Note to Doug:
I'm glad you asked. In convenient bullet point format:
-Only during offseason (~Jun-Aug) and January: “transfer windows”
-Sometimes loans within a country to a lower league are allowed outside windows
-New team is buying out remainder of player’s contract with current team. Then player and new team must agree to new contract
-This is always with player consent, so they can’t just ship your ass off to the Mariners like in MLB
-Sometimes contracts will have a fixed buyout price; otherwise it is whatever the teams agree to.
-In a cup competition (Champions League, etc.) player can only play for one team, even if he later transfers.
-Six months before a contract ends, a player can negotiate with other teams for a new contract after current contract ends.
-Once a contract is up, a player can sign with any team they want without owing the previous team anything
-MLS has a vastly different system since they claim all teams are a single entity for business purposes.
Beep Way too long for a beep beep. Beep.