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Whitecaps stand to profit if Bayern Munich sells Davies

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Count the Vancouver Whitecaps among those watching Alphonso Davies' future with Bayern Munich with interest.

The Whitecaps will benefit from any future transfer, thanks to a sell-on clause negotiated in the Canadian star's sale to the German powerhouse in July 2018. At the time, the Whitecaps said the fixed transfer fee and "additional compensation" could total more than US$22 million, a then-record for the league.

A Whitecaps spokesman confirmed that the transfer agreement included the MLS team getting a percentage of the transfer fee if Bayern sells him. The spokesman declined to detail the sell-on percentage, but with Davies linked to a move to Real Madrid worth in excess of $50 million it could prove to be a generous return.

Clubs can negotiate to include a sell-on percentage in a transfer deal. While there is no set scale, typically the range is 10 to 20 per cent, according to one agent who does not represent Davies, or 10 per cent to 30 per cent "on the high end," according to an MLS GM not with Vancouver.

Talk of a move to Madrid has escalated in recent weeks amid reports of an impasse in contract terms on a new deal with Bayern. Davies, now 23, signed a two-year contract extension with the German side in April 2020 that runs through June 30, 2025.

Bayern Munich sports director Max Eberl said last month that the club had made its final offer to Davies to extend his contract.

"I can say we made Alphonso a very concrete, appreciative offer,” Eberl told the Sport Bild magazine. “At some point in life you have to say yes or no.”

Spanish reports suggest Davies has already reached an agreement with Real Madrid on personal terms, but Eberl said the Spanish league leader had not been in touch. Bayern could ask for a fee if Davies were to leave the club at the end of this season.

"No club wants to lose players for free," Eberl said when he was introduced by Bayern in February.

Reports in Europe have suggested that while Real Madrid is interested in Davies, and vice versa, it does not want to pay 40 million euros (C$58.5 million) to sign him this summer. The Spanish club reportedly is prepared to wait another year to land Davies on a free transfer if a deal cannot be made with Bayern.

In July 2016, a 15-year-old Davies signed a homegrown player contract with the Whitecaps, becoming the third-youngest in history to sign an MLS deal. He finished out the 2018 MLS season with the Whitecaps, joining Bayern in January 2019 an 18-year-old.

Davies, one of the fastest players in the Bundesliga, has played 185 games for Bayern with nine goals and 27 assists. He has won the Bundesliga title five times (2019, '20, '21, '22 and '23), the DFL Supercup three times (2020, '21 and '22), the DFB Cup twice (2019 and '20,) as well as the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup(all in 2020).

Davies has been named Canada Soccer Player of the Yearfour times (2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022) and CONCACAF Player of the Year twice (2021 and 2022).

He has won 45 caps for Canada with 16 goals and was a member of Canadas team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where he scored Canada's first-ever goal at the men's soccer showcase in a 4-1 loss to Croatia.

By agreeing to a larger sell-on fee, a buying club can sometimes bring down the purchase price of a player, according to the MLS GM.

"Depending how much time a player has been with your club, how much time you've invested in the player, you might ask for more or less of the sell-on percentage," said the GM. "And it also depends how aggressive the buying club is with the money that they're willing to outlay up front."

MLS clubs retain 95 per cent of transfer revenues with five per cent going to the league (which doesn't distinguish between guaranteed, conditional or sell-on, but just takes five percent of any/all of those funds).

In some cases, the club receives 100 per cent of all transfer revenues until it has recouped its "‘out of pocket" expenses to acquire the player in question. The 95/5 split applies to any remaining transfer revenue.

Before the 2023 season, that 95/5 split was also applied to homegrown players. Previously, teams retained 100 per cent of a homegrown player's transfer revenue.

Because the Davies transfer to Bayern came before that, the Whitecaps will keep 100 per cent of whatever they make from the sell-on provision.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2023.