Gonzalo Higuain or Marouane Fellaini; Why Da Ting Takes So Long To Sign?

to another week of
“What’s the score?!”
– So Arsenal’s first signing of the transfer window was
on Monday last, 1st July 2013. Yaya Sanogo is now officially an
Arsenal player. He is certainly talented despite his young age, and Arsène
Wenger is probably the best at scouting young talent from France as his track
record does prove over the years. Yaya Sanogo is definitely one for the future,
not the instant fix, but from what I’ve seen of him, he will certainly have an
impact, and don’t be surprised to see him often during the forthcoming

At the time of writing this
article, no other announcements have been made a yet, but we can expect a
‘major’ signing in due course, no doubt, with Gonzalo Higuaín being constantly touted as the
first possible big name. Rumours of Wayne Rooney, Marouane Fellaini and Cesc Fabregas will
not go away either. Let’s just be patient! (bloody hell)

What I can
tell though is this, and it comes directly to me from the Communications
Department at Arsenal Football Club. No announcements are ever made until
everything has been finalised and agreed on all fronts. That is the Arsenal
way, but that doesn’t mean that there are no talks or progress in the

what is involved in negotiating a contract?

Although my
background is law, my speciality is matrimonial and family law, not negotiating
football contracts. However, contract law is contract law.

With many supporters
complaining of how long it takes for a deal to be done, I thought I would take
a brief look at what is involved. As I say, this is a brief overview and should
not be considered by any stretch of the imagination as in depth or exhaustive. Additionally,
there are many out there who specialise in this line of work, so it is only an
unbiased look of what is actually involved:-


an informal approach is made between the two clubs but not always. In any
event, for any transfer to proceed further, a written offer will then be made
by the purchasing club for a player, and the selling club may reject or accept
any bid. The two
parties will then negotiate back and forth until a fee is agreed. Additionally,
it is not uncommon for a club to contact an agent directly to work on their
behalf and ask them to find a buyer for a particular player. Of course, with
most players under contract, particularly the top players, many have a buyout
clause proviso written into their contract setting a minimum fee the selling
club would be prepared to accept. That often is the stumbling block and many
deals fall at this first hurdle.

Sometimes, a player’s agent may
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.

Once the fee is agreed…

A fee can be
agreed, but it does not always mean a move will go through. Once the fee is
agreed however, it is then the job of the agent to agree personal terms on the
player’s behalf.
The agent is there to secure the best possible deal for his client (normally
the player) and this can often take a while to complete. Professional and
financial issues will be taken into consideration such as: where the player is
going to play, the wage and the length of the contract.

It is always about the negotiation, and
often compromise on both sides. The agent wants to realise a player’s value to
a club, while the club will be looking to minimise their outlay wherever
possible. That is business, and of course, football although the sport we all love,
is actually business too which often supporters overlook.

Issues which arise in the negotiation process may

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

A signing-on
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 the remainder is split over a couple of years.

Payments and Image Rights…

Fine-tuning a deal is to be
honest what normally takes the time, and some of the major aspects can include
negotiating the following:

A player
will get a loyalty bonus 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 money is £xyz, 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 rounds
of the cup and so on… In addition, you can also have goal scoring bonuses, a
clean sheet bonus, international bonuses and award bonuses.

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 renegotiated after five
first-team starts.

Clauses can also be included
which depend on whether a club is relegated (Fortunately, Arsenal don’t have
that problem!) If this happens a player may have it in within his contract that
he will be released or can speak to other clubs if a certain fee is tabled.

Image rights
: 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.


The Agent’s
role in the transfer/contract negotiation process is paramount no matter how
the agent may be perceived.

As in every walk of life, there are
good agents and bad agents. I have been fortunate enough over recent years to
meet a few very good agents. It is different now to how it used to be, with
agents being bona-fide and registered as the first requirement before a club
will even entertain dealing with them. Ultimately, the agent is looking out for
the best interests of the player he represents, similar to an agent for a
musician, actor and the like. 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. Often they may negotiate a transfer that doesn’t
happen so they get paid nothing for their time or expenses.

As indicated above, on occasion
you may find a club will retain the services of an agent to ‘go and get’ a player on their behalf.
Although it may not be public knowledge, I am aware of an agent being employed
by Arsenal to obtain the services of Andre Asharvin when he joined the club
from Zenit St Petersburg.

Agents cut – 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 an agent which is sent off to the FA, Premier League and/or
Football Association.


The medical
is not usually carried out until a fee and deal in principle has been agreed.
Sometimes this is done once the fee between the two clubs is agreed, at other
times it is once the fee and personal terms have been agreed too. On the odd
occasion, if there is issue with the players medical or injury history, the
medical is carried out before personal terms are agreed.

the medical is carried out (certainly for the bigger clubs) at the clubs own
training/medical facility or a local private hospital. However, as long as the
medical is carried out by a professional in conjunction with the doctor and
medical staff of the buying club, within reason, this can be done anywhere.

the deal is complete…

everything is signed and sealed, 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
Premier League club. The Football League and FA if the transfer involves a
player moving to a Football League club. Players moving oversees have
documentation lodged with the relevant Association within that country.

