Motherwell are prepared to make a formal submission for compensation for developing Chris Cadden after Columbus Crew signed the Scotland international.
The Major League Soccer side immediately loaned Cadden to Oxford, who had also been hoping to sign the versatile 22-year-old on a permanent basis after he rejected a new deal at Fir Park.
Motherwell believe they are owed about £200,000 from the American club – they could have expected £320,000 if he had gone direct to Oxford.
But they may have to fight for their money as the compensation system is still in its infancy in the United States, with Columbus thought to be categorising themselves as a club two ranks lower than Motherwell. It is understood the Scottish club fear they could be offered as little as £30,000.
Motherwell chief executive Alan Burrows told BBC Radio Scotland: “There can be absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that we have protected our right to training compensation by doing everything FIFA tells us to do to do that.
“Chris is still 22, his contract expired in the year of his 22nd birthday. So in terms of FIFA transfer and status of players we are due compensation for all the years between 12 and 21.
“Where the waters are slightly muddied is that the MLS refused to recognise training compensation and solidarity until April. Obviously that position changed in April and that was welcomed by everyone.
“So we will be pursuing compensation, on an informal basis, but if we have to do it formally we will do it formally.”
Burrows added: “The training compensation we feel we are due is what FIFA set out in a formula which is just short of a quarter of a million dollars.”
Crew declared that Cadden would join them ahead of their 2020 campaign, but did not give details on the length of contract.
General manager Tim Bezbatchenko told the club’s official website: “In negotiating this particular transaction, it simply made sense for all parties for the player to join the club in 2020 after gaining valuable experience in England this summer and fall.”
Oxford announced they had signed Cadden on a season-long loan deal and immediately put him in their team for a pre-season friendly against Fulham.
Cadden told Oxford’s website: “It is complicated and has been a little bit frustrating because there was a lot of paperwork to go through.
“Signing for Columbus will be an amazing experience but Oxford is a fantastic club as well and once this idea came up I was really excited because I have always wanted to play in the English leagues as well.”
Meanwhile, Motherwell have handed another homegrown midfielder Allan Campbell improved wages on his contract, which has two years left to run.
Manager Stephen Robinson told the club’s official website: “We have now put Allan in line with other first team players. We felt it was a deserved reward for his hard work and his consistent performances.
“He is continuing to improve with every game, and devotes his life to constantly trying to get better.”