Why free agents no longer have much power in the transfer market

There is an unsigned Premier League footballer who has played in the Champions League and is awaiting a £10million registration fee before joining a new club this summer, sources told ESPN. But a little more than two weeks before the start of the new season there were no takers.

Argentina striker Paulo Dybala, meanwhile, joined Jose Mourinho’s Roma on a free transfer after his contract with Juventus expired. Sources said the 28-year-old had been hoping for a move to the Premier League or LaLiga but has set himself apart from the market in that he has instead joined from Italy’s fourth-best team and a Champions League campaign. to a club that finished sixth in Serie A last season and are preparing for a year in the Europa League.

Paul Pogba at least secured Champions League football by leaving Manchester United, England’s sixth-best team last season, for Juventus. But having done little to dampen speculation he wanted to join Real Madrid, a return to a struggling Juve six years after his departure in a then-world record £89.3million transfer is hardly an example of how to do it benefits from free agency status.

Since the Bosman ruling was introduced in 1995 after Belgian footballer Jean-Marc Bosman won a legal battle to overturn a club’s ability to retain control of a player’s career after his contract expired, The transfer market attaches great importance to the status of a free agency. Clubs can sign a player without having to pay a transfer fee, while the player can negotiate a higher base salary with his new team as his arrival hasn’t impacted the spending budget.

But a free transfer is anything but a free transfer due to increasing calls for escalating signup fees and inflated wages. Sources have told ESPN that the market is set to correct this summer in financial terms.

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“Agents and players are getting greedy,” a senior Premier League manager told ESPN. “We know of a free agent asking for a £10million sign-up fee but clubs are not keen on giving in to those demands.

“Clubs are trying to pay less transfer fees but they also want to lower wage bills so the days of free agents where high signing fees and salaries could be negotiated are over. Only the very best players can do this.

“There are still a lot of free agents this summer, but they all want stupid money. So you’re likely to see some surprisingly big names moving to Saudi Arabia or Qatar next month.”

Some leading players have already graduated this summer on a free transfer. Dybala and Pogba are two of the most well-known, but Gareth Bale (LAFC), Christian Eriksen (Manchester United), Angel Di Maria (Juventus) and Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid) have also joined. Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), Nemanja Matic (Roma), Divock Origi (AC Milan), Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie (both Barcelona) have also found new clubs.

Of the players mentioned, only Eriksen and Rüdiger could claim that they made a step forward. The rest either moved sideways or backwards. But at least they found a club. Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Edinson Cavani, Isco, Luis Suarez, Andrea Belotti, Adnan Januzaj and many others have been searching for a new team since June 30 without success.

It’s perhaps no surprise that Lingard, Mata and Cavani, who are in talks with Villarreal, have yet to find new teams as they have been well paid during their time at United. Leaving Old Trafford’s payroll for a less wealthy club means they’ll have to lower their salary expectations significantly, and the same goes for Suarez (Atletico Madrid) and Isco (Real Madrid). Meanwhile, Ousmane Dembele, who was out of contract at Barcelona, ​​decided to avoid this level of uncertainty by signing a new two-year deal with reduced wages at the Camp Nou.

Perhaps, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cost of living for some players, the new financial reality of the world is starting to decline. ESPN has been told that the player, who has a £10m sign-up fee, is willing to accept £150,000 a week.

That would still add up to £41.2million over four years, but the potential new club would save more than £6million. However, the price drop has not worked so far because the player is still unemployed.

With the transfer window open for another six weeks, supply and demand will ensure the majority of free agents still looking for a club find a side before the August 31 deadline. They are not bound by that deadline due to their status, but players are starting to panic as clubs fill up their 25-man squads and leave no room for free agent signings after the window closes. Those still waiting for a fresh start will find that they can’t call the shots like they used to, and that free agent status isn’t quite the golden ticket that many believed it was.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/soccer-transfers/story/4704316/why-free-agents-no-longer-have-much-power-in-the-transfer-market Why free agents no longer have much power in the transfer market

Emma Bowman

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