At Football Index Tips, we have a theory around transfers and how players share prices react. It’s a simple 4 step process that players go through and depending on their unique transfer, their share price will react differently. Once you get your head around our transfer theory, it’s a great tool to identify when the best time is to buy shares in players involved in transfer sagas.

The first thing that needs to be understood is the motivation of traders, and why they are buying players. The main reason that traders buy players involved in transfer sagas is the possibility of winning media dividends. However, some other traders, buy to sell. They will either adopt a long term strategy or a short term strategy and make money from the capital appreciation of the players share price.

Our theory is based off our own first hand experience, in both trading as well as observing what has happened to players in the past on Football Index. As with all theories it is not an exact science, with every player and situation is different. We always believe that the best way to explain something is to use real-life examples to demonstrate the theory as we walk you through it. For this theory, we will use the recent transfer of Dan James from Swansea to Manchester United. We will also use his Football Index price graph so you can see the evidence of how our theory applies in real situations.

An example of this theory not being applicable for all players is Aaron Ramsey. Ramsey is an anomaly to this theory as his pre-contract agreement with Juventus during the second half of the 18/19 season went relatively under the radar with little to no share price movement. This was due to how obvious it was that Juventus were going to be Ramsey’s next club, leading to minimal media buzz.

If you have any questions, comments or want to discuss anything about our Football Index Tips transfer cycle theory tweet us at @footyindextip!


Stage 1: Form


The first stage of the process is the initial rumours stage. In most cases, assuming you don’t already have shares in the player in question, this will be the stage you start to cast your eye over the player as a potential investment.

The first stage begins when the player’s form starts to make other teams sit up and take notice. Just as importantly, the media start to take notice and begin to hypothesize.

“Well, James Maddison is playing well at Leicester and Liverpool haven’t replaced Coutinho since they’ve sold him so naturally, Liverpool would be interested in him”

The accuracy of the rumour doesn’t matter at all.  All that matters is the media exposure from the right media outlets. You’ll notice that younger players, especially homegrown players, create even more media buzz and have surprisingly high share prices (compared to what they’ve achieved) and the hype will start to build. We’re looking for the players who are going to be snapped up by the bigger clubs.


Expectations: In most cases, their share price will spike. And the more press and more media buzz the bigger the spike will be.

This is because a large majority of traders on the FI are on the lookout for the next “big thing”. Football Index traders will always take a punt on players with potential transfers in the pipeline, because the chances are they’ll see a spike in the players price. This means that whether or not the player moves or not they can make a nice little profit from capital appreciation as long as the players form and rumours continue.

Typically during the season traders buying shares in this type of player will hold onto them waiting for the next transfer window if there is enough media buzz building up. This leads to a gradual increase in the players price as long as the players steers clear of injury and keeps up performances on the pitch.

Stage 2: Speculation


The second stage starts when the player starts to get strong and persistent rumours about a specific transfer. This normally starts in the build up to or during the transfer window. Although on rare occasions transfers are agreed mid-season, but come into effect when the relevant transfer window opens. The speculation stage starts as transfer rumours peak with several clubs being in a ‘bidding war’ up until a single club is in pole position to sign the player.

The build up is usually created from talk by so called “reliable sources”, leading to news outlets quoting each others stories making for decent media scores on a daily basis. This media transfer frenzy continues all the way through until a player is rumoured to be having personal talks or a medical with a certain club.


Expectations: The speculation stage will begin with a continued price rise of a player’s share price as the British media regurgitate stories back and forth building hype. The increased media coverage and uncertainty over where the player is moving to creates a continuous gradual price increase.

As the rumours continue and a club is identified as the favourites to sign the player, the share price will start to plateau. You might expect a player’s future prices to increase with the increased media scores; but the ending of a transfer saga leads to the reduced likelihood of future media scores with the media moving on to the next transfer story. This reduced likelihood of consistently high media scores and the fact that players are usually at their peak price leads to a reduced number of new shares bought.

But more importantly, traders are happy to hold on to their shares and pick up dividends for the player topping the media buzz charts.


Stage 3: Confirmation


A new trend in the football world over the past few years has seen player announcements become more creative and extravagant. What was wrong with a new player having pictures around the stadium holding up the shirt or a scarf with maybe a couple keepie-upies?

Now it’s all about insider interviews, first-day mini-documentaries and a funny/cheeky/clever unveiling video. Clubs are even trolling other clubs in their videos, like this Southampton video unveiling Che Adams.

You might be expecting to see a player’s share price increase with all this attention but in fact, the opposite is more likely to happen. The player’s share price will either continue to plateau or start to drop. Normally there is a drop of a couple of pence per share on the day the player finally puts pen to paper.

Traders know that they’re likely to pick up some dividends for media buzz but otherwise, the media will quickly move on. The player will soon become yesterday’s news. 

