FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

Key tips

  • Save before you begin negotiations. If they break down, you can’t resume them for another week
  • If you delegate a transfer purchase, save before your assistant reports back. The price he manages to secure can change each time you reload
  • Release clauses are randomly added when you start a career. Learn which of your players have them as soon as you start. Renegotiate their contracts if you’re not happy with the release clauses
  • Scouting a player before trying to sign him is important, otherwise you’re just fumbling in the dark regarding what to offer. Don’t be afraid to offer less than your scout’s recommended minimum fee


FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide – overview

In previous versions of FIFA, transfers were a very straightforward affair. You’d find a player you wanted, enquire about his price, then send in an offer. If all went well, you’d send a contract offer to the player. The whole process could take a few days, but it was very simple and left very little room for error.

In FIFA 18, things are very different. The new transfer negotiation system features animations of your manager sitting down with a representative of the other team to agree a fee for the player, then discussing the contract terms with the player and his agent. You can add sell-on fees, release clauses, scoring bonuses and much more. There’s a lot more to think about, but it’s far more realistic than in the past.

That has a few implications. You can no longer quickly enquire about a player and receive an asking price from his club; now, you have to scout him to get an estimated value. And neither can you simply put in an offer for a player – you have to shortlist him first.

In this guide, I’ll take you through the ins and outs of the new transfer negotiation system and show you how to get the most from it, the pitfalls to avoid and the things you might not have known about. Let’s get stuck in.

Making a transfer – the basics

At its heart, the transfer negotiation system can actually be pretty simple. You can still buy and sell players quickly and with relatively little effort. Let’s look at an example.

FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

Another team wants to buy one of our players

Here, I’ve received an offer of £1.6m for my player Matthias Lehmann. At 34 years of age, he’s one of the veterans of the squad. Given how fast he’s likely to start declining, I don’t mind lettering him go, and probably won’t get another offer as high as this one. I select ‘To Transfer Hub’ to see the details of the offer.

FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

The green box indicates how much we can expect to sell the player for

Hertha BSC wants to buy Lehmann for £1.6m. The section highlighted in green shows that we can probably expect to sell him for between £1.25m and £1.8m, so £1.6m isn’t a bad offer. I select ‘Show actions’ to choose what to do next.

FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

If the offer is satisfactory, we can simply accept it

The options here are ‘Accept offer’, ‘Reject offer’, ‘Negotiate’ and ‘Delegate’. We’re happy with the offer, so for now we’ll just select ‘Accept offer’.

FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

The player is now negotiating a contract with the other team

The page is then updated to say that the player is negotiating a contract with Hertha BSC.

So as you can see, conducting a transfer can still be very easy if you’re happy with the initial proposal. Now let’s take the next step and see how to assign transfer negotiations to your assistant.

Making a transfer – delegating to your assistant

If you’re not happy with the initial offer sent in by another team, you can hand off responsibility to your assistant and tell him to try to get a better deal.

Delegating transfers to your assistant works in largely the same way whether you’re buying or selling a player. You give your assistant a price to start the bidding at, and a price that he shouldn’t go beyond. Wait a few days (it’s usually about four days) and you’ll hear back as to whether he managed to successfully negotiate a deal, and for how much.

FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

Set parameters for your assistant when he bids on your behalf

This bit is vital: make sure you scout a player you want to buy before starting negotiations, otherwise you’ll have no idea how much to offer for him. The new system is trying to be more like how real transfers are conducted, where teams thoroughly scout players rather than just sending in an offer without knowing anything about them.

Your scout will say you may have to pay between x and y to get the player – if you delegate it to your assistant, it’s a good idea to set the starting bid a little below the minimum amount your scout recommends. The scout’s valuation seems to err on the side of caution, and you can usually get players for less than he suggests.

Because it takes a few days for your assistant to hammer out a deal, delegating transfers takes longer than if you dive in yourself – when you handle transfers, you can complete them in a single day.

FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

After a few days your assistant will tell you what deal he agreed on with the other team

A good tip is to save before your assistant comes back telling you what price he’s negotiated with the other team. The price he’s able to secure can vary every time you reload a save, so if you’re tight on cash it might be worth reloading a couple of times to see if you can get a better deal.

