Wilshere woe has led Luton to ‘negotiate the hell’ out of any transfer deal

Jack Wilshere in action for England - pic: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Jack Wilshere in action for England - pic: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Luton Town will always ‘negotiate the hell’ out of any future transfer deal to avoid the pain of missing out on precious funds as they have done with the likes Jack Wilshere in the past, according to chief executive Gary Sweet.

Wilshere had been in the Hatters’ academy before being sold to Arsenal in 2001, but left Luton without the clauses in place that would have seen Town benefit from his meteoric rise to a full England international while at the Gunners.

One thing we do properly is negotiate deals for our players now.

Gary Sweet

There are other examples too. Centre back Curtis Davies, who West Bromwich Albion paid the Hatters £3m for back in 2005, then headed to Aston Villa for £9m three years later, with Town not seeing another penny from that deal.

Fast forward almost a decade though and with the club owned by 2020 Developments Ltd since 2008, Luton have now got it right.

A perfect example is the Andre Gray deal which saw the striker join Brentford for £600,000 in 2014.

Town have since seen their coffers swelled to the tune of almost £2.5million due to numerous add-ons inserted in the deal including a sell-on for his £9m move to Burnley.

They received £1.1m spread over three seasons, and a further £700,000 when Gray helped the Clarets win promotion, plus another smaller windfall after the Turf Moor club remained in the Premier League last term.

There will no doubt be similar stipulations in the transfer that took midfielder Cameron McGeehan to Barnsley this week, as Sweet doesn’t ever want to left thinking what might have been ever again.

He said: “Jack Wilshere is a horrible example and there’s a couple out there you’re thinking, two, two and half per cent sell on clause that the club did previously.

“We wouldn’t entertain anything like that here, as the sell on percentage is key to us.

“There are players that supporters won’t have heard of that we’re getting money for, that are still under 16 or still under 18, at other clubs, where, because they get a scholarship, or a youth appearance or get called up to and England U16 side, we get a little bit.

“It’s not a huge amount, but we get little bits of money for it as we negotiate the hell out of everything.

“One thing we do properly is negotiate deals for our players now.

“A lot of the youngsters who left us during the Conference years, because it was hard to protect them and keep them at Luton while we were out of the Football League, we actually negotiated the hell out of every single deal.

“We got good sell on clauses, good add on provisions, when they turn scholars, but we don’t announce them all at the time.”

Sweet also went on reveal that the club know exactly how much any of their players are worth to them, should other clubs try to prise them away.

He added: “We measure two things. We measure our asset value in contracted players that are in house, that’s got to grow constantly.

“It’s an in house valuation of every single player, which is a snapshot of, if he was to be sold now, what would the value be?

“That’s not because we’re looking for a sale, it’s a financial mechanism, a financial benchmark that we say this is an area, almost like a dashboard area, where we are improving on.

“It’s one of our KPIs (key performance indicators), while one of the other KPIs is the asset base of players that have left the club and that is growing significantly too.”