The real reason why Aubameyang went on a free transfer (which the media won’t tell say)

By Nobo Dypays

Much has been made of how Arsenal were so inept and stupid in the transfer window that they let Aubameyang go to Barcelona on a free transfer when they could have sold him for a lot of dosh.

If only those clever people from the media had been on the case.  Except…

In fact, according to Fifa only 14% of all transfers last season involved any payment at all.   Indeed the free transfer is the new normal. But why is that?

The reason is that when there is a transfer fee, a lot of that money doesn’t end up with the selling club.

First there is the sell-on fee.  In this case the previous holder of the player’s contract (in Aubameyang’s case Borussia Dortmund), would most likely have a clause in their contract saying they will take part of that sell-on fee.  Sometimes as much as 33%.   Certainly we know that Real Madrid took around 15% of the £44 million transfer fee that was paid by Paris St Germain to  Manchester United for Angel Di Maria.  Some are privately quoting 25% as the new norm.

Second, the agent will take a percentage.   Sport Resolutions report that the fees paid for the services of agents involving transfers was over half a billion dollars in 2021.    And that is just the money reported to Fifa.  If you believe that all agents are dead straight, above the board, and always telling the local tax office about all their dealings then it is half a billion.  

But if you think that sometimes money is paid off the record by the selling club to the agent in order to encourage the deal, well, you have a pretty low opinion of clubs and agents.  Although you could be right.

Fifa has been trying to install a maximum level for agents’ fees for years.  Indeed  Fifa’s idea is that agents’ fees should be no more than 10% which for a start tells you that a lot of them are currently way above 10%.   They also want a cap of 3% of the player’s salary for services to the player in getting the new contract.

But they are nowhere near getting that and  Fifa are moaning about “excessive and abusive” practices by agents. In one case this year an agent received 112 per cent of the transfer fee” for a transfer from a French to a German club.  The £25m transfer fee just became a £53m transfer fee.

The story is that one club when paying this sort of money out, put it on the books as”Roof repairs” to hide it from Fifa.

Then there is a levy to be paid by the buying club to the League the player joins which goes into the local country’s pension scheme for footballers.   It is usually 4% of the transfer fee.  OK only 4%.  But add it to all the other bits above and it is getting quite big.

For we haven’t yet got to the lawyers.  It is not unknown for the selling club to have to pay both parties’ legal costs.    And to show just how huge this amount is getting, when “clubs’ spending on transfer fees shrank for the second year in a row (-13.9% in 2021 and -23.4% in 2020), the “intermediary service fees” slightly increased by 0.7%.

Got that? Transfer fees DOWN by 37.3%.  Intermediary fees UP by 0.7%!!!!!!!

And in addition to the sell-on fee due to a previous owner of the rights to play the player, the clubs involved in the player’s early development could each by asking for 5% of the subsequent transfer fee.  That is becoming quite common. A free transfer gets around that.

And there is more still, because if the player’s new club wins something there will be bonuses to pay.  In fact, some clubs now insure against success not least because selling clubs are likely also to require an extra payment if their ex-player wins a trophy with his new club.

And still we are not there because many leagues (including the Premier League) now have a compensation scheme for out-of-contract players under the age of twenty-four, paid for by a levy on transfers.  Indeed this really came to clubs’ attention when in April 2016, the Compensation Committee in England gave the largest compensation ever awarded to Burnley FC stemming from Danny Ings’ move to Liverpool.  Liverpool protested, but to no avail.

Next: image rights compensation.  Take a player in England who is very popular.  He signs a deal with SuperDuper Cereals and is shown eating these cereals or at least appearing to eat the cereals for breakfast.

As a result, lots of youngsters and even some oldsters buy the cereal and give up their previous cereal of choice.   But the player leaves the club, and the rights to the player’s image are now worthless.  Worse if the cereal company has booked TV commercial slots a long way in advance and spent a fortune on making the various videos of the player and the cereal, that money is wasted.  Compensation is required.

However, all of this stops if there is no transfer fee, (which also applies if the player is seriously injured).

So the benefits of a free transfer mount up.  And indeed because of the legal and other professional costs of a player, it can well be better to sell the player for nothing than to sell a player for a tidy sum, since there are not only any add-on costs, there are also far lower legal fees and no long-running disputes about financial details, which is what you get when two sets of lawyers in two different countries start arguing.

In reality, had Arsenal sold Auba to Barca they could have been worse off than they were from giving him away.  Almost certainly, giving Auba away was a clever move.

