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What does a football transfer agreement actually look like?

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Follow along with Reevaldo's journey at reevaldo.com

Chelsea buys and sells players every transfer window, but how do these deals actually get made and what do the transfer agreements look like?

As part of an ongoing project, the sports law team at Mills & Reeve thought it would be fun to chronicle the careers of two fictional footballers, starting with the young Brazilian striker, Reevaldo.

If you've been following along with Reevaldo's journey, you'll know that he just moved from his hometown club of Maracanã in Brazil to the newly-promoted Premier League club, Paddington United. You may have also seen the transfer negotiations between the two clubs.

But what does a transfer agreement really look like?

In the second of a four-part series focusing specifically on Reevaldo's transfer to London, we take you inside the "real" transfer agreement between Paddington and Maracanã.

Hopefully, this article will help shine light on the nature of the documents that brought the likes of N'Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi to Stamford Bridge this summer.

It may also help shine light on why reporting on transfer fees can sometimes be all over the place.

For example, was N'Golo Kante's transfer fee £29 million£30 million, or £32 million?

Or, why was the transfer fee Chelsea received from PSG for David Luiz reported as £50 million, when we now know it was actually £37 million?

It comes down to the inherent lack of transparency in the football industry. As you'll see in Reevaldo's transfer agreement, there is a confidentiality clause which prohibits both clubs from discussing the financial terms of the transfer in public.

Of course, journalists will often get someone on either side of the table (as well as the agents involved) to discuss the deal off the record, but 99.9% of those writing about football have not cultivated the well-placed sources necessary to report on these deals.

So, the football world relies upon a few journalists, who in turn, rely upon their source. The source, of course, will be inherently biased. A source on the buying club may just quote the basic transfer fee, while disregarding the add-ons and agent fees. A source on the selling club may include the basic wage, the agent fees, and every possible add-on without mentioning how likely it is that the add-ons will be triggered (for more on this, check out a recent article I wrote for The Set Pieces).

Understanding exactly what goes into a transfer agreement can help explain why we often see discrepancies in transfer reporting. It can also help show why some transfers take more time to complete. Most clubs have rough templates for both domestic and international transfers, but each deal is different and lawyers on both sides will be sending revisions back and forth.

You can read the latest entry in Reevaldo's journey here.

reevaldo negotiations