Last updated on September 20th, 2022
There’s nothing more exciting than signing a budding talent and building them up into a world-class star. Doing this can increase the value of the players you bring in many times over.
But what if after all that hard work they slip out of your hands for nothing, only to end up at a rival club that hasn’t paid a penny?
If you’re not careful this can happen to even the best managers!
Contracts are hard to get right, and if a player digs their heels in, you may end up being forced to choose between selling them for peanuts or even losing them for free!
Master contract renewal though, and you’ll keep your players happy and your finances healthy.
It’s an invaluable part of building a great squad. Here’s your ultimate Football Manager guide to renewing contracts.
How to renew contracts on Football Manager
Renewing contracts on Football Manager is fairly simple, in theory. There are two main ways of making a proposal.
- When you see a player’s name whose contract you want to new, right-click on them. Then go down to Contract > Offer New Contract.
- If you are on a player’s individual screen you will see a row of tabs along the top. The second one says Contract. Hover over it, and select Offer New Contract.
You will then land on a screen where you have to work out what commitments will be made for the duration of the contract. You will always be obliged to lay out the amount of playing time the player will be expected to have.
You’ll need to find an agreement with what the player expects from the club.
You will also have the option to make promises regarding other figures you may bring into the clubs, such as the individual’s favoured personnel or new star signings.
The most ambitious players may also want promises made on what silverware will be attained in the coming years.
Once these things have been agreed on, you can move on to where things can get really tense. The money.
Here, you will have to find a wage and various bonuses and clauses that make the player and their agent happy.
Lowball them too much and they will walk away, but negotiate with nuance and you may be able to push down their demands significantly.
When everything is agreed you can then finalise the deal.
When is the best time to renew contracts on Football Manager?
Exactly how you handle contract renewals will depend massively on who it is you’re negotiating with. There are many factors you will need to consider.
If you can see that a player is growing faster than your club, it is always best to act early. If it looks likely that in a year’s time, a player will start making demands to leave because he should be playing at a higher level, then it’s best to renew his contract as soon as you can.
This has two advantages. Firstly, if you bow to his demands, the more length there is on his contract, the more valuable he will be in the transfer market.
Secondly, it gives you more space to meet his expectations. If your club can eventually catch up and perform at the level he desires, then he may choose to stick around. The longer left on his contract the more time you give yourself to catch up.
Leaving it late
In other cases, you may wish to wait until late in someone’s contract. Renewals can be expensive, as they often mean wage rises as well as loyalty bonuses and agent fees. If you’re looking to keep a close eye on the budget, then saving contract offers until when you have to is a good strategy in the short term.
You can find out more about reducing a player’s wage demands here.
This strategy is not always best if you’re looking to the future though, as you increase the risk of your players getting poached as well as their values decreasing as they come closer to their expiry date, all other things being equal.
When you get to the final 6 months of a player’s contract, then the waiting game becomes extremely risky.
If you’re hoping to eventually renew a player’s contract, it’s always safer to do it earlier than this. That’s because other clubs are allowed to come in and pre-arrange a transfer with the player when their contract is this close to the end.
This can end up with your players irreversibly signing up to move away for no fee, even though you were expecting to renew their contract at the last minute!
Unless you’re extremely confident no other clubs will show an interest or you’re expecting to let them go at the end of their contract, it’s always better to offer a renewal more than 6 months before their contract ends.
How long should I renew a player’s contract for on Football Manager?
The length of the contract you offer players will depend on their age, their ability, your club’s financial situation and where you’re planning to take the team in the future.
Young stars that you hope to keep around for as long as possible should in almost all cases be offered the maximum length allowed. If they progress fast then contract renewals are likely to mean large wage hikes, so the less often you need to give them a chance to negotiate, the better for your club’s bank balance.
There are many factors, however, that may compel you to offer slightly shorter contracts to players even if they’re in the earlier stages of their careers.
Injury-prone individuals are extremely risky to manage in general. It can be not only frustrating to see them have so little game time but their attributes, especially physical ones, can drop dramatically after extended periods in the treatment room.
The last thing you want is to have someone eating a chunk of your wage budget, even as they contribute nothing to the team and their ability regresses.
Those with a very low Natural Fitness attribute and those with a history of recurrent injuries should be kept on shorter contracts where possible.
This gives you the flexibility to constantly reassess and ensures you’re only paying for players that are generally available and contributing. And if they start to deliver consistently, feel free to give them a few extra years!
Older players should be given short contracts for similar reasons. When most players reach somewhere between 30 and 32 their attributes will start to decline. Even if they do drop off, there’s no way they’ll come up to you and offer a wage cut just because they can’t run as fast anymore.
Instead, keep the contracts you offer these players at a maximum of 3 years. Older players also tend to be less valuable so you’re not running the risk of losing out on your most valuable assets for free by not offering deals lasting 5 years.
Optional contract extensions are a great tool to use for both old and injury-prone players. They give you the option to add an extra year or two to a player’s contract should you decide they’re worth keeping around.
Most players won’t ask for too much of a wage bump to have one of these clauses included, so do try putting them on the table when you can so you always have maximum wriggle room.
Don’t forget that there are clauses you can add to contracts that change their value as time goes on. If you’re struggling to convince a great talent to stay for as long as you want, you can offer them a yearly wage increase so you can financially prepare for their growth and the wages it demands.
Similarly, you can offer decreases in the case of relegation so you know you don’t have to be locked into high wages for a long time should your season go badly.
When considering renewing a player’s contract, it’s always important to take stock of your club’s position and what direction it’s heading in. If your contract offer is to last five years, it’s just as important where your team is a few seasons from now as it is when the contract starts.
Young players should be given long renewals early and injury-prone and older players should be offered the opposite, in general. The key is adaptability and where possible, negotiating contracts that can adjust as things happen to your club or the player.
Pay attention to the details and your squad should stay happy in a wage structure that fits their level!
Are you passionate about football and want to earn some side income?