Whilst the minimum fee release clause is well known to fans of Spanish football, and indeed Football Manager, it has never been as relevant in the Premier League as it is this January. Whose buy out fees will be met this winter, and whose certainly won't?
One of the most enjoyable events that can take place when playing Football Manager is finding out that a player you're desperate to sign has a reasonable minimum fee release clause, and that their club will be forced to accept any bid that matches that amount. This system has been around in football for many years and generally doesn't throw up much news, as clubs are savvy enough to set these fees at a high enough level that no team would want to match them anyway.
However there is a plethora of reasonable sounding fees out there at the moment, and there are also some clubs rich enough that even some seemingly unreasonable amounts can be met. In the Premier League, Demba Ba and Mohamed Diame might both leave their clubs this January for amounts that would likely be well below their market value. Ba's well publicised clause is set at £7.5, which isn't perhaps the bargain it's made out to be due to his gammy knee, but is still a good price. Diame's is £3.5, which would be a superb bit of business for any club.
In the Spanish leagues, minimum fees are a part of every contract negotiation, and as such the clubs are used to setting them at a level that suits them. However there are a few buy out clauses out there that could be worth meeting. Malaga's Isco, one of the most talented young players in Europe, is reportedly available for £17.5 million, whilst Sevilla's Benat could be picked up for £17 million. These aren't outrageous bargains, but those fees would likely rise considerably if either player signs a new deal.
Atletico Madrid could face two buy outs in January if some speculation is to be believed. Falcao's £48 million clause is interesting Chelsea and Manchester City, whilst Arda Turan is available for just under £20 million. Atletico would have though Falcao's high fee would have been enough to dissuade suitors, and Napoli might now be worrying about the similar price they placed on Edinson Cavani's head.
Even if you put a stratospheric fee in the contract, there are clubs out there willing to try. Lionel Messi's £205 million fee was activated by a Russian club recently, only for the Argentine to turn down a £460,000 a week contract to stay in Barcelona. One man's fee who looks out of range though is Cristiano Ronaldo's. If you want to force Real Madrid to accept a bid for the Portuguese star, you'll need £800 million.
image: © chilangoco