Recruit as vassal changed or broken?

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I've done both the Empire and Barbarian victories as my own kingdom so I wanted to try doing Empire as vassal for a change of pace.

I've hit the point where I could begin the quest and start expanding comfortably.

However I'm noticing other big kingdoms have absorbed clans, while mine (Northern Empire under Lucon, who is somehow still alive at 70!) seems to not.

I have Abalytos, a poor clan leader with no fiefs amongst my prisoners. I also have positive (+32) relation with his clan, on top of that. I have 2.9 million denars. I speak to him, and there is no option to attempt to persuade him to join the Northern Empire.

Are conditions way different for vassals to recruit? I could swear you were able to recruit clans to Kingdom as vassal and it seems like this is a perfect candidate that should be an easy one, yet I don't even get the option. I have tried a few others up until now with no option either, but I assumed I just wasn't rich enough or whatever. But 2.9 million, plus this guy has a small dirt poor clan with no fiefs, and still no dialogue?

Edit: They've hired many mercenaries due to being in multiple wars, possibly hitting some kind of clan limit due to mercenaries counting?

Edit #2: Made peace, talked to a few clan leaders after and they joined. I guess for vassals maybe they have to be at peace? As kingdom leader I always recruited from prisoners while at war.
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