Kevin de Bruyne saved himself more than £8million by negotiating his new Manchester City contract himself.
De Bruyne, 29, has signed a four-year deal that could bank him close to £400,000-a-week when bonuses and commercial rights are included.
The total package is set to cost City around £83million – and De Bruyne will not be obliged to pay the usual 10 percent agency fees after opting to seal the deal himself following a legal wrangle with his former adviser Patrick De Koster.
De Koster is under police investigation after De Bruyne’s father Herwig uncovered a number of alleged financial discrepancies last year.
De Bruyne senior employed the services of a team of legal experts from Brussels-based law firm Altius to finalise the small details with City after his son had agreed his own salary package.
Belgian lawyer Sven Demeulemeester and foreign tax expert Daan Buylaert are sports specialists.
Altius charge £500-an-hour for their services – so the final bill to De Bruyne for 100 hours work was £50,000.
All negotiations between City and Altius were done via a Zoom link due to the ongoing pandemic.
De Bruyne’s use of data analysis to illustrate his value to the club was vital during discussions.
But it was only after City had pulled the plug on the bid to bring in Lionel Messi from Barcelona at the end of the season that they agreed to meet the player’s wage demands.
De Bruyne originally turned down his club’s opening offer after talks began last December.