't like this trend.
He doesn't have to leave because Bayern want to sell him, both parties agreed on an employment contract that ends next year. It's so strange that people write what you did without realizing how daft it is, the player is following the agreement that he signed.
 

B. Munich

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He doesn't have to leave because Bayern want to sell him, both parties agreed on an employment contract that ends next year. It's so strange that people write what you did without realizing how daft it is, the player is following the agreement that he signed.
You are right. He isn't doing anything wrong per se. Nevertheless, no club wants to get into this situation that players are in their last year of contract. Latest in January, when they can officially talk to other clubs, there is a lot of distraction. Nobody can be fully focused on the game when negotiating with other clubs the same time. If there are multiple players doing it, it will derail the whole season like it happened at Bayern this year.
 

JPRouve

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You are right. He isn't doing anything wrong per se. Nevertheless, no club wants to get into this situation that players are in their last year of contract. Latest in January, when they can officially talk to other clubs, there is a lot of distraction. Nobody can be fully focused on the game when negotiating with other clubs the same time. If there are multiple players doing it, it will derail the whole season like it happened at Bayern this year.
Again most athletes are in a free agency system and have no issue concentrating. What you are suggesting isn't based on reality, it's based on the fact that you are used to the transfer system and try to find every excuses to justify it. In fact I mentioned before but in Rugby for example players negotiate during the season, agreements are announced in the middle of the seasons and it bothers/distract no one, american sports are largely based on free agency and athletes have no issue focusing, they are not the ones negotiating and there is no reason for them or any player/coach to be distracted.

Also players negotiate and talk to clubs through their agents all the time during the season in the current transfer system.