- 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
- Making a transfer – the basics
- Making a transfer – delegating to your assistant
- Making a transfer – handling it yourself
- Release clauses – what are they, and what should you do about them?
- How do you know if another team is likely to play hardball?
- Loaning players
- Other tips
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.