As avid football fans, we invest our time, passion, and unwavering support for our favourite clubs and players. However, there are various intricacies behind the scenes that shape the footballing world, including contractual arrangements that can significantly impact the future of a player and their club. One such arrangement in football that has gained increasing prominence in recent years is the “Sell On Clause.”
To truly comprehend the dynamics of player transfers and the potential ramifications they can have, it is crucial for fans to have a comprehensive understanding of what sell on clauses entail.
This article will explain what sell on clauses in football is, shedding light on their significance and the implications they hold for clubs, players, and the beautiful game itself.
What is Sell On Clause In Football?
In the world of football transfers, a sell on clause is a contractual agreement between two clubs that governs the future financial implications of a player’s transfer. When a player is sold by their current club to another team, a sell on clause entitles the selling club to receive a percentage of the future transfer fee if the player is subsequently sold again by the purchasing club.
To understand this concept better, let’s take an illustrative example. Imagine Club A has a talented young player named Alex, who has been performing exceptionally well. Club B, recognizing Alex’s potential, decides to sign him for a substantial transfer fee of $20 million. In the negotiation process, Club A includes a sell on clause, stating that they are entitled to 20% of any future transfer fee if Club B decides to sell Alex to another club.
Now, let’s fast forward a few years. Alex continues to impress and develops into one of the best players in the league while playing for Club B. As a result, Club C, a prominent club with significant financial resources, expresses interest in acquiring Alex’s services and offers Club B $50 million for his transfer.
At this point, the sell on clause in Alex’s contract becomes relevant. According to the agreement between Club A and Club B, Club A is entitled to 20% of the transfer fee if Alex is sold again. In this case, the sell on clause would grant Club A $10 million (20% of $50 million) from Club B’s transfer fee received from Club C.
Sell on clauses serve multiple purposes for clubs. First and foremost, they can provide financial security and compensation to clubs that have nurtured young talents but are unable to retain them long-term due to financial limitations or other factors. These clauses allow the selling club to benefit financially from the success and subsequent transfers of their former players.
On the other hand, sell on clauses also act as an incentive for purchasing clubs to develop and maximize the potential of the player they have acquired. If a club knows that they may have to share a portion of the future transfer fee, it encourages them to invest in the player’s growth and ensure they reach their full potential, both for the club’s benefit and to potentially command a higher transfer fee in the future.
A Sell on clause becomes increasingly prevalent in modern football due to the skyrocketing transfer fees involved in player transfers. They can be seen as a way for clubs to mitigate the risk of investing substantial sums of money in young talents, as well as a means for selling clubs to maintain a financial stake in the success of their former players.
You may compare Sell On Clause with Buy Back clause to understand the clear difference.
Examples of Football Players Who Had A Sell On Clause In Their Transfer Contracts
Sell on clauses have been a common feature in many football transfers, and several real-life players have had such clauses included in their contracts. Here are a few notable examples:
When Sporting Lisbon sold a young Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United in 2003, they wisely negotiated a sell on clause. As Ronaldo’s career skyrocketed at Manchester United, Real Madrid eventually signed him for a then-world record fee of £80 million in 2009. Sporting Lisbon received a significant portion of that fee due to the sell on clause, reportedly earning around £12 million.
Tottenham Hotspur included a sell on clause when they sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in 2013 for a then-record transfer fee of €100 million. The clause stipulated that Tottenham would receive a portion of any future transfer fee if Bale was sold by Real Madrid. When Bale returned to Tottenham on loan in 2020, it was reported that Real Madrid had to pay a portion of his wages, which suggests the presence of a sell on clause in the initial transfer agreement.
When Neymar left Santos in Brazil to join Barcelona in 2013, it was revealed that Santos had inserted a sell on clause in the transfer agreement. The clause entitled Santos to 20% of any future transfer fee involving Neymar. When Neymar moved to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in 2017 for a record-breaking fee of €222 million, Santos received a significant sum of around €8 million as part of the sell on clause.
When AS Monaco sold Kylian Mbappé to PSG in 2017, they included a sell on clause in the agreement. The clause reportedly entitles AS Monaco to receive a percentage of any future transfer fee involving Mbappé. While Mbappé’s future remains uncertain at the time of writing, it is likely that AS Monaco would benefit from a substantial sum if he is sold to another club.
When Chelsea sold Romelu Lukaku to Everton in 2014, they included a sell on clause in the deal. The clause entitled Chelsea to receive a percentage of any future transfer fee involving Lukaku. In 2017, when Lukaku moved to Manchester United, it was reported that Chelsea received around £5 million as part of the sell on clause.
Kevin De Bruyne
Chelsea also included a sell on clause when they sold Kevin De Bruyne to Wolfsburg in 2014. The clause entitled Chelsea to receive a percentage of any future transfer fee involving De Bruyne. In 2015, when De Bruyne transferred to Manchester City, Chelsea reportedly received around £10 million due to the sell on clause.
When Burnley sold Danny Ings to Liverpool in 2015, they negotiated a sell on clause as part of the deal. The clause entitled Burnley to receive a percentage of any future transfer fee involving Ings. In 2019, when Ings moved to Southampton, Burnley reportedly received around £2 million as part of the sell on clause.
When Southampton sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Arsenal in 2011, they included a sell on clause in the transfer agreement. The clause entitled Southampton to receive a percentage of any future transfer fee involving Oxlade-Chamberlain. In 2017, when Oxlade-Chamberlain transferred to Liverpool, Southampton reportedly received around £2 million due to the sell on clause.
The Sell on clause in football has emerged as a vital component of player transfers, benefiting both clubs and fans alike. These contractual agreements provide selling clubs with a financial safety net, allowing them to capitalize on the success of their former players and reinvest in their teams. Meanwhile, purchasing clubs are incentivized to develop and nurture players, knowing that a sell on clause ensures the selling club’s continued involvement in the player’s future transfers.
The presence of sell on clauses matters to fans as well. Understanding these clauses adds depth to our knowledge and appreciation of the intricate business aspects of the game. It allows us to comprehend the long-term implications of player transfers and the potential financial gains or losses for our favourite clubs.
So, the next time you hear news of a promising talent moving to a new team, delve beyond the headlines and explore the potential presence of sell on clauses. Together, we can enrich our understanding of the game we love and embrace the multifaceted nature of football beyond the pitch.