My video games tend to lean towards either the sports side of things or the tycoon genre. The FM series is a mix of both those loves. I approach FM first as a business simulator, with the added benefit of scratching my football itch.

One of the most exciting things in-game for me is the hunt for new players. The negotiation. Getting that what I want out of the deal without breaking the bank.

I found that some of the clauses that you can offer to clubs or players are fascinating when it comes to getting what you want, but that they can also severely hinder your progress in the long run. In this article, I will look at five of the most dangerous ones.

5. Sell on fee release percentage

A clause you can use both when dealing with clubs and with players. A quick way to make the selling club more interested in departing with that young talent. Also, a good way to make sure that said talent will join your club when offered in their contract.

Unfortunately, also an excellent way to throw money out of the window. Many managers use this clause to get the deal done. The player joins your club, and all is well. Except it isn’t.

What you have done is signed away future income, gambling on a player who is talented but often unproven. The selling club will get money in the future, perhaps the player as well. And how much will be left for you?

You might be lucky, sell him for big money and a few million land in your bank account. Great. But then it will still be much less than you could have earned if you’d left these clauses out.

Most players won’t make you that much. When you sell them it is either at a small profit, break even, or even a loss. And in those cases, this clause will cost you dearly. After having paid his salary for a few years, you also have to share the meagre income of his transfer with him and those he used to play for.

Use this clause sparingly, and only if you are quite certain that this is the player that is worth the risk.

4. Salary increase after X number of matches

Quite a useful clause when signing a player who is actually a bit beyond your reach. Luring him in with the promise of an increase in salary after having played a few matches can be tempting. It also can be risky. Because it is not guaranteed that the player will actually play well in those games. You might end up with a sub-standard player that earns more than his fair share of the work he is putting in.

When I try to get a player to sign, for me, this is a last resort. When I do it, I go in, aware of the risks and mostly offer a short (1-2 year) contract. Therefore, when the contract ends I can either let him go or offer a new contract, with often an increase in salary on the initial contract, based on actual merit, not on my hope.

3. Contract extension after X number of matches

Basically the same idea as under the previous one. An unusual yet intriguing clause to get a player to sign for you, but also one to monitor very strictly.

You do not want to end up extending the contract of a player who is not doing his work for the team. Players who don’t play well tend to be hard to sell and your other options, like terminating the contract or letting him while away in the B-squad usually leaves both you and the player with resentment and lost money.

Better to reserve this clause for players that actually add something to your team or for the occasional gamble with a player who can be very interesting but who, due to your constraints has to be signed on a short-term contract first. Make sure you monitor his progress tightly so you can decide early on whether his results warrant an extension or not.

2. Minimum transfer fee release clause (in any form)

I really can’t remember the number of times I created huge problems for myself with this one. For example, I bought this really great left winger who was the revelation of the league below mine. He was ready to show what he was worth in the top tier. I picked him up on a great contract, but he insisted on signing on with a minimum fee release clause for foreign clubs in his contract. I was so thrilled to have pried him out of the hands of the traditional top 3 in my country that I agreed.

And he did so well. He played 1 of the 4 seasons of his contract for my side. 29 matches, 19 assists and 13 goals. Great! Then interested clubs in Spain and England came and offered what I thought was way too little for this gem of a player.

But I was unable turn down their offers as they offered the, in hindsight, ridiculously small release clause fee I agreed upon. So this spectacular player went to an English side for 5 million euros. About two-thirds of what I could have received had I not agreed to the minimum release fee or at least negotiated it to a higher sum.

I made money, quite a bit for my small side, but still, way less than a bit more caution could have brought me. Despite this, I still occasionally use this clause, but only when I can set it high enough to be interesting even when a player succeeds.

1.Match highest earner

Unless you really have no idea where to go with your money, don’t use this one. On the outset, it seems so benign. You believe this player to be of great value, so what’s the harm in having him earn as much as your current high-value player?

Nothing really.

But as you progress from season to season, new top earners should hopefully match the rising profile of your club. Whilst the big money clubs won’t blink about a few thousand here and there, for most clubs that is still an enormous amount of money.

Worst still is that those players often don’t match their salary in terms playing time as they get replaced by better quality players. Nearly every time I use this clause I end up regretting it. So its really only once or twice every 20+ years on a save that I deem it necessary to use. Even then there is a huge risk involved. Use with extreme caution, please.


Philip · March 30, 2017 at 4:20 pm

I tend to use the automatic contract extension for older players if I’m not sure how well they’ll age. That way, if they feature regularly, they get a new deal but if they’re out of the team they get released. Also a good way of getting an extra year out of a promising youngster at his lower wages.

American Guardiola · March 30, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Great piece!

Okocha · March 31, 2017 at 5:01 pm

I know this unpopular but I never do appearance fee or unused substitute fees. If you are a striker, I will give you a goal bonus, but that’s it. If you are goalkeeper or defender you get a clean sheet bonus, but appearance fees? no way.

MattK · July 14, 2017 at 11:09 pm

You forgot “Relegation Release Clause,” which should be #1 IMO. If you are a newly promoted club, a lot of better players will force you to include an insanely huge relegation release cause of often times 1-10 million. If you are relegated, this can wreak financial havoc upon your club.

5 Clauses That Will Lead To Bankrupcy (Unless Properly Dealt With) - FMBible · April 11, 2017 at 9:27 am

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