Selling players is a skill every football manager should have. Getting the right price for the players you do not need any more is a proven tactic of adding to the transfer budget that you have been allocated.
However, always turning a profit when selling unwanted players is easier said than done. Once the AI has an inkling that you do not need a player, they will bombard with you lowball offers that are nowhere near the player’s market evaluation.
A player’s wage will also play a part in whether you receive good offers for him. If you consistently pay higher wages than average for your players, like real world Man United for instance. Moving on players you do not need any more will always be harder, as very few clubs will be willing to match the wages you pay for your players, while at the same time the players will not be willing to take a wage cut, leading to a stalemate, and you stuck with players you do not need.
It is worth noting sometimes it is virtually impossible to sell players for good amounts because of setting up an unbalanced database at the beginning of a save game. If you start out with a large database while having only a few leagues loaded, it is likely that your save game will be filled with players who are of good quality, yet they do not have clubs to play for, or they are in leagues that are not active.
Having this level of talent in abundance will naturally drive the transfer fee downwards. The basics of supply and demand.
In the same vein, loading too many leagues with a small database will lead to the opposite effect of teams demanding upwards of £40 million for a player who would be less than average in the EPL because players of quality that are available, are not enough.
Check out this guide here, on how to set up your save game for a balanced world according to the performance of your laptop or desktop PC.
Once you have the game running in a balanced world, we can move on to the next step.
A Guide On Selling Unwanted Players In Football Manager
Drop the player’s agreed playing time
You will find that selling a player designated as a star player even though you do not need him to be much harder than selling a rotational or backup up player. Giving a player the highest assurance of guaranteed playing time basically tells the AI controlled clubs that he is integral to your team, and they would need a very impressive bid to convince you of selling.
Furthermore, the player might not be willing to move if he is not guaranteed to have the same amount of game time at his new club. Therefore, before considering selling a player, knock down his playing time by a couple spots, and you will have better luck.
Be careful, though, as some ambitious players will not take too kindly when their agreed playing time is seemingly reduced for no reason.
Demote the player to the Under 23 squad
For a particularly stubborn player who does not want to leave and insists on fighting for his position in the club. Setting his status to unwanted and demoting him to the youth teams always send the message that he is no longer required at the club.
The player if he is influential will rally his teammates, and they might kick up a fuss. However, this is easy to deal with if you select the option with the line that all the decisions you make are for the betterment of the club. Depending on your reputation and your squad’s respect towards you, this line always works, and they will drop their concerns.
The disgruntled player will then be forced to accept the next transfer offer that comes in, or rot away in the reserve squad for the remainder of his contract.
Transfer list the player and offer him out
Wait until the beginning of the transfer window, either in the first days of January or the first week of July, then transfer list the players you want to sell. This is the best time to sell players as all clubs have been allocated new transfer budgets.
Once you offer the players out, you might receive several bids from different clubs. Negotiate with the first club and see how far you can drive the transfer fee upwards before they pull out. Then move to the next bid with the knowledge of how high the clubs are willing to go for the player in question.
If you manage to convince a club to pay higher than an earlier bid you had accepted, cancel the already accepted. If the player is in high demand, the interested club will return with a higher bid.
Talk to the transfer listed player
Once you have offered a player out for transfer, he might fail to attract offers, either because the amount of money you are asking for him is too much, or the clubs think that the player might not be interested in a move.
Once you get the message that no club has found the deal to be viable, you will have the option of speaking to the player to convince him to consider incoming bids from interested clubs. Depending on whether the player also wants to leave the club, he will either be happy to speak to interested clubs or he will inform you that he is not interested in helping you sell him from the club
Contribute to paying part of the wages
If you are unsuccessfully trying to sell a player on huge wages, agreeing to pay part of his wages at his new club for the remainder of the contract that he is currently on might be all that is needed.
If you do this diligently, you might be able to free up a considerable amount while contributing less than 20% of what you were paying originally. Add this to the transfer fee that you will get, and you might find yourself with a net gain at the end of the day.
Loan with mandatory to buy clause
I wrote a guide here on the various loan clauses in football manager, including how used, and unused monthly fees are calculated.
An interested club might not have the funds for a permanent move at the moment, but they might be willing to take the player on loan with the commitment of paying his transfer fee at the end of the season.
This is an effective way of getting the player out of your hands, especially if they also cover the player’s wages for the entire duration that he is on loan.
Final thoughts on selling players in football manager
It is not always possible to make a profit when selling players in football manager. Sometimes seeing the players out of the club is valuable enough. Furthermore, you will always receive higher bids for players that are not in the transfer list, as most of the time, they are also the best ones in your club. Once transfer listed, the AI will not be willing to overpay for them.
Players who have less than 12 months remaining on their contract will also always sell for less than those with 2 or 3 years remaining. This is because once you fail to sell them and the duration drops to 6 months, they will be free to sign on precontract agreements with other clubs, and you will inevitably lose them on a free transfer at the end of the season.