KARL Robinson believes payments to agents are an unavoidable cost if clubs want to attract top talent.

The Football Association published figures this week on how much sides in the top five divisions spent on agents and intermediaries.

Oxford United’s total for the 12 months ending January 31 this year was at £142,551.

It was just over 50 per cent higher than the previous year, at £93,811, but six clubs in Sky Bet League One spent more.

It covers 20 deals which include permanent and loan signings, plus contract renewals for the likes of Simon Eastwood and Josh Ruffels.

While it equates to the wages of an extra senior player, Robinson sees the fees as inevitable.

He said: “In the world we live in, we need them.

“There are certain clubs that do not pay agents’ fees.

“(But) doing that in modern day football you’ll find it increasingly difficult to entice any player here.

“It’s something you have to do, unfortunately.”

During the period covered Robinson was at Charlton Athletic, whose £425,466 was third on the list for League One and mainly involved paying players off to reduce the wage budget.

But he feels the money spent does not always tell the full story.

Robinson said: “As an example, you might owe a player £200,000, but it’s easier to pay the agent £100,000 to get him off your books and get him a move.

“So you’ve saved £100,000 in your budget, but you’ve put £100,000 in your agent fee.

“Or there might be a transfer fee of £300,000, but the agent gets it done for £50,000 and he’ll get say £50,000.

“So already we’re at £150,000 in agents’ fees just on two deals, but actually we’ve saved the club money.”

Agent fees in League One

Feb 1 2017 – Jan 31 2018

  • Blackburn Rovers £764,024
  • Wigan Athletic £557,333
  • Charlton Athletic £425,466
  • Southend United £226,258
  • Scunthorpe United £163,160
  • Portsmouth £146,864
  • Oxford United £142,551
  • Rotherham United £136,046
  • Fleetwood Town £135,372
  • Bradford City £100,980
  • Peterborough United £100,677
  • Milton Keynes Dons £86,513
  • Northampton Town £82,845
  • AFC Wimbledon £62,458
  • Bristol Rovers £62,353
  • Doncaster Rovers £61,832
  • Plymouth Argyle £52,032
  • Walsall £43,440
  • Shrewsbury Town £43,140
  • Rochdale £37,950
  • Blackpool £33,400
  • Bury £25,169
  • Oldham Athletic £20,445
  • Gillingham £17,030
  • Total £3,527,338