However, you might want to avoid delegating transfers if you can help it when selling players. For one thing, your assistant won’t always insert a sell-on clause into a deal when you’re offloading players. If you have a talented young player and want to make a pretty penny if he gets sold again, you’re better off taking charge of negotiations yourself. Let’s move on to that now.

Making a transfer – handling it yourself

Diving in and handling negotiations yourself is more time consuming, but can result in a better deal. There a few things to consider when making a transfer bid, so I’ll go over those now.

  • Release clause. If a player has a release clause, you can just pay this instead of negotiating a fee. This is usually a fair amount higher than the player’s value, though, so I’d only recommend you use it if the selling club is refusing to sell the player to you. I’ll cover release clauses in more detail later.
  • Transfer fee. Use your scout’s estimation of what fee to offer here. You can usually offer a little below this, so if your scout says you should start bidding at £8m, try actually offering £7.5m or thereabouts.
  • Player swap. When buying a player, you can simply offer a fee, or offer a player from your team in exchange. The other team will tell you what sort of player they’re after. If you have a player you’re keen to offload, this can kill two birds with one stone. Just make sure you don’t offer a player who is worth a lot more than the player you’re buying!
  • Sell-on clause. If you’re buying a highly promising player, rather than offering a large up-front fee, you can lower the initial payment and offer to give the selling club a portion of the price you receive if and when you decide to sell that player. If you’re on the other side and selling a high potential player, you could receive a nice bonus if the other team sells the promising player for a large amount. However, there’s not much point in adding a sell-on clause to a player who has little resale value. In that case, just stick to a standard transfer fee.
FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

A player swap deal can be a good way to save money on transfer fees

Once you’ve successfully agreed a transfer fee, you’ll need to agree on a contract for the new player. Once again, there are a few new things to consider:

  • Squad role. This tells the player how often you’re likely to play him in his new team. Use your scout’s report of the player to see his role at his current club, and use that as a guide. Also take into account the level of his club compared to yours. A crucial player at a lower league club might only warrant a rotation role at a big club, for example.
  • Contract length. You can offer a player between 1 and 5 years on his contract. If you have a highly promising player on your hands, it’s best to offer him a longer contract. If, further down the line, another club wants to buy him from you, a longer contract will help you get a larger fee for him. Note that the number of years you choose is the total length of the contract, not the number of years you are adding to his existing contract.
  • Release clause. This will be covered in detail later. In short, if another club triggers a player’s release clause, they can automatically offer him a contract without your intervention. More ambitious players who see your club as a stepping stone in their career are more likely to demand a release clause in their contract.
  • Salary. If you’re a big club buying a player from a smaller club, the player may be willing to lower his wage demands because he is excited at the prospect of joining your team. Conversely, a player from a large club is more likely to stick to his initial wage demands – he needs to be convinced to join a smaller team, after all.
  • Signing bonus. A signing bonus is a fee that may be given to a player when he signs a new contract. This isn’t something that only applies to new players – if you renegotiate a player’s contract, he will often ask for a signing bonus. Note that if the salary you offer to a player is satisfactory to him, he may not ask for a signing bonus.
  • Goal/clean sheet/appearance bonus. Performance-related bonuses can sometimes be demanded by players. You should be very careful with these – while you can use them as leverage to lower a player’s wages, for example, they could come back to bite you if that player goes on a scoring spree. Of course, you have to weigh the benefits of having a player scoring goals/keeping clean sheets against the cost those goals/clean sheets will have on your budget.
FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

Tie down a player for a number of years and he’ll be harder to pry away

My biggest tip when it comes to handling negotiations yourself is to always, always save before you begin them, especially if you’re buying rather than selling. If the negotiations fall through, you won’t be able to bid again for the player for another week. If there’s a lot of interest in him, that may be enough time for another club to step in and poach him.

Sometimes the player and agent will tell you want they want and it’s up to you to accept, reject or negotiate their proposals. Other times, the onus is on you to suggest something and see if they accept. The latter of course is a little trickier, as you don’t always know exactly what they’re likely to accept. It’s random as to whether you’ll have to propose the terms of the contract or listen to the agent’s demands first – another good reason to save before you enter negotiations.

Release clauses – what are they, and what should you do about them?

