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Football Glossary: (to) Tap up

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(to) Tap Up

To illegally or secretly approach another team’s player in order to try to persuade them to join your club. Clubs are not supposed to talk to a player who is under contract at another club – they must ask permission from their club first. But tapping up another player is still very common in football.

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  • Example: Tottenham have accused Manchester United of tapping up their player. They think Manchester United didn’t follow the rules about buying a player and met Berbatov secretly (2009).
  • Example: What is tapping up? Dark side of football transfer dealings revealed after Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk embarrassment (Daily Mirror, June 9 2017).

More Vocabulary

Let us know if you hear this phrase or how this might be said in another language by dropping us a line at: You can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here.

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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