HomeSportHow does a football transfer work and who plays the biggest part?...

How does a football transfer work and who plays the biggest part? Premier League set for late deals on deadline day

The summer transfer window is almost over but there is still set to be plenty of huge deals completed all across Europe.

Premier League clubs are expected to remain very active in the market, splashing huge sums in order to sign the players they want.


A footballer having a medical is one of the last steps towards completing a transferCredit: Getty

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Some transfers, such as Real Madrid’s £88.5million move to sign Jude Bellingham, were wrapped up months ago with little fuss.

Others, like Sofyan Amrabat to Man United and Ryan Gravenberch to Liverpool, have taken months to sort out.

So why the difference and how exactly is a transfer agreed in football between two clubs? takes a look…

What is a football transfer and how do they happen?

Put simply, a transfer in football sees a player who is under contract with one club move to another.

The most common way this happens is a representative from an interested club will make an official enquiry to another team that has their prospective target registered.

If the club are open to selling then a transfer fee will be negotiated – usually via intermediaries – which is financial compensation from the selling club.

A transfer fee can be determined by a variety of factors ranging from their perceived ability, duration of current contract or future potential worth.

The Premier League will need signatures from the player and both clubs involved in a transfer to approve new registration


The Premier League will need signatures from the player and both clubs involved in a transfer to approve new registrationCredit: Getty

Should a fee be agreed between the two teams, then the player in question is granted permission to discuss personal terms with the buying club.

The player’s agent will be in charge of laying out their demands with a senior member of the buying club’s board which could be the chief executive or the director of football.

Assuming negotiations run smoothly, the player will usually, but not always, speak to their new manager to find out their role and the style of play etc.

The final hurdles will see the player arrive at his new club’s training ground for a medical and to do club media and interviews.

For international players moving to England, a work permit will be needed to be granted by the FA.

Once that’s sorted the last step for players will be actually signing the paperwork but, as was the case with Dan James’ doomed move to Leeds in 2019, a transfer can still fall through.

The Wales winger completed a medical at Elland Road and even held up a Leeds shirt before Swansea pulled the plug at the eleventh hour owing to their dissatisfaction with the structure of the deal and he instead moved to Manchester United.

In order to register a new player in England’s top-flight for example, clubs have to send the Premier League all the documents relating to the transfer, which are then checked and finally approved.

James came close to joining Leeds in January 2019


James came close to joining Leeds in January 2019Credit: Leeds United – Take Us Home / Amazon

What is ‘tapping up’ and what is a transfer request?

The practice of ‘tapping up’ is frequent in modern-day transfers despite the fact that it is a banned practice.

It involves buying clubs directly contacting a potential new signing without having first been given permission from the player’s current club.

Arsenal were accused of contacting Mudryk without permission by Shakhtar Donetsk’s CEO prior to his switch to Chelsea.

A transfer request is a formal document submitted either by a player or on their behalf with the aim of forcing a move to another club, like Wilfried Gnonto at Leeds.

This usually happens when they’ve been informed of a new team’s interest via tapping up or their current team rejects an official enquiry.

A transfer request can be duly ignored by a club but it’s considered a drastic final message from players to make public their desire to leave.

There was some controversy over Mudryk's move to Chelsea


There was some controversy over Mudryk’s move to ChelseaCredit: Getty

What is a deal sheet?

The summer transfer window slams shut on deadline day – Friday, September 1.

Clubs have until 11pm to register new players but there is one loophole to squeeze through additional deals after the deadline.

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Between 9-11pm, Premier League clubs can complete and send off a signed deal sheet that will afford them an additional two hours until 1am to fully sanction a transfer.

A deal sheet notifies the Premier League that a transfer has been agreed between two clubs but extra time is needed to draft the paperwork and then exchange fully signed documentation.

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