I imagine that the thinking behind this new feature is twofold. There is of course the usability side of things. It’s going to be a lot easier and faster to negotiate transfers using the new system and the frustration associated with waiting days only to be knocked back will be long gone. There’s also a sense of realism with this new feature, it’s clearly attempting to replicate a real-life scenario in which two clubs sit around a table and have a live conversation regarding a transfer. Then again, you only need to look at the drawn out transfer dealings of this summer, such as Gareth Bale’s protracted transfer from Spurs to Real Madrid, to see that such negotiations aren’t always the norm.
It is perhaps for this reason that Sports Interactive have decided to include this new live system alongside the old transfer system, rather than replacing it completely. So in FM2014 you’ll have the option of whether to just make a normal bid or to use the new “Suggest Terms” button which will instigate the new live transfer system. The question remains however, what different this will make. Will AI clubs react differently to making an offer and waiting for a reply compared to using the new live system?
Recent versions of Football Manager have included the option to set a deadline for clubs to respond to transfer offers. Often setting a short deadline merely results in a refutation by the receiving club that they won’t be forced into making a quick decision, but sometimes it can be used to unsettle a player or club, enticing them to accept a lower offer, or pushing the deal through quicker if you’re in a hurry. Judging by the screenshots, which you can find below, the option to set a deadline still exists so it will be interesting to see how making an offer with a short deadline is different from instigating a live transfer, both in regards to the speed of completing a transfer and enticing a club to accept. There is a risk that the ability to set a deadline will become somewhat redundant if you can always opt for a live transfer instead.
While we still haven’t been given much information one screenshot seems to suggest that the live transfer system is less feature rich than it may at first appear. As you’ll see below it looks like an offer has been made for Stevenage Boroughs, Luke Freeman. In the next screenshot you’ll see that the message at the top has changed to “Stevenage have rejected the offer for Luke Freeman” and the two buttons “Make Offer” and “Suggest Terms” have been disabled. This implies that if a club rejects your suggestion of terms, you can’t immediately make an improved offer. If this is the case then the effectiveness of the live transfer system will be severely reduced. Presumably you will only be able to have a live transfer if the opposing club wishes to negotiate and tell you what terms they are interested in. If however they don’t wish to tell you their preferred terms then you’ll have to wait for another day to make another offer just as you would in previous versions of Football Manager. Perhaps this is the most realistic solution, as we’ve already said, not all transfers are beaten out around a table, some drag on for weeks or months with the receiving team refusing to negotiate until an offer becomes too good to turn down. While Sports Interactive have yet to make clear exactly how the new live transfer system works, it seems to me that this is the most likely implementation they’ll have gone for. Exactly how it works and what effect it will have on manager transfer dealings however… well we’ll have to wait and see.