What life is like as a football agent during the transfer window

'One player could not leave his dog so the transfer fell through'

Football agent Flickr Creative Commons
(Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons)

If you think that the transfer deadline day is tough for football journalists and for fans, then think what it must be like for an agent.

Negotiating contracts and bonus clauses, speaking to buying and selling clubs and dealing with clients and players, life as a football agent can be pretty busy this time of year. And today is the busiest day of all.

Speaking to Betway Insider, Jon Smith gave an insight to some of his experiences from his 30 years as a football agent.

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From housing to goal bonuses, there's lots to negotiate in the transfer of a modern-day footballer and deals can take a lot of time.

"There's so many things now," said Smith. "Overseas travel, sometimes housing – although not so much in this country – the image rights, the bonus schedules.

"Very often, now, you get bonuses for playing 60 minutes in a game, if you come on before the 60th minute, after the 75th minute, and there's all sorts of these.

"You get more money for Champions League than you do the League Cup. It's really quite complex."

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What about the potential of big deals happening in the final hours of deadline day? Smith says it will be hard to complete by the 11pm deadline. Big deals can start three to four months before the window opens.

"Unless you get to the middle of August and someone's just bought your left-back," he said. "If that wasn't on your radar, then you have to jump some hoops very quickly."

For all the wrangling between players and clubs, there's one factor that can affect the deal at the last minute: the agent's commission. Smith says that this is where a deal "very often falls down".

"The last thing to be agreed is the agent's commission," said Smith. "Inevitably, that doesn't get agreed because they [the club] have spent all their money on the player. So the agent says: 'Sorry, the deal's off'.

"Most of the time it gets sorted, but it's just bad from the club and the agent not to have done this in front of time, because that's the one item that just hangs in the air.

"That's because, these days, it's a big number. It's not something that people can take lightly. It’s not every time, but that's one of the spikiest issues at the very end of the deal."

When a deal is completed there can be a temptation to celebrate, but just because the contract has been signed, it may yet not go through.

"We had one where the deal was done," said Smith. "It took six months, and he was coming across from Germany. He booked a ferry, and we said: 'Why don't you fly?' He said: 'I'm bringing the dog.'"

What the player had not realised was the dog would need to be quarantined for six months. Smith recalls the player's response: "'No, no, it's all off then. If I can't bring my dog, I'm not coming.'"

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