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Editorials, Sports

Debunking Football Transfer Myths: The Truth Behind the Headlines

Forget everything you know about football transfers! Million dollar shirt sales, fax mishaps, and bottomless war chests – it’s all a myth.

  • Toyosi Afolayan
  • 6th June 2024

Forget everything you think you know about football transfers! Million-dollar shirt sales, fax machine mishaps, and bottomless war chests – it’s all a myth. Buckle up, because BOUNCE is busting the biggest transfer window rumors and revealing the truth behind the headlines.


Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common myths, explained in a way that even those who don’t follow the sport every day can understand:


Myth 1: Shirt Sales Pay for Superstar Signings


This one is a classic. You might hear about a team buying a famous player and then expecting to make all their money back (and then some) just by selling jerseys with his name on them. But the reality is, the companies that make the shirts (like Adidas, Nike, or Puma) get the lion’s share of those sales, usually around 85-90%.



Think about it: clubs aren’t really set up to handle massive production and distribution of millions of jerseys. They often outsource even running their online stores! While there might be a slight bump in sales for a new star player, it’s unlikely to cover their full cost. Even with a big jump, the club might only see a small percentage of the extra revenue.


Myth 2: Fax Machine Fiascos


The idea of transfers falling through because someone forgot to send the paperwork by fax? Long gone! Since 2010, everything is done electronically through a system called FIFA TMS. It might sound complicated, but it’s actually designed to be user-friendly. Sure, there can be hiccups if someone isn’t properly trained on the system, but blaming a failed transfer on a fax machine is definitely outdated.


Myth 3: Net Spend is King


You might hear a lot about a team’s “net spend” during the transfer window. This basically means the difference between how much they spend on new players and how much they make by selling existing ones. But for big clubs, this number isn’t that important.


Here’s why: they often pay for players upfront or in a few short installments. This might seem like a lot of money at once, but it actually saves them money in the long run. On the other hand, for accounting purposes, they spread out the cost of the player over the length of their contract (called amortization). This makes the numbers look a bit smoother on their financial reports.


Here’s the key takeaway: when looking at a team’s spending, it’s more important to consider the total cost of a player, including their salary and any fees paid to agents, over the length of their contract, not just the initial transfer fee.


Myth 4: Transfer War Chests


Headlines love to talk about a club’s “war chest” – meaning a huge pile of money they have set aside specifically for transfers. But the truth is, it’s not that simple. Remember, player costs go beyond just the transfer fee. 



You need to factor in wages, agent fees, and image rights deals. So, the next time you hear a number thrown around for a team’s transfer budget, be skeptical. Unless it includes all these costs, it’s probably not a very accurate picture.


Myth 5: Players Are the Only Ones With Agents


Just like players have agents to negotiate their contracts, clubs use agents too! These agents help them find buyers for players they want to sell and get the best possible price. They can be a valuable resource for navigating the complex world of transfers.


There can be a bit of a conflict of interest though. Sometimes, the same agent might represent both the player and the club. In those cases, it’s important that the player understands the situation and gets independent advice to make sure their interests are protected.


Myth 6: Wages Only Tell Part of the Story


When you hear about a player’s salary, that’s not the whole picture. There’s another important piece: image rights.


Here’s the deal: players set up companies that own the rights to their image (think endorsements, video games, etc.). When they sign a new contract, they also negotiate an image rights deal with the club. This means the player gets paid extra on top of their salary for using their image in club promotions and activities.


This can be a significant chunk of money, sometimes adding 20% or more to their total compensation package. Don’t forget, there can also be bonus payments based on performance and agent fees that add to the overall cost of a player.


So, the next time you read about a big-money transfer, remember: there’s more to the story than just the headline numbers. Understanding these myths can help you see the bigger picture and appreciate the complexity of the transfer market.

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