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

The Presser…

The famous press conference when
the player is seen with or without the manager by his side holding the club
shirt with his name embroidered on the back is a sight most of us enjoy seeing.
However, as to when this happens is usually determined by the clubs involved. I
say that simply because it is accepted etiquette that both selling club and
purchasing club agree when the announcement is made, but it doesn’t always
happen that way:-

Although it was not a sale, such
an example was seen this week when Hamburg unveiled Johan Djourou on their
website before the loan agreement had been finalised.

The Actual Contract…

Finally, a
copy of the Standard Premier League Contract is available here
for those of you who are really interested. Although it runs to some 17 pages,
it does set out the standard terms and conditions. However, like all
contract(s), it should not be considered exhaustive, as changes and/or
additions are often made, but it gives you a clear idea of what is included.

A very big
thank you to my learned friend; @JvdLD
for sending me the link. Thanks John. For those who don’t follow him on twitter,
get following now. A good guy, and of course, a Gooner!


In conclusion, the finalisation of a contract can be a simple or complicated process. With paperwork going between lawyers on every point as with any type of contract.

As detailed and lengthy as contracts appear, if a player is unhappy at a club, then a contract may seem worthless. Invinciblog has explored unique ways to make them more meaningful and return the power to the club instead of vesting it in the player. For an animated look at his proposals, please click here.

I would be interested to know your views or thoughts on the whole contract scenario. Please feel free to leave a comment below, or send me a tweet@jeremylebor. I always reply! 

it’s not worth knowing… Jeremy knows it!

here is yet more useless trivia about our beloved club!

Question? – Who is the only
Arsenal player in the current first team squad to have played for the Gunner’s
at Highbury? (Answer at the bottom of this blog!)

Thanks once
more to my good mate, the
not so fat London Taxi Driver
for the above stat.

Did you know? – Marouane
Chamakh is one of only three players
to score six consecutive Champions League goals, in consecutive matches, albeit
with two clubs, Bordeaux and Arsenal.

to Gunners Town own Steve Jobs; @invinciblog
for the above useless stat!

If you have any ‘trivia’ about either the team or the club, then please let me know
and I will gladly post them in this section… The wackier the better! – Tweet me


Whether we
buy two, three or four players in this transfer window, you can be sure as
night follows day, it is not a simple exercise. However, I have no doubt Arsène
Wenger and Ivan Gazidis are doing what is necessary to make the ‘deals’ happen.
As frustrated as we all (supporters) may get, remember it is not always
straight forward as the process above shows. However, there is one way to make
the deals happen faster, become an agent! Haha (I didn’t say that!)

Lastly, and
many supporters may feel he was the one who got away, although Arsène Wenger
let him leave Arsenal for a reason, Ex-Arsenal striker Nicolas Anelka this week
joined West Bromwich Albion, his 23rd club apparently. Bloody Hell! He was the
£500,000 buy from Paris Saint-Germain that we sold to Real Madrid for £23m. Not
bad business, although he is clearly not as good as Nicklas Bendtner (but who

So, now you
know the score… until next week – Jeremy!

The only current
Arsenal first team squad player to play at Highbury is Abou Diaby (Johan
Djourou who although on loan for the next season, and is still technically an
Arsenal first squad player, also played at Highbury too.)- NB: Stats double checked with Arsenal btw!

Jeremy Lebor

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8 Responses to Gonzalo Higuain or Marouane Fellaini; Why Da Ting Takes So Long To Sign?

  1. Zenith November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am #

    One thinks he knows everything when it comes to contract related matters until one realises he didn’t.

    Good read

    • July 7, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      Thanks for your comment Zenith, really aprreciate it. Yup it can be frustrating at times, but it is not always as easy as many think to get a deal done… So many variable to consider.

  2. José July 6, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    YESS! I had DIaby 🙂 . Great blog.

    • July 7, 2013 at 10:52 am #

      Glad you enjoyed Jose, and yes, it is Diaby!

  3. July 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm #


    Just found your site by happenstance – and love it. Thoughtful content and well-written to boot, your site is a real gem.

    Washington, D.C.

    • July 7, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

      Thanks very much for your kind comments Johann. Glad you enjoyed, and please keep re-visiting us as we do have fresh content every day!

  4. James Savanhu July 7, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    are you working for arsenal gestapo?this is simple apolgism for arsenal every other club are kicking on and arsenal dithering. winning the league is also about decisive decision making. Fergie is the case in point, always bought to fix a problem and he never dithered. Weng could learn a thing or two.

    • July 7, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

      Thank you James for taking the time to comment. However, I thing perhaps you are missing the point of the article, which is to give an unbias view as to how the transfer process actually works. Additionally, unlike most other clubs (including most top European teams) Arsenal always keep their cards very close to their chest and reveal little or nothing until a deal and signing has actually been completed. Because no announcemnts of any sort have been made thus far, it doesn’t mean that there are no negotiations going on in the background.

      As for working for Arsenal. Nope, I am just a season ticket holding supporter like the other 60,000 plus, and I too get frustrated that nothing substantial seems to have happened yet. However, unlike many, I do believe the doubters wil have plenty to celebrate in due course. As I have said many times on this site, whether you are an ‘in Arsene we trust,’ or ‘Wenger out’ supporter, it be foolish to right off Wenger or the team at this point. Both Wenger and the team have a point to prove… I believe both will succeed!

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