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A guide to player contracts in Football Manager

Buying and selling players is one of the most exciting parts of Football Manager, giving you the chance to mould your squad to your own personal taste.

In addition to operating in the transfer market, it’s also hugely important to ensure that you are on the ball with contracts for your existing players.

Getting to a point where you are totally happy with your squad isn’t easy, but should undoubtedly be the main aim for every FM boss. Read on as we look at player contracts in Football Manager.

Retaining your star players

In an age where many managers moan about the power wielded by players when it comes to contracts, it is imperative that you prioritise retaining the club’s biggest stars.

As highlighted by David de Gea’s contract negotiations with Manchester United, it can be a long-winded process to keep hold of your top players, but just like a club’s transfer business can lead to an uptake in signup offers and improved odds for future games, a key player’s contract extension can have a similar impact on the pitch and in the minds of bookmakers off it.

De Gea was first made a contract back in 2018, but it has taken United 18 months to finally agree a four-year contract extension with their goalkeeper.

Wages of £350,000 per week aren’t cheap, but still represent a saving on what it could cost to acquire a replacement of similar quality.

Beware of the clauses

Whether you’re negotiating with a potential new signing or an existing member of your squad, it is important that you pay close attention to contract clauses.

There may be numerous add-ons within each contract that can have a huge impact on your transfer budget.

Minimum fee release clauses, appearance fees, goal bonuses, promotion bonuses, loyalty bonuses and agents’ fees are amongst the requests you must pay close attention to.

By negotiating all of these elements you can save money on each deal and give yourself more finances to play with elsewhere.

Use expiring contracts to your advantage

One of the best ways to maximise your budget is to target players whose contracts are expiring over the next few months.

For instance, if United had been unable to tie down De Gea to a new deal, Europe’s top clubs would have been falling over themselves to snap him up on a free transfer.

Most players in the game can be signed up to six months before their contract ends, and you can make an offer at this point by using the ‘Approach to Sign’ option on the player’s profile.

By scouring through the list of contracts that will end in a few months’ time, you can pick up some top-class players while saving yourself millions in transfer fees.

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