Watford were one of the biggest and busiest Premier League transfer spenders in January yet paid the fifth lowest amount to agents and intermediaries, according to figures released today.
The Hornets signed Costel Pantilimon, Nordin Amrabat, Mario Suarez, Adalberta Penaranda and Abdoulaye Doucoure in the period between October 1 2015 and February 1 2016 audited by the Football Association as part of the new Fifa transparency regulations into the dealings of agents and intermediaries.
Agents typically command a fee of up to ten per cent of a player’s gross guaranteed annual income – not the transfer fee. Suarez, Amrabat, Doucoure, Penaranda and Pantilimon all signed long-term deals in accordance with the club’s policy under this ownership of protecting the assets on the playing staff.
If Suarez, say, signed a deal worth £40,000 per week for the next four-and-half years his agent, Manuel Quillon, could have been entitled to as much as £936,000. Watford paid a net total of £782,494 to all agents and intermediaries for that four-month period when they signed five players all with international experience of some level.
The commission is typically split 50-50 between player and club. Most clubs stagger payments to agents over the length of the player’s contract, although the chances of a deal for a player going through can often hinge on the structure of the agent’s commission. Players have been known to sign for clubs because the agent’s fee will be paid up front, in one lump sum. Five per cent is the norm for domestic transfers and some deals go through for as little as 2.5 per cent commission.
The figures released today do not, we believe, reflect those players who arrange to pay their agent direct. Most, however, have the money deducted by the club from their wages.
Watford paid £1,620.229 to agents during the period October 2014 to September 2015 when they signed 18 players, made seven loan deals (including Adlene Guedioura twice), renewed the contracts of six players and recruited a new head coach. The amount was the lowest in the Premier League by £708,000 and only £518,000 and £771,000 more than Derby County and Reading, respectively.