Transfer Negotiations in FIFA 18
The New Transfer Negotiation System
In FIFA 18, a lot of career mode has been completely overhauled. One of these changes that seemed to generate the most excitement pre-launch was the new Transfer Negotiation System. In previous versions of the game, transfers were exciting because of their outcome, not because of the process. Enquiries were sent and responded to by email, offers were made through some kind of digital paperwork system.
Now that’s all changed. EA have scrapped the old ways and developed new animated cutscenes where you make choices in real time. Instead of sending some kind of strange form over to the faceless Manchester United Chief Executive, you can now get Jose Mourinho in your office to discuss a transfer.
I have to admit it wouldn’t have been a feature I would have asked for, but it does add a great splash of realism into career mode. On top of this, they’ve also improved the way new signings are announced and it’s just so much cooler.
Anyway, with all this change players are likely to take some time to adapt. Buying and selling players is one of my favourite parts of career mode, I guess you could call me a wheeler dealer. So once again I’m going to try and convert my experience, notes and what I’ve learned so far from FIFA 18 into a guide to help you out with negotiating transfers.
Scout the Player First
Had to be the first thing I mentioned. Remember in previous games you used to just ‘Enquire’ about a player? A few days later you’d receive an email telling you that the club wanted £30m for that player and you’d go straight in and offer £25m. Well those days are gone, no more enquiries. Given the change to negotiations, I think enquiries have been scrapped to add a little unpredictability to the game.
If you take a player straight from a GTN scout report (or a player you’ve manually searched) and add them to your transfer shortlist, you’ll see a big fat question mark where their value should be. To find that out, you need to scout the player. Unfortunately you can’t action this from within the transfer hub so go back to your player search or GTN scouting report. After some time (my GTN guide covers this) , you’ll receive an email telling you the scout report is complete. You’ll now be able to see more information about that player, including his value.
Approach to Buy
Back inside the transfer hub, select your shortlisted player and hit ‘Approach to Buy’. If you see a message about a release clause, you can just pay it but you might want to try and undercut it if possible.
When you open negotiations after selecting Approach to Buy, the ball is in your court – you make the first move. You’re expected to table an opening offer, be it a transfer fee or a player swap. Hopefully you’ve already scouted the player and in the top left corner his value is displayed. This at least gives you some idea of what to offer (combined with your scout’s opinion). If however you skipped the scouting step, you’re going to be guessing. The danger in this is that its very easy to either overpay for a player or insult the other manager with a derisory offer. If this happens, they’ll storm out and you’ll have to wait a week to try again. In this time, another club could swoop in and steal the player.
If you’ve scouted the player, you should now have two key pieces of information. Firstly their outright value, secondly your scout’s opinion on roughly what your opening offer should be. Remember that there are a few important factors that affect transfer fees:
- Contract Length – is the player in the last year of his contract or has he just signed a five year deal? A longer contract will add to the club’s valuation.
- Player Age – youngster or veteran? Players with their best years ahead of them will be valued higher than those that have already peaked.
- Player Potential – Is the player predicted to grow a lot? If so, this will also increase his value.
- Squad Role – Think about it. If you’re trying to take away a key player from a club, they’re going to want much more money from you.
- Competition – Does the player have other suitors? If multiple clubs are interested and/or bidding, this can drive the price up.
Take your scout’s opinion as a guide. You can still bid slightly below this if your budget is tight. If you lowball to start with, expect a counter offer that will either quote a higher price or add a sell-on clause (more on this below).
As in previous games, the ‘acceptable’ transfer fee for a player can vary. You can of course save the game and reload, but this is kind of cheating the system.
Going into transfer negotiations, you might already have a player swap in mind. Most players consider this option when they want to upgrade an ageing player or they simply don’t enjoy their playing style. However, you’re sometimes forced to consider this option when a club demands a very high transfer fee.
This was never the most straightforward part of transfers in previous games. The club would either accept the swap, ask for a little more money or just tell you they aren’t interested in that player. Now the manager you’re negotiating with can at least tell you what kind of player they are looking to bring in. So if they aren’t interested in the first player you offered, you can at least pick another player in the position they’re looking for.
If done correctly, player swaps can be a shrewd way of completing transfer dealings. Selling a player outright would only get you a set percentage of their value in your transfer budget. Swapping them offsets their value in the deal directly.
Another new addition in FIFA 18. Now when buying or selling a player, a sell-on clause can be added. This means the selling club will receive a percentage of the transfer fee the next time the player is sold. This can be really useful when selling younger players that are likely to increase in value. Not so useful when selling an older player that might not make another transfer for a few years.
When buying a player, its not ideal to have to agree to a sell on clause but if you have limited transfer funds its a useful option. This can help you sign a player you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford. The downside is that you’ll lose a (potentially significant) percentage of the transfer fee if you sell them in future.
Delegate to Buy
Your assistant manager can actually help you out with something in FIFA 18. You now have the option to delegate certain negotiations to them. At first you won’t want to do this, you’ll want to enjoy the new negotiation cutscenes. Give it time. Eventually you’ll get sick of the strange pulsing music, characters taking forever to complete short sentences and constantly holding square or X to skip.
When you decide to use this feature, it’s fairly simple. You’ll have to set two parameters, basically a minimum and a maximum. Your assistant manager will start the offer at the minimum value and increase (if necessary) until they strike a deal. If the assistant reaches the maximum limit and it’s still not enough for the other club, the talks will be unsuccessful.
Just like with transfer fees that you negotiate yourself, the agreed fee can vary. So you do have the option of saving the game and reloading if you think you can get a lower price when buying a player.
- One thing I’m really happy about this year is the fact you can actually conduct transfer negotiations outside of the transfer window. They won’t go through until the start of the window but you can at least wrap things up so you don’t have to rush during the window. Bear in mind this means that other teams can do the same.
- One other thing to note here is I’ve noticed a bug where other clubs sign my players outside of the window but they never move. I’m not sure if it resolves eventually.
- Planning is your best friend. What players do you need, who are you willing to sell? Knowing this in advance increases your chances of having a good transfer window.
- Use the ‘Block Offers‘ feature. In previous games I didn’t really give this much though but its so useful for players you have no intention of selling. A highly rated player in good form can attract a lot of attention, which is a bit of a time waster if you’re not going to consider selling them. It’s not completely foolproof though, if that player has a release clause then offers will still come in.
- Save your game often. It’s good practice anyway but you can always reload the game if you don’t like the outcome of certain transfer negotiations. This is a bit controversial but it totally up to you how you want to play the game.
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