The 2018/19 season may have reached its concluding chapters in the past few weeks, but for many of us our footballing journeys are yet to begin.
If the Women’s World Cup or Nations League Finals haven’t been able to remedy the Premier League void in your heart, then you may have turned to the ever-reliable Football Manager in an effort to get your sporting fix.
If your team failed to qualify for the Champions League, or even blew their chance to sign that one exciting prospect you thought was nailed on to join, well then, FM19 was probably your source to put things right and relive the season – except, done exactly your way.
And as is obligatory with every transfer window, the rumour mill is working overdrive to satisfy our footballing needs; with the words “release clause” seemingly a compulsory component of every transfer rumour these days.
But, the release clause is no joke in the footballing world, nor is it something to be sneered at in FM, as many a bargain and transfer masterstroke have been pulled off courtesy of the contract instalment.
So, with that considered, who are the best footballers with release clauses that you must activate in FM19?
Wissam Ben Yedder
Release clause: £27m
The 28-year-old France international recently pipped Alexandre Lacazette, Ousmane Dembele and Anthony Martial to Didier Deschamps’ latest Les Bleus squad, which shows just how highly-rated the nimble forward is, and you can sign him for less than £30m – an absolute snip in the current market.
Blessed with a number of strong stats for a striker, including excellent finishing, technique, first touch, composure and off the ball movement, Ben Yedder is the archetypal advanced forward ready to seriously improve your frontline.
Release clause: £18m
A relative unknown on English soil, Luan is a familiar face for Football Manager aficionados, with it almost being a rite of passage to secure the Brazil international for his modest £18m release clause. The 26-year-old is a ready-made elite player for any Premier League club, and if nurtured correctly, goes on to become one of the game’s most devastating attacking players.
Release clause: £27m
If the 2018/19 season taught us anything it’s that A) goalkeepers are actually really important, and B) Brazilian goalkeepers are quite good. So, it would therefore make sense to prise Araxa-born gloveman Neto away from the Mestalla.
At just £27m, his release clause presents the perfect chance to recruit a high-quality goalkeeper without having to break the bank, a la Chelsea with Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Club: Sporting Gijon
Release clause: £875,000
The Spanish starlet can, and should, be signed by anyone who is about to embark on a new journey in the dugout. At just 16, the fledgling winger/attacking-midfielder can be moulded into one of the greatest forwards on the game, and for less than £1m you won’t have to compromise your transfer kitty either.
Release clause: £8.5m
Another attacking tyro destined for the stars if managed correctly, the Brazilian prodigy is the latest prospect to emerge from Corinthians’ esteemed production line and can be acquired for a very moderate fee – watch out for the work permit for Premier League clubs though.
Club: Atletico Madrid
Release clause: £28.5m
No Partey, no party. The Ghanaian midfield enforcer is simply a requisite purchase for any top club, in fact, any astute operative in the market would be insane not to trigger the 25-year-old’s buyout clause. With an excellent reading of the game and an insatiable energy, Partey would improve any central midfield tenfold.
Release clause: £18m
No-one tell Unai Emery, but his former talisman at both Sevilla and Valencia can be picked up at the start of the season for £18m. It makes a mockery of the current market that a player with such talent, pedigree and experience can be secured for more than half the price of Fred. With exceptional vision and creativity, it seems almost nonsensical why Emery didn’t try to lure him to north London last year – either simulation or real life.
Release clause: £13.5m
Another Sevilla footballer, and another who can be drawn away from the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan for a prodigiously meagre sum; the seasoned left-back is an all-round defender, accomplished at both nullifying opponents’ attacks and capable of buccaneering forward to contribute in the final third. With excellent physical stats, coupled with competent crossing, dribbling, technique and a high work rate, Escudero is a formidable modern full-back.
Release clause: £27m
If you hadn’t noticed already, there is a similar pattern emerging here: La Liga is a hotbed for players with release clauses. And another full-back who would make an excellent addition to your high-octane starting XI – should you choose to embrace a more modern philosophy – is the Yellow Submarine’s loyal servant, vice-captain and stalwart, Gaspar. You can shatter Villarreal hearts by triggering his cut-price release clause and tempting him away from his boyhood club.
Club: Real Madrid
Release clause: £5m
Tipped for superstardom upon signing for Los Blancos in 2015, it’s fair to say the Norway international hasn’t quite lived up to his original ‘wonderkid’ billing, but that could all change under your tutelage. At just £5m Odegaard is definitely worth a punt, but you will have to wait a season until his loan spell with Vitesse reaches an end before working your magic to develop him into the galactico we all thought he’d be by now.
Release clause: £21m
The £21m release clause for an untested and inexperienced teenager may prove too steep for some managers, but the Mauricio Pochettinos among us will have no qualms splashing the cash in an effort to cultivate the prodigiously gifted youngster. A La Masia graduate, the talented tyro has the capacity to become a world beater, but will you risk jeopardising the balance sheets for his signature?
Release clause: £8m
Looking to land a quality winger without flexing too much financial power? Well, look no further than Ontiveros; the young Malaga man has the potential to be a leading light if handled correctly – failing that, he would make an excellent squad player. Capable of playing on either flank, the versatile winger would add real depth to your team.
Release clause: £22.5m
Surprise surprise, we’re back in Andalusia, and you could seriously plunder the ranks of Los Hispalenses with the number of release clauses in their squad. Should your attacking armoury need bolstering then Sarabia could be the missing piece to your tactical puzzle. Capable of playing anywhere across the frontline, be it an advanced playmaker, trequartista or shadow striker, the 27-year-old should be on your wishlist if you’re in need of some serious firepower up top.
Release clause: £54m
For the Leicester Citys, West Hams, and ahem, Evertons, look away now as Brazilian youngster Everton doesn’t come cheap. Many will baulk at the release clause of the Immortal Tricolor’s attacking star, but the Maracanau-born forward is one of the best players in the game, and can reach the pantheon of Selecao greats if you play your cards right.
Release clause: £7m
Should you not possess the spending power to sign Everton, then Moses Simon could prove a shrewd acquisition. The Nigerian winger only joined the Frogs last summer but can be picked up in January for only £7m and would make a fine addition to any mid-table Premier League club.