No apologies for the length (there is a summary at the end).
Over the past several versions of FM (and with a big dose of recency bias), my experience in the transfer market has been frustrating.
When I want to sell a player, I rarely get a transfer offer that meets or exceeds what the game presents as the player's value. When I offer a player to clubs, the offers I receive are significantly lower that either the value portrayed by the game or my asking price (regardless of it being higher, lower, or equal to the value indicated in his profile). Even more frustrating, those offers are non-negotiable. On top of this, I rarely receive offers from the biggest clubs listed as interested on the player's transfer status page as having interest. There never seems to be any interest of poaching my talent from either my domestic or continental rivals. Transfer listing immediately results in low-ball offers. There isn't any feedback on what the board's valuation is.
EDIT 1: Some of this could be improved by a suggestion I made previously. Communicating with players and agents prior to contract and transfer offers, in order to have that player's agent discreetly seek out potential moves without broadcasting the player's availability. The idea I set forth below doesn't necessarily resolve the issues I outlined above. Many of the problems I have selling a player may purely be my mental block. When I see that my third or fourth choice England-capped midfield has a value of £56M, I expect to get a decent return (over time and performance based, if necessary). When the only offers I receive are non-negotiable £15M with significant wage contribution from bottom-half PL teams and championship promotion challengers, I shrug those off. Maybe that £56M is the market value I describe below. Maybe all I'm really asking for is the club accountant's value of the player so that I can overcome my own mental block. /EDIT
There are a few things that I think could improve feedback in the game: book value, market value, and market analysis.
Book Value allows the manager, me, to make a transfer decision that at minimum is not a detriment to the club's finances, and therefore, minimally acceptable to the board.
This is strict arithmetic; BV = (T / Y) + (B + C - F):
BV = Book Value (BV) equals
T = Transfer fee
Y = Years of service to
B = Remaining loyalty bonus
C = Estimated commercial impact
F = Loan fees received.
BV = (T / Y) + (L + C - F)
Selling academy players might result in a larger profit than selling transfer busts, as those academy players have have no transfer fee.
Market Value is an indication of how the player is valued by the public at large. Market value is imprecise and impacted by the ability of your recruitment team and director of football to gauge the market.
I don't quite know how to calculate this, or maybe this is what is already done and presented in the game.
A player's market value may be inflated by:
Statistics / Match Ratings, weighted with a recency bias
Greater than 18 months remaining on contract,
Recent Transfer Fee Comparisons
First Team squad importance (first team playing time and contract value is a proxy for this),
Competition(s) he plays in -domestic, continental, and international,
Competitions won (weighted with a recency bias),
Awards won or been short-listed for, and
Desire to stay at club
No leaks to press
Remains competitive in games
On the other hand, market value maybe adversely impacted by:
Fewer than 24 months remaining on contract
severity of injuries (length out of action)
unable to reclaim spot
Professionalism (might be applicable to regens only)
Disruption of squad harmony,
Reduced competitiveness in games
Demonstrated or rumored interest from larger clubs
Failing to replace key players sold by the club
Lack of first team action (at club or on loan)
Lack of experience
Youth players with no top flight, first team experience have lower market value
Statistics and poor Match Ratings
I do not believe that release clause(s) would factor into the increasing or decreasing the market value. When market value approaches or exceeds release clause values, this is an indication that the club should offer new terms. As market value approaches or exceed the release clause value, clubs may trigger the clause before new terms can be offered.
Market Analysis provides information about the opportunities to sell a player in the upcoming transfer window. The report is tied to the quality of your recruitment department and director of football.
The report comes in two formats: general overview and player specific report.
The general overview is a report that summarizes demand in the upcoming window.
Ideally, this would identify clubs anticipated to be active in the market or have known weaknesses, what position(s) they are searching for, estimated budget, and approximately what level of talent required -first team, depth, short-term or long term replacement.
In that report, it would identify which of my players fit the bill. Perhaps my backup looking for more playing time is their starter.
The game currently provides information about what a club is looking for. However, this only occurs when you are placing a transfer offer for their player, seemingly as a mean to encourage the rare player exchange. My proposed market analysis report collates the information provided at individual transfer offer screens into a centralized hub. This could also be a recurring news item during the transfer window that updates with transfer activity and domino effects that may occur.
The player specific report is a counter-part to the current transfer recommendations we can request from our DoF. When a manager requests a market analysis for a player, and the report comes back a few days, weeks, month(s) later (depending on analyst knowledge, ability, and availability), identifying clubs which might be good landing spots for the player. This could be clubs that are looking for improvement, replacement (immediate or long-term), squad competition and or depth at that position.
This is a discreet search, one that doesn't trigger a "bargain hunter" type bid from clubs that happens when a player is transfer listed or offered to clubs. It might allow the manager to determine likelihood of a bidding war. A press leak might unsettle the player or see the player indicate a desire to stay at the club.
Book value represents the minimum value a player should be sold for from business perspective. Market Value is the perceived maximum a player is worth.
Having these values inverse (market value less than book value) is possible, and obviously not great for the club. Selling a young player for significantly less than book value might upset the board and receive poor reactions from the board for transfer activity. Selling significantly lower than market value, or having a player in his prime run down his contract, would lead to poor reactions from the fans.
Market Analysis identifies opportunities in the market and dependent on the recruitment team's abilities and coverage.