Simply put, a release clause is a figure inserted into a player’s contract. If another team decides to pay this figure, the selling club must allow the player to discuss a contract with the buying club. Note that EA has updated FIFA 18 so that you can now offer a player a new contract if another team triggers his release clause. You may have to pay a lot to convince him to stay, but at least there’s something you can do about it.

That obviously means it’s a very powerful thing to have in a contract. If you have a star player with a low release clause, you could end up losing him for far less than you’d like to. On the other hand, if you have a player with a very high release clause, it can deter other clubs from bidding on him – you can decide to simply reject all bids that are less than the release clause.

FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

It’s a good idea to exclude a release clause from negotiations if possible

Release clauses are randomly added to your players when you start a career. If you start a second career with the same team, different players may have different release clauses. In my tests, I had between four and nine players starting with release clauses, although this might be different for you. However, a player’s release clause (if he gets one) will always be the same when you start a career. The release clause of Lautaro Martínez, for example, is always £12.7m.

Due to this element of randomness, it’s very important that one of the first things you do when you start a career is check your players’ release clauses. To do this, go to the Squad Hub in the Squad tab, then scroll all the way to the Financial section on the right-hand side. A player’s release clause will be listed on the right-hand side of the screen, next to his wages.

If you have any players with release clauses that you feel are too low, you can renegotiate the player’s contract with him to either increase the clause or remove it altogether. Funnily enough, sometimes players will actually propose that you lower their wages, without any prompting from you. Depending on the signing-on fee and other bonuses, it could mean you save some money in the long run thanks to the lower wages they’ve asked for.

In the same update as the one that let you offer new contracts to players whose release clauses had been triggered, EA added the ability to let you delegate contract renewals to your assistant. However, I wouldn’t recommend this for players where you want to remove their release clause, as your assistant may not do that.

FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

Sometimes a player will be happy to take a pay cut when renegotiating his contract

Sometimes, a player will have a release clause that is very close to his listed value, or will only settle for a low one when negotiating his contract. You should avoid agreeing to this at all costs. A release clause should be set much higher than the player’s value because it completely takes you out of the equation. You have no say in sell-on clauses or the final sale value. Give a player a release clause that’s too close to his value and you lose all that control without gaining a higher fee in return. Therefore it is better not to have a release clause at all than to have one set too low.

When you’re deciding on a release clause, you should always be asking yourself this question: ‘Would I be happy for my player to leave for this amount?’ If not, don’t agree to it.

It is better not to have a release clause at all than to have one set too low

You need to take extra care when deciding on a release clause for a very promising player. You need to set one that is acceptable to you not only now, but after the player has started growing. Would you accept the release clause being paid when he has grown 5 OVR points? 10 points? When he’s your key player? There’s a reason Real Madrid gave Marco Asensio a £500 million release clause, after all.

Finally, if a club triggers a player’s release clause, they actually start negotiating with him a day or two before you get a notification email. That means it’s worth checking the Transfer Hub periodically; you don’t want to only get the email on transfer deadline day and not have enough time to find a replacement.

How do you know if another team is likely to play hardball?

A key part of pulling off a successful transfer negotiation is knowing what approach the other team is likely to take. Will they be willing to accept low offers, or will they storm out of the room? Will they try to include a hefty sell-on fee when you buy their player?

The easiest way to work this out is to look at the player himself. Is he a hugely promising prospect, or is he over the hill? This alone will tell you a lot.

For example, a team that has a high potential player on their hands is far less likely to want to negotiate his price down. They know he has a bright future, and if you’re not willing to pay his fee then another team almost certainly will. The ball is in your court, and you have to convince them to sell. This is made even more challenging if the player is not only highly promising, but also already an established first-teamer at his current club.

FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

You’ll need to carefully consider what fee to offer when buying a player

If the player is at a big club, you’ll have to work harder to get a lower fee. The club is already well off financially and probably doesn’t particularly need the cash, so there’s little incentive to accept a low fee. On the other hand, if he plays for a small club, they will be much more willing to negotiate because the money they receive will go a lot further for them.

If you’re going to bid on a player who isn’t getting much game time at his current club, you’ll be able to get a lower fee than if you were to bid on a first team regular. Seeing as he won’t be that important to his current club, you can likely get him for a bargain.

