The FA has published details of each Premier League club’s declared intermediary transactions for 2019/20, as required under FIFA regulations since 2015.
For each 12 month window (running 1 Feb – 31 Jan), the FA document total payments made by clubs to registered intermediaries and list the transactions in which each registered intermediary was involved.
The FA caveats the above by stating: “Payments included in these figures may have been made in respect of transactions entered into prior to the first date of the reporting period. The total payment figure per club will, therefore, not necessarily relate directly to those transactions listed involving a registered intermediary for the same period.”
When it comes to permanent and loan transfers, intermediaries can represent a player, the selling club, the buying club or a combination of all three.
Additionally, agents can be paid for their part in contract extension negotiations.
In total, for the period covering the summer 2019 and January 2020 windows, the Premier League spent a whopping £263.4 million on intermediaries.
Arsenal’s total for this period was £13.6 million, approximately £2.4 million more than the year before, and is the seventh highest figure in the Premier League.
Given our transfer spending (albeit spread out over the course of deals) was double the year before, it looks – on the surface – like we’ve done very well to keep the agent fees down. In 2018-19, the £11.2m paid in intermediary fees was 15.5% of our outlay, whereas the reported figure of £13.6m is 9.5% of the £144m we spent last summer – a significant difference.
It’s worth bearing in mind that transfer expenditure doesn’t necessarily correlate to what you pay out in the same period on agent fees. As illustrated by this table.
|Outlay 19/20||Incoming fees 19/20||Agent fees 19/20|
Intermediary fees can also be spread out across the duration of a transfer; it’s also possible that some elements of the work may fall under consultancy fees for accounting purposes; and it’s quite common that deals are structured in such a way that when a buying club makes payment to the selling club, it’s from this money that intermediaries are then paid.
Here’s a breakdown of Arsenal’s deals over the last few years and the intermediary fees paid out.
Arsenal x Agent Fees 2015 - 2021
|PERIOD||ARSENAL SIGNINGS||PLAYERS||ARSENAL LOANS||PLAYERS||EST TOTAL COST *||ARSENAL DECLARED FEES||PL TOTAL FEES||LINK to FEES||LINK to TRANSACTIONS|
|01.02.15 - 31.01.16||2||Cech|
|01.02.16 - 31.01.17||6||Xhaka|
|01.02.17 - 31.01.18||5||Aubameyang|
|01.02.18 - 31.01.19||5||Torreira|
|01.02.19 - 31.01.20||5||Martinelli|
|01.02.20 - 01.02.21||7||Thomas Partey |
* Estimated transfer outlay via transfermarkt.co.uk
A few things of note on the 2019/20 fees…
- The Nicolas Pepe transfer saw Aboubakar Traore represent the player and Arsenal – a long read on the nuts and bolts of that deal can be found on GFFN.
- Kieran Tierney’s deal was brokered by Stellar Football, the agency headed up by Jonathan Barnett, infamous for his part in the Ashley Cole/Chelsea saga.
- The Kia Joorabchian-owned Sports Invest UK Ltd represented Arsenal in David Luiz’s move from Chelsea. The player himself was represented by Giuliano Bertolucci, a long-time associate of Joorabchian.
- Sports Invest UK Ltd represented Arsenal in Alex Iwobi’s move to Everton.
- Sports Invest UK Ltd represented Arsenal in the Cedric Soares loan deal. Arsenal were also represented by Amir Ali Kohansal who looked after Cedric’s side of things too.
- **The Dani Ceballos deal is not listed, suggesting the deal was done without any agent/intermediary, but this would be extremely rare.
- AC Talent Sports & Entertainment UK Limited, owned by Arturo Canales, represented Arsenal and Pablo Mari as he moved on loan from Flamengo. Canales was Unai Emery’s representative, and has a long-standing relationship with Raul Sanllehi from his days at Barcelona.