The curse of the trigger clause! Newcastle's 2.5m Demba dilemma is a recurring nightmare
17:33 GMT, 28 December 2012
A clause at Christmas normally triggers thoughts of presents and a smile on your face but there is one at Newcastle that is turning Alan Pardew’s hair whiter than Santa’s.
To be precise, it’s the Demba Ba 7.5million clause.
Pardew wants to keep his star striker but the release figure Newcastle allowed in their initial contract negotiations leaves them vulnerable to offers. Anyone who matches that 7.5m can buy the player should he agree to go.
Waiting: Demba Ba's 7million release clause could be triggered during the January transfer window
It begs the question why agree to a clause in the first place Yet they are more common than you think as clubs try different ways to persuade players to join.
Willie McKay represents Momo Diame at West Ham who has a buy-out clause set at 3.5million. McKay has also seen clauses negotiated in the past with Frederic Kanoute and Pascal Chimbonda.
‘The only reason some clubs have the players they have is because of a clause being inserted. They may make an offer that is less wages than another club has offered but because they allow a trigger clause then the player will sign with them.
‘Diame was a free transfer and believed he could command a better salary than he was offered so to compensate for that the clause was put in so he could leave in six months time for 3.5million. That way the club can sell him at a quick profit or renegotiate.
‘West Ham bought out Frederic Kanoute’s clause and sold him for a profit; Wigan bought out Pascal Chimbonda’s at 2million and sold him to Tottenham for 4.5m.
‘The thing is everyone is happy with the clauses at the outset otherwise a deal would not be signed. It’s only when things go wrong that people start saying they aren’t happy or it’s the agents’ fault.’
Expensive: Momo Diame has a 3.5million release clause at West Ham
Lucrative: Willie McKay, who represents Momo Diame, says that clauses have allowed clubs to sell players like Frederic Kanoute (left) and Pascal Chimbonda (right) for a profit
Chris Farnell, a senior partner with IPS Law, has been involved in many high profile contract negotiations throughout the game.
He said: ‘Principally on a player’s contract the blue paper on the top is set according to guidelines with the PFA, Premier League and Football League. There is a page at the back which is left blank for wage negotiations.
'That is down to the player, his agent and the club to set out how an agreement can be reached. That is where clauses will be outlined. They also have to be worded precisely.
'You can’t for example say a player is due 2million of a transfer fee because that is a breach of regulations. Fees are paid club to club. Yet you can say he is due an equivalent of 10percent of any transfer fee.
‘A common clause for example would be if David Beckham decided to join Reading on a two year contract. He may say there is a good chance they could go down so place a condition in that deal that the contract is terminated should they be relegated. Reading decide that suits them too because if they go down they couldn’t afford his wages anyway.
Not cheap: Lionel Messi's release clause at Barcelona is a whopping 205million
'Generally clauses are not liked in this country. A player who signs a five year deal with a 7million buy-out clause is effectively on a rolling contract that activates in every transfer window. Clubs here want greater continuity but it reflects what they were prepared to compromise to get the player in the first place. They have had to adjust to what is a world market and how some of these players are used to negotiating.
'Abroad, it is often put in to protect the asset. In Portugal, even the top clubs are selling clubs. They may start off with 100m buy-out clauses but are always prepared to come down in negotiations then start the process again by buying cheaper and raising the value.
'For the players it can be a gamble but one they are willing to take if they have confidence in their ability to keep attracting offers.'
Zenit St Petersburg are said to have offered the 205m it takes to trigger Lionel Messi’s sale at Barcelona. Fernando Torres is reputed to have a 100m one set in stone at Chelsea.
A championship club even stipulated in a clause that a player had to move house as his two hour trip from Manchester to training was affecting his muscle recovery while in Scandinavia it’s common for some players to have a clause that underlines the obvious and stops them from skiing.
A clause for thought They’re certainly not just for Christmas.