Loaning players

I’ve seen a lot of people complaining that it’s very difficult to loan players out in FIFA 18. Players will be added to the loan list, offers will come in, but the talks often break down.

From what I can tell, this may be to do with a player’s wages compared to what the other team is willing to pay. If you’re starting with a large team, your young players may already be on very high wages, and the other team simply cannot afford them.

Splitting the cost of the player’s wages between your team and the loaning club may help, and is worth trying.

If that doesn’t work, try to renegotiate your players’ contracts. As I mentioned in the release clause section, sometimes players will be willing to take a pay cut. This may then help them get out on loan.

If that’s no good, you may have to accept having them on your team. Play them in cup games or unimportant matches, or against teams that you know you’ll beat. In the meantime, give them a few training sessions each week to help their growth.

FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide

You may struggle to loan players out if their wages are too high

This seems to be less of a problem at smaller clubs. I tried this out at Köln in the German Bundesliga and had no trouble loaning out my young players, mainly because their wages were around £4,500. At a club like Chelsea, those same players might be on wages of £50,000.

If the issue is that you’re simply not getting loan offers in the first place, there’s a simple (but somewhat tedious) way to combat this. First, put your players up for loan and create a save point at the start of any given week. Advance to the end of the week – if you haven’t received any loan offers, reload the save and try again. Once you get an offer, save the game and use that as your new starting point. Then repeat the process until all your listed players are loaned out. Sure, it’s not much fun, but it gets the job done.

Other people have found that it’s very difficult to loan players in if you’re a lower league team, with the player in question often saying he doesn’t want to relocate. EA seems to have tweaked the importance of club reputation in FIFA 18, meaning that a player at a Premier League club probably won’t want to go on loan to a League 2 side because he feels the quality of football won’t be high enough for him to learn anything.

That means you have to reassess your loan targets. If you’re in League 2, try looking for players in the Championship or League 1. It’s a little frustrating that it’s now much harder to loan in talents from the world’s best teams, but it’s also more realistic.

Other tips

  • You’ll probably get quite a lot of transfer offers for your players, so it’s worth deciding which players you want to keep at the very start of your career. Once you’ve decided, go to the Squad Hub, find the players and select ‘Block offers’. This will stop pesky clubs bidding for players you don’t want to lose. However, this gets overridden if a player has a release clause – clubs will have to pay the clause amount if they want the player, but it’s still a way for them to sign him. In that case, I’d recommend renegotiating his contract to remove the clause. That way you can block approaches altogether.
  • This year you can agree a transfer at any point in the year, and the player will join/leave your club in the next transfer window. If you’re buying players, that means you need to identify and scout your targets as soon as you can, lest another team bids for them before you. Always keep an eye out on your targets and, if you see that another team is interested, make a move before you miss out on them.
  • There’s a bug that occurs if you’ve disabled the first window transfers and try to sign a pre-contract player in January. Instead of joining at the start of the next season, they sometimes won’t join until the following January. Hopefully EA will patch this soon. For now, try to avoid the combination of disabled first window transfers and buying free players in January.

So that wraps up my FIFA 18 transfer negotiation guide. Hopefully it’s helped you gain a better understanding of how the new system works. If there’s anything else you want me to cover, or if you’ve spotted something that I’ve missed, make sure to let me know in the comments below.

Comments 23

  1. Great work on the guide.
    I love it that you can finish up transfers in 1 day now, or especially in 1 hour on those closing days of the transfer window.

    But i also have one question: Is there still the possibility of players wanting out of the Club and the bosses just selling them for ridiculous low fees?
    I always hated it when my best youth player suddenly asked for a sell and i couldnt do anything about it, resulting in the board selling him for 5 Million or something instead of 20..

    But again, great guide, keep it up

    1. Post
  2. How do i make an offer for a player who’s transfer talks were broken down in the last transfer window?
    When I click on show actions in the transfer hub it doesn’t give me many options to proceed.

  3. New contract accepted by player but doesn’t change in squad hub financial, still states only a few months left. Doesn’t it save?

  4. How do you re negotiate a contract with a player already out on loan and with less than 12 months on their contract? Do I have to recall or will they be back with a couple of months left? Can they be bought on s free while on loan?

