If Vale are to make a profit on young players then the good ones need to be under contract…

If Vale are to make a profit on young players then the good ones need to be under contract…

Rob Fielding expands on his article from earlier this week to argue that putting star youngsters on contracts fits with the current club approach of developing and selling on emerging talent.

Rob Fielding writes…

I suggested earlier in the week that rather than spend money on a striker, it would be better for Vale to offer contracts to key players. I still feel that this is the more sensible long-term approach for a club that wants to sell players on for a profit.

My argument is simple – although you do get a fee for a player aged 24 who leaves you under freedom of contract, you’d get far more money if he was on a long-term contract.

If Smith and Streete were to leave for similar amounts the club would barely break even let alone make a profit…

I believe the philosophy of the club at the moment is to develop young talent and potentially to sell it on at a large profit (using some of the proceeds to bring in more young talent and keep the cycle going).

However, although all of this summer’s new signings have long-term contracts, two of the season’s rising stars – Remie Streete and Nathan Smith – are both out of contract in the summer.

In my view, it’s crucial that they are offered new deals. Let me explain…

In recent years, Vale have lost the likes of Dave Hibbert and Jordan Hugill and received compensation fees. Hibbert’s was a miserly £45,000. He’d been at Vale Park since the age of nine so the Valiants got a mere £5,000 for every year he was on our books. I believe the compensation amount for Hugill (who admittedly had not been with the club as long) was equally small. If Smith and Streete were to leave for similar amounts the club would barely break even let alone make a profit.

That’s the problem with the PFCC tribunal agreed compensation amounts. They don’t tend to add up to much,  they don’t tend to have the all-important (in my opinion) sell-on clauses and they are non-negotiable.

So, what’s the alternative?

If Vale are serious about developing and selling on emerging talent, surely it’s time to offer contracts to two of the club’s best prospects?

Well, if a player is under contract, Vale are in a position of strength. Being a club of our size we’re always going to eventually sell our best talent but we should always try to do so for a price that genuinely suits us. We can also negotiate the price, something you can’t do at a tribunal. So, that potentially means bigger fees and a sell-on clauses, rather than a measly, non-negotiable, tribunal-set fee, for our best young talent.

And that sell-on clause can be hugely profitable. If Troy Deeney had opted to move to Leicester this summer it would have netted Walsall a £6m windfall (and probably helped to get them promoted). Fleetwood could have also earned millions if Jamie Vardy had moved to Arsenal. A sell-on clause can change a club’s fortunes.

If Vale are serious about developing and selling on emerging talent, surely it’s time to offer extended contracts to two of the club’s best prospects?

Appendix – how the PFCC tribunal works

  • Whatever valuation the tribunal comes up with is non-negotiable.
  • The Professional Football Compensation Committee (PFCC) is an ad hoc group of four or five people formed as and when is necessary.
  • The PFCC is normally composed of people from within football with legal experience such as club secretaries or lawyers.
  • The PFCC has a set list of factors to consider, the status of the two clubs, the age of the player, the player’s terms, any fee paid upon registration and the length of time the player was at the club.
  • The terms of the new contract offered to the player are considered, then the player’s playing record is looked at. Finally, interest shown by any other clubs is taken into account.
  • In England tribunals are relatively infrequently used and smaller clubs from lower divisions often prefer not to take the risk of receiving a low fee set by a non-negotiable tribunal.

Source: The Guardian newspaper

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