Brighton & Hove Albion chief executive Paul Barber says that there is no such thing as a no-cost transfer in today’s market.
Barber was talking with BBC Sussex when he explained that a free transfer doesn’t mean that the club's player budget has been unaffected.
He said, "One of the great myths in football is that free transfers are cheap options. It doesn't necessarily work out like that because sometimes a player or his agent expects a bigger signing fee.
"It's always the total cost of a player that we would look at. Free doesn't necessarily mean free - or even cheap - that is for sure.
"Player budgets are usually made up of a number of key items; firstly any transfer fee, secondly the player's wages - and that could include anything from signing-on fees to bonuses and, of course, the agent's fee.
"We always look at the total costs of any transfer and then we divide those costs over the length of the contract to establish the cost each year to our player budget."
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Meanwhile Barber has admitted that any transfer window always brings issues regarding recruiting the optimum number and type of players.
He added, "As ever, we’re trying to establish a balance between experience and youth, pace and strength, attacking and defensive qualities, and an ability in the air or on ground.
"The manager is looking for all those different qualities on the pitch and the trick is then to blend those players together as an effective unit.
"We feel that the players we've brought in are a combination of all those things, experience, height, goalscoring ability, speed, agility and so on.
“We know the areas in which we didn't perform as well as we had hoped last year, but we've also got a lot of quality in the squad that wasn't available to us last year; players who are now fit, back out on the field, and looking really good.
"Players like Solly March, Dale Stephens, who only came back for the last quarter of last season, and Andrew Crofts, who has had some real bad luck in the last couple of seasons.
"These are high-quality players who will add a lot to the squad as it stands, let alone any new additions that we bring in."