Unless you’re managing PSG, Man City or Solihull Moors, chances are your transfer budget simply won’t stretch to the players you really want. Don’t give up hope of signing ‘the one’ just yet. Whilst no amount of budget tinkering is going to bring Messi to Mansfield Town, there are ways to boost a transfer budget and sign players whose value might seem to put them out of your reach.
Here’s how to squeeze more out of your transfer budget.
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Pay transfer fees in instalments
The easiest way to make your transfer budget stretch further is to pay for players in instalments, instead of paying the entire fee up front.
How to do this? Let’s say you’re after a player that’s worth £8.5m, but you’ve only got £2m to spend. Set the initial fee to £1m and then under additional fees, select Instalments. Use the drop-downs to select ’12 monthly’ and then put £7.5m in the fee box. Then select three instalments from the drop-down menu. That means that you’ll pay only £1m in this transfer window, but for the next three summers you’ll need to pay £2.5m to the selling club. And because you’ve only spent £1m this year, you can repeat the trick on a second player and still be within budget, getting you two players you seemingly couldn’t afford.
Note, this isn’t free money. That £2.5m will come out of next season’s transfer budget. To be 100% clear on this, if your transfer budget the following season is £5m, you’ll lose half of it to the committed spend. The club doesn’t take into account those existing commitments when setting your budget, so be careful that you don’t massively overcommit on instalments or you’ll be in the brown stuff with your board.
Take money from the wage budget
f your wage budget is much higher than your current wage spend, you can slap some or all of that into the transfer budget. Click Finances > Make Budget Adjustment and fiddle with the sliders to see how much extra you could put in the transfer kitty.
Be bloody careful doing this, however. Leave yourself a fair bit of breathing space (at least 10%) between your current wage spend and the new wage budget. Why? Because boards get very twitchy when you’re close to or over the wage budget and start clawing back the percentage of transfer revenue you get to keep from player sales. That’s disastrous when it comes to raising funds from future player sales, as you might only get to keep 10% or 20% of the proceeds.
If you’re close to the bone on wage budget, a star player asking for a pay rise mid-season could push you over, or might mean you’re not even able to offer him the money he wants. Also don’t forget to take into account the wages of the player you’re planning to sign!
Sell transfer clauses
If you’re struggling to find a few million quid down the back of the sofa, then an instant way to raise funds is to sell a few transfer clauses.
Big clubs (and even the tiddlers) often have loads of previously sold players where the club will be owed money in the future for sell-on clauses, international appearances, etc. You’ll see these in Transfers > Clauses.
Often, your board will have negotiated a cut-price fee, meaning you can sell this clause for an instant budget boost, instead of waiting for money that might never come. The ones available to sell are marked with a £ sign.
Look for clauses that offer a percentage of profit from a future transfer fee, as these are often the most lucrative – and the ones least likely to pay better dividends in the long term.
Try before you buy
Another good way to get players you can’t really afford is to loan them for a season, with the promise of a future fee.
The key here is to agree an ‘optional’ future fee, rather than a ‘mandatory’ one. You ideally don’t want to commit to signing a player in case he turns out to be a bit Dele Ali.
I find this a good way to get transfer listed players, with clubs often willing to take a lower optional transfer fee than they would if you tried to buy them outright.
Offering a massive optional transfer fee you’ve no intention of ever paying is also a good way of getting players for a year that you wouldn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of buying otherwise.