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Clauses & Bonuses to avoid during contract negotiations

Lazy Nov 9, 2020 Last modified: 19 Aug 17,111 views

This guide will explain you all about clauses and bonuses to avoid during contract talks.

During your career in Football Manager you will be spending quite some time negotiating terms with players. Now some of you might delegate this task to your Director of Football, but for those of you who fulfill this taks on your own we have created a list with clauses and bonuses to avoid during contract talks.

Negotiations are dangerous!

Contract negotiations are one of the more dangerous areas in Football Manager in terms of finances. If you add the wrong clause or if you don't check out the consequences of these clauses you can easily lose millions in a single season.

It is important not to get lured into accepting terms you can't cope with. We know that sometimes you desperately want a player and that signing that player will make you go the extra mile. Just realise that you might be signing a death warrant for your club financially.

Over to the clauses and bonuses you should be avoiding or at least should try to keep as low as possible.


A set of clauses you will have to avoid as much as possible.

Yearly Wage Rise

One thing you don't want is that your new signing will receive an automatic massive wage hike every single season.

Let's take Jadon Sancho as an example. He earns 6M per annum and has a 10% yearly wage rise in his contract. This means he will automatically receive 600.000 on his current salary, putting it at 6.6M next season.

Or lets look at Kylian Mbappe, who earns a 22.8M per annum and has a 5% yearly wage rise. That is 1.1M per year extra.

Imagine 10 players having a yearly wage rise clause. That could easily result in your yearly expenses increasing with 10+ million.

Match Highest Earner

This clause could end up in you having to upgrade multiple contracts and could be a real killer if you have too many players with this clause. The Match Highest Earner clause will obligate you to offer a player a new contract with higher wages if another player has a higher wage in his contract.


The bonuses in the following list can appear as if they are only a small amount. However, when you add all of the bonuses of every single player it could result in a massive expenditure.

Appearance bonuses

This bonus will pay an amount to an individual player if he makes an appearance for your team in any competition. This is a bonus that will be in every contract you negotiate and there will only be a few players who will accept you taking it out. Your best bet is to make it as low as you possibly can.

If we look to Dortmund once more you will have to pay around 280k per game to your starting eleven, possibly increasing it to 300k+ if you sub players on and having unused substitutions. Now you have to realize that as Dortmund you will play around 50 to 60 games per season, making it a grand total of 18M on appearance bonuses alone.

Goal bonuses

A goal bonus will not be that deadly on your finances. Only a selection of players in your side will have this bonus in their contract. This could only be a deadly bonus if your star striker scores 60 goals per season and is Cristiano Ronaldo (who receives 205k per goal).

TIP: Include a goal bonus for players who don't score a lot of goals (goalkeepers, defenders). This could lower their wage demands.

Clean sheet bonuses

You would expect this bonus to be for goalkeepers only, but you will be able to add this bonus to all your players and it has been set to a lot of different players in the Football Manager database. To be fair, this could motivate players to work extra hard to keep a clean sheet. Former Chelsea legend Petr Cech holds the current clean sheet bonus with 24 games in the Premier League.

Lets have a look at Dortmund's squad once again. If we add all the clean sheet bonuses to the best eleven (picked by the assistant manager) it shows a total of 107k, meaning you will have to pay 2.5M if you match Chelsea's 24 game record in a season.

Unused Substitute Fee

Why pay someone a bonus if you decide not to play him? A dangerous and unnecessary clause in any contract. It doesn't matter if a player is a star player or a youth player, you don't want to pay someone if he doesn't play.

In a league that allows you to have 7 subs, you will always have 4 players that won't play. If we look at Borussia Dortmund's squad and pick their best eleven in a 4-3-3 formation, players like Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt and Mario Götze could end up on the bench. In the worst case (4 most expensive players stay on the bench) this could cost you 27k per match.

This doesn't look like a big sum of money. But why pay money to players if they don't play? Seems like such a waste of money even if it's not a big amount each game.

Cup / League bonuses

Players could receive a bonus for winning a league or (international) cup. These bonuses are not included at the start of the game, but are likely to be demanded by players once you try to renew a contract or sign a new player. These bonuses could include winning the league or winning the Champions League.

The height of the bonus depends on the club's reputation, financial power and cup or league.

For example: renewing Erling Haaland's contract at Dortmund will include a 650k bonus for winning the Champions League. A player will only receive the bonus if he plays at least one game during the club's campaign in that league or cup.

It is good to realise that winning the Champions League could cost you millions in terms of player bonuses. Even though winning the Champions League will earn you tens of millions, it is still a bloody shame to have to pay out 15M to your players as a bonus. Try to avoid these types of bonuses to become a strong financial power.


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