Sports firms set for transfer frenzy

A lively close-season transfer market has buoyed City sports practices, with Couchman Harrington and Slaughter and May doing well out of Chelsea FC’s and Arsenal FC’s team-building plans.

Couchman Harrington co-managing partner Dan Harrington advised on two of the year’s biggest transfers: Andriy Shevchenko’s move from AC Milan to Chelsea for around £30m and Michael Ballack’s switch from FC Bayern Munich to the same club.

Hill Dickinson advised on the image rights agreements surrounding Shevchenko’s transfer, despite partner Chris Farnell leaving the firm days before the deal closed.

Harrington was optimistic that the World Cup would spur clubs into transfer market action, saying: “We expect a busy summer with the reopening of the transfer window and the World Cup.”

Meanwhile, the services of Slaughters partners Nigel Boardman and Andrew Jolly have been in demand from Chelsea’s London rival, Arsenal. The Champions League runner-up has signed Tomas Rosicky from Borussia Dortmund and agreed a new contract with Thierry Henry. Mark Buckley and his sports team at Fladgate Fielder advised on two transfers from Crystal Palace FC to Premiership clubs on the same day. Fladgates advised on Andrew Johnson’s £8.6m move to Everton FC and is steering the club through its dispute with ex-manager Iain Dowie, who left to join Charlton Athletic FC.