Mbappe: When Real Madrid’s representatives sat down to negotiate with Fayza Lamari, Kylian Mbappe‘s mother, and Delphine Verheyden, his lawyer, they were already expecting that there would be a push to increase the terms they’d agreed on last summer. But, they didn’t expect there to be such an ambitious approach.
“If Real Madrid were willing to pay PSG 200m euros for Mbappe last summer, now we want those 200m euros since there’s no transfer fee,” was more or less the message.
While that may have seemed an unbelievable request at first, it quickly became clear that it was a serious one and several weeks of offers and counter-offers followed.
Real Madrid eventually managed to lower the signing bonus to 130m euros, which would still be the highest ever paid to a footballer.
As for the salary, this was also revised upwards from what was agreed on last summer, when the agreement was 25m euros net per year. There were also fresh negotiations over image rights, where the percentage had been set above 60 percent.
It is clear that the football industry is changing, as 63 percent of players who switched clubs in 2020 did so as to free agents at the end of their contracts with their previous clubs, according to FIFA data.
Big stars such as Mbappe, Erling Haaland, Lionel Messi, Gianluigi Donnarumma, and Ousmane Dembele have either moved as free agents recently, or negotiated deals are knowing that their contracts running down.
Since their new clubs don’t have to pay a transfer fee for them, they can negotiate higher salaries, huge signing bonuses, and better commissions for their agents.
This is similar to how Haaland has forced Manchester City to include an exit clause in just two seasons’ time, thus keeping his fate in his hands, while this is how Mbappe could fetch a signing bonus of 130m euros from Real Madrid or a renewal bonus of 180m euros from PSG. As the top footballer in the world, he has the bargaining power and he knows it.
Faced with this situation, there are many in the industry asking FIFA to legislate this issue in some way, arguing that the money from transfers no longer circulates among the clubs, which weakens the industry.
In any case, the reality is that we should no longer talk about “free agents”, as they’re not free.
Players are their own companies and they are trying to remove their current clubs from the transfer equation to take the whole cake themselves, and it seems that they are on the way to achieving this.