  5. Does the contract goal bonus apply per season or for the length of the contract? For example I have a striker on 3 year deal with 1 million for 10 goals could he get 1 million a year each year of the 3 he scored 10 or does it need to happen in the first year of the deal then it’s over or does he just need to score 10 in 3 years then it’s over? Hope that makes sense and you know how it works lol. Other then that bit not mentioned it was a great read

    1. Post

      It *should* be a one-time thing. As in, once he scores the first 10 goals in his time with you, he gets the bonus, but he won’t get it again if he scores 10 in the next season.

      That’s how it should work, but I haven’t been able to test it myself yet.

  6. Excellent as always. Didn’t know about the pre-contract January bug. Do we know if that’s just for the first January window or all of them? I just restarted my career mode after patch so don’t want to redo it w/same club a third time.

    1. Post

      At the start of the negotiations you should be able to offer a player swap, and can add cash from there if I remember correctly.

  7. Obvisouly, when you sell a young player with great potential, it is wise to sell him with a sell-on clause. My question is, do you get notified in your inbox when this happens? I mean, if the club he joins re-sells him later on. So do you just get the money and have to figure out yourself where it came from, or so you get a message in your inbox regarding how much money you earned on that sell-on clause?

    1. Post

      I would imagine you get told, but I haven’t seen it yet. It’s a good point though – knowing EA, the money will just go into your account with no explanation. Or it’ll be buggy and you won’t even get the money. I just hope that’s not the case!

  8. Hello all,

    I´m having problems to sell players. Playing in England League One, add an offer for an unhappy player, from a Championship team, but the negotiations always broke down. Can someone help me?

  9. This is a good guide, but I think that there is something important missing, in regards to buying high potential youngsters (which is what we mostly buy anyway), I suppose it also applies to any player that hasn’t reached their potential yet.

    Along the same lines as the “loan glitch”, when players move teams, their potential changes. After you buy a player, their status in the team hub says “Recently joined from….”, you won’t be able to see “potential to be special, or exciting prospect, etc.” until next season, or not at all if the player is over 22.

    My work around this is to save the game before the contract negotiation. You can see if their potential has changed by checking their value before and after the player has joined your club. The value is based on their OVR and their POT. If that value goes down when they join your club, their potential has gone down. Value up, potential up.

    It’s kind of like doing the loan “glitch” (though it’s obviously meant to be there), but with a player you’re purchasing now.

    You may want to keep it as it occurs because it’s more realistic. Some players are busts and maybe you buy one, some guys go way beyond their estimated potential now, maybe you get one of those. However, if you’ve purchased your favourite youngster and spent your entire budget on him, you may be a little pissed that they’ve gone from exciting prospect to great potential, especially if they’re just 21 now and you’ll never be able to see it later, just that they never ever seem to grow.

    First time comment, really like the work and tips you’ve put in to the site. Thanks.

  10. When swapping a player, the opposing clubs always ask for a RW or RB. It’s so annoying, please advise as I’ve been wanting to swap my CAM out

  11. I still don’t know how to get a club to accept a sell-on clause with young players. I’m in League One with Forest Green, doing a youth squad save, and when I go to sell young players with a sell-on clause, the buying club freaks out and states that it’s too far away from their valuation, even if I lower the transfer sum drastically. Admittedly, I have been applying sell-on percentages of 15-20%, but does anyone know how I can successfully do this? I’d rather avoid selling with a 1% sell on.

    1. Post

      Unfortunately I think you have to accept a lower sell-on fee (but not as low as 1%). In reality, sell-on fees can be quite high, but for some reason EA thinks clubs will accept things like 3%. That’s just not realistic, but unfortunately it’s what we have to work with. So if you lower your sell-on fee demand you might have more luck.

  12. I haven’t seen or been able to buy a player with money and add a player like in the FIFA games before.. is there a way, or does this not take place anymore in fifa18??

  13. I am trying to buy David Alaba as my LB and I accidentally clicked end negotiation. Now it doesn’t let me buy him. Will it let me get him in the January transfer window or next summer transfer window?

  14. I tried negotiating with a few players in the first transfer window. Talks broke down and now I can’t re-enter negotiations with the same players even though i’m now in the January transfer window. Can anyone suggest what to do?

  15. I don’t understand the part where they ask you to include cash in a deal during a player swap. I don’t see that option on the screen when this happens and the deal falls through

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