There is then normally a time delay that follows in which players bed into a new team. They might be introduced off the bench for a few games to begin, with it taking time until this player is back in the media spotlight or having enough time on the pitch to earn performance dividends. 

Expectations: Generally, depending on the player in question, a percentage of traders who are looking to chase the media buzz or short term price rise profits will sell their shares and move on to the next transfer. This will typically cause a gradual decrease in players share price of one or a couple pence a day.


Stage 4: Action 


The dust usually settles with other stories taking priority in the media especially the next transfer sagas and the new signing can go unnoticed. This means that when they finally make their first appearance, it is important. Not only for the player as he hopes to hit the ground running, but also for their share price as the media scrutinise every move. Being back in the media spotlight only means one thing on Football Index, with prices rising as traders chase media dividends.

It is also important to highlight in this stage that timing is everything. We have two transfer windows and the player’s share price is likely to behave differently depending on which window they are bought in. 

Players bought at the beginning of the summer, any time in July and the first half of August, have to wait seemingly forever for their first competitive game. The media love to scrutinise first appearances and with no game to make an impact in; the media will spend their time focusing on other transfer news.

January transfers are different because the player has the potential to make an immediate impact. An example of this is Virgil Van Dijk signing for Liverpool ahead of the January transfer window for a record transfer fee. His first game came quickly and he made an impact by scoring a winner against Everton in the local derby, in a cup tie no less. 

That’s what the media loves and this will have a positive impact on share prices. Also, a player who comes in on deadline day has the same opportunity to make an immediate impact like January signings. The transfer cycle still exists but the pace the player moves between the stages increases. 

Normally there’s crazy stories on deadline day with deals done, then not done and the new social media age of ‘spotting players’ or tracking random flights suggesting a players on board.

The media love the drama with questions of: Will he? Won’t he? Will the deal be finalized in time? Why is Peter Odemwingie in a random car park again?

The media feed on the uncertainty and then what makes a better story than a last minute singing scoring or sent off two days later. 


Expectations: If it’s a standard early summer transfer, unless it’s a massive marque player like Messi or Pogba, expect to see a steady decline share price as both the media and players get bored and look for other stories. This is until stage four where players impress in preseason, start their first game or something similar. The media love impact stories, and as these tend to dominate once the transfer window has closed. 

If it’s a deadline day deal or January transfer, then the share price may not dip at all with just a small plateau then continuing to rise again as the player remains in the media. 

Sometimes you need to estimate how long it will take the player to make an impact for their new club. Young players that are coming in as back up can continue to plateau and drop until they are given their chance. 

Once stage four is over it is then up to the player to take control of their own destiny. Players that hit the ground running will obviously see a price increase. Whilst other players that stagnate and don’t get opportunities will see their price go the other way. 

Football Index Tips – Transfer Cycle Theory in Action


To see our theory in action we have used the example of Dan James and his move from Swansea to Manchester United. In the image below you can see how we have split Dan James’s 3 month price graph down into stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 of our transfer theory and also highlighting the key event of signing. It is clear to see how his price spiked on initial interest, the plateau when he was destined for United, the dip once signed and then the rise as he impresses at pre-season.



So that’s it, our 4 step Football Index Tips transfer cycle theory. It’s not set in stone because at the end of the day if trading was that simple we would all be millionaires. But when making an investment in a player that you’re thinking might get a big transfer, it’s good to understand what’s happened with players before. You need to remember that the player’s share price is determined by supply and demand so it’s what other traders are doing. We have built this theory from watching the behaviours and reactions of Football Index traders, hoping to provide more information to traders on how the platform operates. Want to know more about how the Football Index works? Then read our full Football Index Guide!


  • General transfer buzz about a potential move will normally cause the players share price to start to increase, normally gradually.
  • As rumours increase with teams starting bidding wars the players share price will spike. Then as a solid rumour get’s confirmed and it looks like the move to a certain club is on, prices tend to plateau at their peak.
  • When the player signs, you might well expect to see the share price to stagnate or even to drop a little, depending on the player. Other considerations are the timing of the transfer and the status of the player. Some traders are likely to cash out immediately, putting their money in the next big transfer story which can cause a gradual drop in the share price of the player. The amount a player drops depends on the timing of the transfer. If it’s your typical, run-of-the-mill early Summer transfer then the expected drop in share price as traders look elsewhere for media buzz dividends can last what seems an eternity. On the other hand, deadline deals see less of this drop.
  • Finally, the fourth stage starts when the player starts to make an impact for their new club. The first media appearance, training session or game usually sees the price gradually increase as the media coverage follows. From then on it’s up to the player to perform. Players that hit the ground running will typically just go up and up whilst others that drift into obscurity will see their share price go the other way.

    If you have any questions, comments or want to discuss anything about our Football Index Tips transfer cycle theory, then get in touch!



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