When tribunals got involved in five big transfers…

Date published: Wednesday 10th February 2021 7:17 - Ian Watson

A tribunal is deciding how much Liverpool must pay Fulham for teenage prodigy Harvey Elliott. Here are five other deals which featured tribunals…


Dominic Solanke (Chelsea to Liverpool)
Liverpool and Chelsea eventually found some common ground over Solanke a year after the striker moved to Anfield in July 2017 so a tribunal wasn’t actually required.

Chelsea’s appetite for the fight presumably waned after reports emerged that a tribunal would side with Liverpool. The Blues were looking for around £10million in compensation for the centre-forward, who managed only a single first-team appearance with his boyhood club. The Reds were said to be offering something between £2million to £3million.

Chelsea would have argued that they brought Solanke through from Under-8 level. He won two FA Youth Cups and the UEFA Youth League in 2015. Solanke earned over 70 youth caps between England Under-16s to Under-21s and just before leaving Chelsea, he won the Golden Ball award when England triumphed at the Under-20 World Cup.

But Solanke achieved his senior milestones after leaving Chelsea. Within three months of his Liverpool debut, he earned his first – and only – England cap but the tribunal would have to ignore that in any judgement. The two clubs reached an agreement at the end of his first – and only – full season at Anfield. Half a season later, after only one senior Liverpool goal, Solanke was sold to Bournemouth for £19milion.

Nineteen. Million.


F365 Said: Bournemouth need saving from their Liverpool addiction


Daniel Sturridge (Man City to Chelsea)
Chelsea might also have used the case of Sturridge had they taken Liverpool all the way to a tribunal.

Sturridge left Manchester City to move to Stamford Bridge in 2009, when Chelsea’s initial offer of £3million was deemed unacceptable by City. Early in 2010, Chelsea were ordered to pay City £3.5million for the striker, plus further payments of £500,000 after each of 10, 20, 30 and 40 appearances. City were also due £1million upon Sturridge’s senior international debut, which came in November 2011. With a 15 per cent sell-on clause, which was invoked upon Sturridge’s £12million move to Liverpool in 2013, Chelsea had to pay City a total of £8.3million.

Chelsea were satisfied with the verdict: “We are content with the outcome of the tribunal. The initial fee is very close to what we first offered. Any subsequent payments are directly linked to the success of the player and that is satisfactory to us.”

In comparison to Solanke, Sturridge had played more senior games for City – 32 in all competitions – but Chelsea might have argued that Solanke was more successful at youth international level. Sturridge had also been with City since he was 13 having played at Aston Villa and Coventry for six years.


Premier League XI: Chelsea signings who flopped


Danny Ings (Burnley to Liverpool)
The total for Sturridge surpassed the record initial fee set by tribunal when Ings moved from Burnley to Liverpool in 2015. But Burnley eventually received in excess of £10million for the then 23-year-old.

Burnley were looking for around £12million in compensation, with Tottenham prepared to meet their demand, but Liverpool offered only half that amount. The Clarets were satisfied by the tribunal’s initial verdict, handed down 10 months after the transfer had taken place, that Liverpool should pay £6.5million up front with another £1.5million in add-ons.

It was also decreed that Burnley should receive 20 per cent of any future fee that Liverpool should receive for Ings. So the forward’s permanent switch to Southampton in 2019 for around £18million netted the Clarets another £3.6million.
Ethan Ampadu (Exeter to Chelsea)
While Burnley were satisfied with their verdict, Exeter were left feeling stiffed by Chelsea when compensation for Ampadu was set in 2018.

Almost a year before, amid interest from Arsenal and Manchester United, Ampadu moved to Stamford Bridge having made 13 appearances for Exeter’s first team after becoming the Grecians’ youngest player aged 15 years, 10 months and 26 days.

While speaking of their desire to reach an agreement with Chelsea without the need for a tribunal, Exeter supported Ampadu’s move. “Everyone at Exeter City fully supports Ethan’s decision to sign for Chelsea,” said Paul Tisdale at the time. “He had many options available to him and has decided that Chelsea provides him with the best opportunity to develop the next step of his career. We wish him the very best of luck.”

But the League Two club were rather more disappointed once it was decided that they would receive only £2.5million – £1.3million up front plus £1.2million in add-ons – for Ampadu.

“To say that we are disappointed is an understatement,” said chairman Julian Tagg. “We are disappointed for our fans, our academy, which works so hard on producing talented young players like Ethan, and for our management and coaching team who bring these players into the first team and beyond as part of supporting the work of the Football Association in its objective to produce international players of the highest quality which we believe we have done.

“Above all we are disappointed for football as we feel this decision sends the wrong message in terms of financial reward for those who are producing talented homegrown players for both club and country. ”

Exeter will net 20 per cent of any fee Chelsea receive for the Wales international, who is currently on loan at Sheffield United.


John Bostock (Crystal Palace to Tottenham)
Like Ampadu, Bostock made his senior debut aged 15. Like Exeter, Crystal Palace were furious about the compensation they received for their academy prodigy.

Every big club in Europe was chasing Bostock as a schoolboy. “You name the club, I had interest from them,” he told the BBC last year. “Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter, Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool – the who’s who of European football.”

Chelsea made Palace an offer of £900,000 when Bostock was 14, and Simon Jordan has since claimed he snubbed £1.5million from Barca, but it was Tottenham who made the most convincing case to the player’s family when the time came to move a year later. Bostock moved to White Hart Lane in the summer of 2008 and a tribunal took little time to reach a verdict over compensation for the England Under-17 captain: £700,000 up front, plus add-ons up to £1.25million dependent on appearances, plus a further £200,000 upon Bostock’s full international debut.

Jordan was fuming. He had already called Bostock’s step-father ‘a bare-faced liar’ when it emerged the youngster was joining Tottenham, and the tribunal’s verdict made the Palace chairman consider his own future in the game.

“For a tribunal to reward a purportedly bigger football club in Tottenham to take one of the most gifted young English players in the country for a sum of £700,000 is nothing short of scandalous,” he said.

“You get players like Aaron Ramsey, who has gone for £5m from Cardiff to Arsenal because that is the UK transfer market.

“The tribunal, in my view, are supposed to reflect the conditions of the transfer market place. And they came up with a figure of £700,000 for a player who has captained his country at Under-17 level, who is perceived to be one of the best youngsters in the country and is being chased by Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea.

“We had a £900,000 offer from Chelsea when he was 14 which we turned down. It’s beyond me and it makes me question why I bother with football.”

Jordan wasn’t finished. He rescinded the Palace season-tickets that Bostock and his step-father had already purchased for the following season.

Perhaps Jordan had the last laugh, though, even if he never saw any extra cash from the add-ons. Bostock managed only four Spurs appearances, none in the Premier League, and he was released by the club in 2013 after six loan stints away from White Hart Lane. The midfielder, currently on Doncaster’s books, is on his 13th club since leaving Palace.

More Related Articles