MOTHERWELL director Graham Alexander has called for a review of the rules on pre-contractual agreements in Scotland – and admitted he favors the English system.
Alexander confirmed earlier this month that his striker Tony Watt, the Cinch Premiership’s top scorer this season with nine goals, is set to join Dundee United at the end of the 2021/22 campaign.
He stressed that he would continue playing the striker in the second half of the season if no fee was agreed between the Fir Park little one and the Tannadice side in the January transfer window.
However, the former Scotland defender, who spent his entire playing and coaching career in the south before moving to Motherwell last year, admitted he was not comfortable with the setup of this country.
The FA only allow footballers to sign pre-contract deals a month before their deals expire – which is usually at the end of June – so they don’t face the club they will be joining this summer .
Alexander – whose Motherwell side are currently six points clear of United in the Premiership and are pushing for a place in the UEFA Conference League – thinks the system in England is much better.
“It’s a weird pre-contract thing,” he said. “You don’t experience that in England – players sign pre-contracts and can play against the team they join in the same league.
“Personally, I think it’s something that needs to be looked at. I don’t think it’s fair, but it is what it is, so we have to deal with it and we try to do it in the best way possible.
Alexander says Watt will only be allowed to move to Tannadice this month if United submit a bid that matches Motherwell’s assessment of the former Celtic and Scotland striker.
“They spoke to Alan Burrows, our general manager, to discuss Tony’s situation once the news got out,” he said. “Alan was upfront with them and painted the picture for what it is – which is to say we’re in no rush to let Tony go.
“He’s contracted until the summer and he’s the Premiership’s top scorer. He’s played every match bar for me in my year in charge, so he’s a valued member of our squad and team.
“If someone wants to take him this month, there’s a premium to be paid and that’s the same for all the players at the club.”