Unless you’re attempting a youth academy challenge, you will need to buy and sell players in Football Manager 2024. No matter if you’re managing a lower-league club with no budget, or an elite team with endless finances, you still need to be smart in the transfer market to make the most of your resources.
Player transfers can make or break your season. Mid-season signings can take your team from relegation candidates to European contenders, whereas selling a player at the right time can prevent your club from going into administration.
With player transfers complicated but key in Football Manager 2024, how can you negotiate your way through the transfer market?
Football Manager 2024 transfer guide
This guide will help you successfully navigate your way through the transfer market in Football Manager 2024.
Whether you’re buying yet another wonderkid or selling a dud, getting the best value for your money is crucial. With all the new transfer features in Football Manager 2024, acquiring and selling players has never been so complex.
We’ll help you with both bolstering your squad and getting rid of the deadwood holding you back. Let’s start with buying.
Before starting any negotiations for buying a player, you should always first discuss their availability with their agent. Combined with your scouting knowledge, this can give you an idea as to the player’s transfer value and wage demands. This will prevent you from blowing your full transfer budget by overpaying for a player.
Once you’ve established the player’s value and expected wages, you can begin negotiations with their club. You’ll be up against a club trying to get the best value for their player, so you’ll need to be clever to negotiate the best deal possible.
There are also plenty of bargains to look out for. We've compiled a list of the best bargains in Football Manager 2024 you should check out.
Instalments and add-ons
One of the best ways to keep negotiations in your favour is to take advantage of instalments and add-ons. Instalments can split the overall cost of the transfer over multiple seasons, whilst add-ons can help you avoid paying extra unless your new signing really excels. Both of these can be exploited to keep your initial transfer fee lower.
It is important to remember when negotiating instalments that these costs will be subtracted from future transfer budgets. This means if you choose to pay in 12-month instalments, your next season’s transfer budget will be reduced by the instalment amount. If you choose to pay in multiple instalments, your budget for the following season or seasons will be reduced as well.
Add-ons can be easy or hard to achieve, depending on which you choose. The add-on to avoid using if you can is the ‘Appearances’ clause. This will end up costing you more if you are signing a first-team player or future star.
If the player has little to no chance of being selected for their country, you can use the ‘International Appearances’ clause instead as a cheap exploit. Promising a large sum for international appearances can be used to persuade clubs to accept a lower base price, but can backfire if the player then meets the required number of appearances in the future.
Another exploit is to use the ‘Minimum Goals’ clause when signing defensive players. Setting the clause to 50 goals could see the clause sit unpaid for several seasons, but just like with international appearances, it could eventually be triggered so bear that in mind.
There’s a similar exploit with the various competition bonuses. If your team has little chance of winning any silverware, then you can use competition bonuses as a means to add fake payments to a transfer fee. Again though this could end up costing you if your team overperforms.
Utilising instalments and add-ons can result in you acquiring a player for a much lower initial fee, but there is another way that the selling club can make more money off of you.
Future fee percentages
When negotiating transfers, there are two types of future fee clauses. The first is the future fee percentage, which results in you paying an agreed percentage of any future sale of the player. The second is the future profit percentage, where you only need to pay a percentage of any profit received when selling the player in the future.
Neither is particularly desirable, but one is definitely worse than the other. If you can, try to force the selling club into accepting a future profit percentage rather than a full percentage. This means you only need to pay out if you sell the player for a profit in future. Ultimately though you want to avoid any future sell-on fees, and there is an exploit to do so.
When buying a player, select the future fee options yourself, then click the ‘-’ symbol next to the clause, and select ‘remove and exclude from future negotiations’. This will stop the selling club from being able to add these clauses in future negotiations. If this isn’t an option, then try to stick to the future profit percentage clause, and keep that percentage as low as possible to minimise future sell-on fees.
Combining paying in instalments, exploitative clauses, and eliminating future sell-on fees will help you get the best deal when buying players. Spreading the payments out across several instalments is best for clubs with smaller transfer budgets, allowing you to sign more players per transfer window.
If you’re still struggling for funds, signing a player on loan with a future fee already agreed can also help you reap early rewards. In this scenario, it’s best to settle for an optional future fee rather than a mandatory fee just in case the player doesn’t develop as expected across the season.
Now you’ve learned how to maximise player signings, let’s take a look at how to get the best gains when selling players.
Whether it’s a fire sale after relegation or freeing up funds for your next wonderkid, it’s important not to panic when selling players. Rushing head first into a negotiation will only cost you in the long term, so it’s important to ensure you’re maximising your player’s value.
Just like with buying players, there are many exploits you can use when selling to earn those precious extra funds. From knowing which transfer clauses to take advantage of to learning which avenues to use when offering players out to clubs, there are many ways to squeeze that extra bit of value out of each sale.
Offering out via TransferRoom
The easiest way to sell a player is using the ‘Offer via TransferRoom’ feature. This essentially replaces the ‘Offer to Clubs’ feature from Football Manager 2023, enabling you to alert other clubs that your player is available for transfer.