The tricks they play in order to keep knocking Arsenal

15 Replies to “The real reason why Aubameyang went on a free transfer (which the media won’t tell say)”

  1. Arsenal sell Anelka, Nasri, Adebayor etc for a fee, untold says Wenger is a genius, Anelka money built us a training ground, Wenger sold players to keep the club afloat bla bla bla. Arsenal sell Auba for free, untold say, oh we weren’t going to see much of that money anyways because that’s what happens when there’s a fee. So which is it? I know the motto if untold is “supporting the club, manger, players etc in all they do”(much better than supporting the Lord Wenger in all that he does though) but Honestly Tony sometimes it’s better to be silent on some things

    I was there … among the PSG fans (i’d got my ticket at the PSG store), not far behind dicko when he delivered that cross actually (his duel with ginola was epic, that night – on the left nigel was outstanding too)
    Every time I see a player NOT celebrating a goal (scored against a former club of theirs – which never happened back then), i think of my refraining self that night
    call me a coward if you like , but PSG fans were notoriously feral then … anyway, what a night it was
    as for highbury … ever since it was torn down, i see arsenal as some kind of grievous Davy Jones having carved out its own heart, and locked it away in a dead club’s chest, for betraying the goddess of football
    when will the spell be broken?
    that is the question, isn’t it?

  3. Looks like Man Utd are going to go 5 seasons without a trophy.

    Now when we went 5 years without a trophy we were absolutely slaughtered, day in, day out, even by our own fans.

    We were cut absolutely no latitude from the media and fans alike despite the fact we were paying for the stadium and actually had a Nett PROFIT over the 5 years of £34 Million.

    Quite remarkable, especially when you compare it with Man Utd who have managed to spend an eye watering £400 Million, Nett, in their efforts to win nothing for 5 years, and just for good measure haven’t even managed to stay in the top 4 every season either.

  4. @Nitram,

    yep, FA CUP is not a trophy when Arsenal win it, and it is for any other team…. when did Arsenal win it last by the way ?

  5. @UKP,

    are you aware that the weather keeps changing, so do the times ? And yes, the figures have been computed that show the Emirates have been financed by Barcelona, City and a couple of other clubs who bought Arsenal players at their peak in terms of potential market value and yes : Thank you Mr Wenger for doing it right.

    As of today, as Tony has explained it, things have gotten quite more complex, everyone wants to think they will profit from the next golden goose egg and because quite a few people do not want to share, they find workarounds.

    So you pseudo irony is just the expression of someone who has either not really rad what was written in the past or the present or not understood what it was about and tries to sound smart against all odds.

    At least a few of us will have had a good laugh reading your comment, so thank you for not being silent and removing all doubts.

  6. Chris

    “when did Arsenal win it last by the way” ?

    Just for you Chris:

    13-14 4th FAC
    14-15 3rd FAC CS
    15-16 2nd CS
    16-17 5th FAC
    17-18 6th CS
    18-19 5th
    19-20 8th FAC
    20-21 8th CS

    Yes I know we would all rather we were back in the not a trophy trophy top 4, but only Arsenal could post such a fantastic run, and yes it is a fantastic run, and get the ridicule we get.

    Heaven knows what abuse we’d of received had we performed like Spurs other those 8 years, who’s achievements, just for a bit of context read:

    13-14 6th NOTHING
    14-15 5th NOTHING
    15-16 3rd NOTHING
    16-17 2nd NOTHING
    17-18 3rd NOTHING
    18-19 4th NOTHING
    19-20 6th NOTHING
    20-21 7th NOTHING

    I know we shouldn’t really make comparisons like that to poor old Spurs because as a club they are simply not in the same stratosphere as us and honestly, when you see it graphically laid out like that, it’s frankly embarrassing for them, but you wouldn’t believe it the way they’ve been constantly lorded and admired over those 8 seasons compared to the abuse we get.

  7. Unfortunatley, UKP, your comment seems to lack context. Anelka, Nasri, and Adebayor were situations where we wanted to keep the players and the players wanted to leave. In this instance, our management wanted the player to leave. In addition, none of those players were on stratospheric wages during a time when many teams are cash poor. A free transfer was a good way to achieve the aims of the club while at the same time reducing our wages bill.

  8. GGG

    I don’t know why you bother really mate. Anyone who sees fit to take the piss out of Wenger really doesn’t have a clue.

  9. @Nitram,

    thanks for your moral support about my potentially failing memory…..but rest assured I know when we won trophies…. so my question was just sarcastic…

  10. Chris

    I know that my friend.

    If I’m honest I just like repeating it for the sake of the numskulls who endlessly criticise everything we do.

  11. Chris

    And here’s some more for you, just because I enjoy doing it.

    Over those 8 seasons we went to Wembley 13 times.

    We won 12 of those matches.

    Beating Chelsea 4 times

    Beating Man City 3 times

    Beating Liverpool once.

    Our 1 defeat was in the Carabao Cup final to Man City.

    That there is an amazing record, simply amazing.

    Yet we are endlessly accused of having no leaders. No fight.

    You don’t do that without leaders and fight.

    Amen !

Comments are closed.