Soccer transfer terms explained: Fees, loans, clauses, more

The transfer window is confusing because it's designed to be confusing. No one in European soccer benefits from you or I being able to understand how they're spending their money or why they're spending their money. And with the influx of sovereign wealth funds and venture capital over the past decade-plus -- entities somewhat randomly concerned with "winning soccer games" -- that's truer than ever.

But that doesn't mean we can't try! So, as the summer transfer window across Europe open on July 1, here's your dictionary guide to the terms that will define the summer of 2023.


Additional fees to be paid to a club who are moving a player on if certain conditions are met, e.g., the player scores a particular number of goals or plays a certain number of matches, or the team reaches a specific achievement.

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Agent fees

A principal driver of transfer activity. While agents in other sports typically benefit from their clients signing the biggest contracts possible, soccer agents benefit from their clients constantly changing teams as much as possible, which allows them to pocket a chunk of the transfer fee exchanged between the two teams.

According to FIFA, $622.8 million was paid to intermediaries in 2022. However, newly passed regulations now state that "agents can take a maximum 3% commission for any transfer above $200,000 (£168,166) and 5% for deals under $200,000."