Here you can offer your player out to any interested clubs. The top tip here is to build the transfer offer you want to receive.
If you want a single, flat fee, you can ask for a single fee. If you want to split the fee across instalments, performance bonuses, and competition achievements, you can do exactly that. By far though the most important part of offering out a player is using clever negotiating, taking advantage of future payments to earn more money.
If another club bids for your player, you want to maximise the amount of money earned from the transfer. The instinctual method is to go for as much money as possible up front, but in actuality, it may benefit you more to spread a transfer fee over a period of time.
This is the opposite mentality to buying players, as you want the transfer to continue generating revenue past the point of the player leaving. By utilising this, you can still bring in money from the same player even after they leave the club you’re selling them to.
By far the easiest way to achieve this is through sell-on clauses. If your player is an emerging talent, you definitely want to go for a 50% sell-on fee. This means when the player inevitably moves on from the buying club, you’ll receive a nice bonus payout.
A profit percentage can still bank you a tidy sum here, but it’s nowhere near as lucrative. It can be used as a last resort though if the buying club refuse to allow a normal percentage.
Bonuses and instalments can also be beneficiary, but only when used correctly. If you need to use instalments to convince a club, make sure the base fee plus the instalments is higher than the value of the player. This could cause the buying club to withdraw their interest, but at the same time, it’ll reduce the loss of value and will give your transfer fund a nice boost in each transfer window.
If you’re forced to use bonuses as well, increase either the base fee or an instalment payment to guarantee more money from the transfer. Focus on bonuses that are almost guaranteed to happen, such as appearances, to ensure this payout will happen. Again this could be a risky strategy, but if it pays off it will boost your transfer kitty.
Instalments and bonuses are never desirable when selling a player, but if you can successfully negotiate them they can only benefit your club in the long-term. A similar strategy is also needed if you ever find yourself required to hire an intermediary.
New to Football Manager 2024 are transfer intermediaries. These are agents used to help sell players by offering them out to potentially interested parties. They do however charge a percentage of the transfer fee for their services. It may seem counterproductive to use an intermediary, but if used smartly you can still profit in the long run.
The highest fee an intermediary will charge is 10%. The advantage is these agents work worldwide, meaning clubs from all corners of the globe will be approached.
When selecting the intermediary option, you will be shown all the agents who are advertising their services. Alongside each agent, their global reach and fee will be shown, as well as the transfer type they can generate and the timeframe in which they expect offers to be submitted.
The expected fee for the player will also be shown, more often than not being lower than the true value of the player. More often than not, you won’t be able to set the player’s value, this instead being limited by the hired intermediary.
If you can select the value yourself, it’s advised to factor in the intermediary fee when setting your asking price for the player, effectively using the intermediary to pay their own fee. If you’re able to increase the asking price by more than 10% of the player’s value, then you’ll get a net gain from the transfer.
The downside is if you’re in desperate need of selling. The intermediary fee is non-negotiable, so you will sometimes have to take a hit from the sale. This is why intermediaries should be considered a last-resort option, as there’s always the risk you’ll miss out on vital income.
Despite intermediaries being a last-resort option, there is one final way to potentially sell a player, but you will be playing the long game.
Last resort loaning
Sometimes clubs just aren’t interested in your player. Whether it’s through a lack of form, game time, or just buying clubs’ available budgets at the time, your player might not be the best option on the table. If this does happen, but you still need to move the player off your wage bill, then loans are the best option.
If you just want to move a player out of the club for a temporary spell, then you don’t need to worry about this section. But for those who need to sell but no one wants to buy, a loan-to-buy option can be your saviour.
When offering a player out for loan, there are three main ways to make the loan permanent. A mandatory future fee means the loan will be made permanent at the end of the season for the agreed fee, whereas an optional future fee gives the loaning club the choice as to whether to make the loan permanent.
The final way to make a loan permanent is by number of appearances or by completing an objective in a competition. We advise you to avoid these last two if possible, however, as they can prove to be unreliable when trying to move a player on.
The best method is to offer a player out on loan with a mandatory future fee. The upside to this is you’re guaranteed to sell the player at the end of the loan. The downside is most clubs won’t be interested in being forced to buy a player who is an unknown quantity.
Therefore we recommend offering a player out with an optional future fee. This can still backfire if the player underperforms and the loaning club don’t trigger the option as a result, but more often than not this will lead to a sale.
The only real risk here is if the player overperforms and ends up exceeding the value of the agreed future fee. This can be off-set by inserting instalments or bonuses, or even by using a future percentage sell-on clause.
If you can convince a club to take your player on loan, pay their full wages, and agree a mandatory future fee, then you’re on a winning streak. If you can also coax them into paying a monthly loan fee without needing to lower the future fee, then you’ve finally become a Football Manager master negotiator!
For more articles like this, take a look at our Football Manager page.