Sorry. This got longer than I intended. So, only read further if you want to change the topic from our crappy recent form and instead focus on personnel management strategy.
I mentioned this once deep in the comments of some game thread, but I wanted to bring it up again because I think it is interesting and important. Given how little I know about on-field tactics you can breathe easy that I will not try and disect the team’s recent on-field shortcomings. I’ll leave that to others who are better suited to the task.
For me, I tend to be more interested in the broader team management and watching the ways in which our club tries to stay competitive despite having less resources than many of its direct competitors.
From following this team we’ve seen some changes over time in the management strategy. In the earlier/mid 2000s this team had a lot of home grown talent. We added to that some very shrewd purchases such as Dani Alves and Fabiano where we bought the players at very reasonable prices and they came into their own at the club.
That success perhaps propelled us to get a little greedy and after our second Europa League triumph and a few Champions League appearances, Monchi and Del Nido started aiming for bigger name signings. Unfortunately, this higher stakes gambles didn’t always pan out. As a result, the team became less competitive and we saw a stretch of mediocre seasons. To be fair, we usually were still in the top half of the table, never seriously worrying abour relegation, and still got to play Europa football. So, we should keep some perspective and appreciation for what the team has done even in “bad” stretches.
More recently, we seem to have gotten back to a strategy of finding under-appreciated players or those who haven’t yet broken out (you could think of Gameiro and Bacca respectively). Monchi has balanced the books by being willing to sell stars when financially stronger clubs come calling (see Rakitic, Moreno, Navarro, Negredo, Kondogbia, and Fazio).
It has been lamented here that while this may make the financial situation more solid, it leads to considerable instability in the squad itself. As a result we’ve sometimes seen more disjointed and inconsistent performances on the pitch. Some of this is just natural adjustment, but the extent of year to year turnover has many of us bothered and troubled about the club’s true aspirations.
So, this is all prelude to me pointing out a slightly new phase in our team’s managment strategy. This year Monchi has now shown a willingness to re-negotiate salaries mid-contract. Just this season we have seen re-negotiatations of terms for Bacca, Vitolo, and now Carrico. This came on the heals of the unexpected and angering last minute departure of Fazio.
To me, this marks a realization by the club that they might not be able to retain its core of top performers if they don’t pay them as star players. Players have so much leverage over transfers in this league that when they start catching rumors of an enticing offer from Tottenham, Liverpool, or Barcelona, they can force their way out of town. As a result, keeping them happy is critical.
Because Sevilla likes having very high valued release clauses, a player is essentially agreeing to maintain a low salary unless the club manages to raise an extortionary amount in transfer fees. My impression is that Sevilla are essentially signalling to potential new signees, “hey, we think you’re great. Come play for us and we’ll put you on a big stage. We are going to have a high buyout clause, but we promise that in the meantime, if you perform well, we’ll raise your salary.”
Of course, this may now invite more players to sulk and pout if/when they don’t get a raise after a few games. In general it annoys me when players refuse to play hard because they aren’t making as many millions as they feel they deserve. But I can also sympathize that sometimes guys get undervalued and the club sometimes holds them hostage with high buyout clauses that prevent them from making meaningfully more money (which, as professionals, they should have the right to do). In short, I’m torn, and there are definitely both sides to the argument.
Anyway, I’m not sure how well I articulated this. But I think its interesting to note and I’m curious to see if they continue with this strategy moving forward.