Template:ImportIn association football, a transfer is the action taken whenever a player moves between clubs. It refers to the transferring of a player's registration from one club to another. In general the players can only be transferred during a transfer window and according to the rules set by a governing body.


When a footballer is under contract with a club, he can only leave if the club agrees to terminate this contract. As a way of compensation, the club to whom the player is transferring will usually pay a capital sum. This is known as the 'transfer fee'. As part of the transfer deal, a proportion of the fee may go to the player himself and any agents involved in the deal. The exact percentage is subject to the regulations of the relevant governing body.

Historically, transfer fees were paid to a club even when the player was out of contract. The Bosman ruling ended this practice when the European Union ruled that any club demanding a fee for players out of contract was an illegal restriction on the free movement of workers. UEFA regulations still state that a fee must be paid for players under the age of 23 in consideration for the viability of lower income clubs. This may be arbitrated by a tribunal if it cannot be agreed upon between the two clubs.

Transfers may also involve a part-exchange, in which some or all of the capital fee is paid for by trading another player from the signing club to the selling club. Other methods of paying a transfer fee include:

  • Clauses depending on the player's success at the signing club (e.g. an extra fee if the player scores a total of 20 goals in his first season, or makes a given number of appearances)
  • Clauses depending on the signing club's success following the transfer
  • Clauses allowing the selling club to profit from any future transfers of the player (a "sell-on fee"). A notable example of a club that benefited from such a clause is Accrington Stanley, whose rise from the lower reaches of non-league English football to their current position in League Two was given a significant boost by the sell-on clause that was negotiated in its 1997 transfer of Brett Ormerod to Blackpool. The clause was triggered in 2001 when Blackpool sent Ormerod to Southampton.
  • Friendly matches between the two teams, in which the selling club receives all the gate receipts
  • The introduction of other reciprocal arrangements e.g. the signing club may agree to aid the selling club by the improvement of training facilities, or sharing of resources and coaches
  • In lower leagues payment in terms of goods, notably playing kit and equipment has occasionally occurred.

Additionally, a single fee may be used to buy the registration of many players at once.


When a player is loaned to another club, the parent club gets to use the money only for that season till the player is at the loaned to club and as soon as the loan duration is over the parent club has to return the money back. The loaning of a player is done to reduce the spending of wages and health insurance on an idle player. If the player is not playing, why would the club bear the huge expences of his salaries and health issues? So they loan him out. During the spell of loan all the waging and the health responsibility of the player goes the club to which he has been loaned.

Highest feesEdit

The following table shows the top 10 highest transfer fees ever paid in GBP. All the transfer fees over £25 million have involved clubs in England, Italy or Spain on both sides of the deal.

European football experienced a "transfer bubble" fuelled by rapidly rising television rights sales between 1999 and 2002, and fees then fell away significantly. The three most expensive transfers since that time were all made by Spanish clubs in 2009, two by Real Madrid and one by Barcelona. In June 2009, Real purchased Kaká from Milan for a fee of 56 cents million, followed shortly thereafter by their £80 million purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United. Rio Ferdinand's included performance-related clauses, as may some of the other deals. This leads to different figures being given by different sources. Such performance related clauses have become more common since the bursting of the transfer bubble, meaning that it is harder to produce definitive lists of the largest transfer fees than was the case in the past.

Rank Player From To Transfer Fee
(£ millions)
Transfer Fee
(€ millions)
Year CPI Fee Equivalent
(2005 £ millions)
1 Template:Flagicon Cristiano Ronaldo Template:Flagicon Manchester United Template:Flagicon Real Madrid 80.0 93,5 2009 110.1 72.1
2 Template:Flagicon Zinédine Zidane Template:Flagicon Juventus Template:Flagicon Real Madrid 45 73.0 2001 94.2 74.1
3 Template:Flagicon Zlatan Ibrahimović Template:Flagicon Internazionale Template:Flagicon Barcelona 60.7 69.0 2009 110.1 55.2
4 Template:Flagicon Kaká Template:Flagicon Milan Template:Flagicon Real Madrid 56.1 65.1 2009 110.1 51.0
5 Template:Flagicon Luís Figo Template:Flagicon Barcelona Template:Flagicon Real Madrid 37.0 58.5 2000 92.8 39.87
6 Template:Flagicon Carlos Tévez Template:Flagicon MSI Inc. Template:Flagicon Manchester City 47.0 53.7 2009 110.1 42.34
7 Template:Flagicon Hernán Crespo Template:Flagicon Parma Template:Flagicon Lazio 35.5 53.6 2000 92.8 39.9
8 Template:Flagicon Gianluigi Buffon Template:Flagicon Parma Template:Flagicon Juventus 32.6 49.2 2001 94.2 34.6
9 Template:Flagicon Robinho Template:Flagicon Real Madrid Template:Flagicon Manchester City 32.5 49.0 2008 109.7 29.6
10 Template:Flagicon Christian Vieri Template:Flagicon Lazio Template:Flagicon Internazionale 32.0 48.3 1999 92.3 34.7
11 Template:Flagicon Andriy Shevchenko Template:Flagicon AC Milan Template:Flagicon Chelsea 30.8 46.4 2006 . .
12 Template:Flagicon Pavel Nedvěd Template:Flagicon Lazio Template:Flagicon Juventus 30.7 46.3 2001 . .

Transfers by yearEdit


See alsoEdit



External linksEdit

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