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Chelsea will not have official buyback clause on Bertrand Traoré at Lyon — report

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According to Sport Witness, who were reporting on L’Equipe’s article about the Bertrand Traoré transfer to Lyon in their Friday edition, Chelsea will NOT have an (official) buyback clause on Traoré for the simple fact that (official) buyback clauses are not allowed by the French FA. There are a few stray reports to the contrary on Twitter, but according to this story as well as previous reporting around the Memphis Depay deal by Sport Witness, a buyback clause simply cannot be written into the official contract between a player and a French club.

While much of the British media reported that Manchester United had a buyback clause on Memphis after selling him to Lyon in January, apparently the French FA’s regulations do not allow for clauses that “pre-agree, in exchange for compensation, to a breach of contract”. French media reports of Memphis’s transfer did not reciprocate these claims of a buyback.

So that’s not ideal. Clubs can (and do) agree handshake deals and gentlemen’s agreements and perhaps even written side-deals, but nothing that can be enforced by the football authorities. The guess is that the buyback United supposedly have on Memphis is just one of these unofficial agreements.

French football does allow for “first-option” clauses, which would give Chelsea the opportunity to match any future bid Lyon accept for Traoré. That’s not quite the same as a buyback, nor is it as advantageous for the Blues. If Traoré develops to the point where Chelsea would consider buying him back, his value would undoubtedly be much higher than the €19m we just agreed to sell him for.

C’est la vie.