Friday News Bits: Injuries, Transfers, and Finances

A few interesting pieces of information have crept their way past my Twitter feed this morning, so I thought I’d post a brief update:

  1. Perotti tried his best, but could not recover from his injury and will not be fit in time for this weekend’s clash with Real Madrid. Sad face, obviously.  Let’s all think longingly about the great success of Diego Capel, whose absence I’ll address in #3 below. That’s right, I’m teasing information in a three-point summary article.
  2. Word on the street is that Atletico and Sevilla have reached an agreement in principle for former Sevillista Antonio Reyes. Aaron and I discussed this possible signing toward the end of our most recent visit to the Forza Football podcast, and we and hosts Ravi and Elisa all agreed that probably he’s not the cure for what ails us, but we’ll see. Anyway, the report’s alleged fee: 3 million. Anticipated on-field impact: at least 3 more team total dives/game. Possible transfer impact: with Manu and Perotti already playing on the left wing, Navas a rock on the right, and Reyes probably not coming for the bench time, does this signal the exit of Perotti?!? I have no idea.
  3. Finally, live at the very moment of this writing is Sevilla’s Junta General de Accionistas, which among other things is one of the times when Del Nido gets behind a mic and drops 2 or 3 great looks into the workings of the club, often giving some insight into past decisions and obviously fueling lots of speculation about possible future moves. Thus far, the most interesting tidbit is that failing to qualify for the Champions League cost the club 30 million euros, and that the subsequent departure of some of our talent helped alleviate the shortfall. Del Nido specifically mentions fees coming in from the sales of Adriano, Konko, Zokora, Squillaci, and Sergio Sanchez, which is HALF of our starting lineup from not very long ago, and doesn’t include the loss of Capel. Not news, exactly, but the amount of income lost is pretty staggering (that’s about one third of our reported annual budget), and as we suspected this helps explain the loss of some pretty good players over the summer. The included link has the transcript of his entire talk, which also covers old chestnuts like TV revenue and some other things that won’t be news to long-time Sevilla fans. Worth a read.

So then, tomorrow we’ll have a tough match, and then only the return CdR leg before we go into La Liga’s wintertime nap. Here’s hoping the team gives itself sweet dreams in the next week.

UPDATE: Because I love you guys so much, and because there’s so much good stuff in here, I’ve translated a few more parts of the speech for you non-Spanish speakers. this is just a great look at how a real club, bounded by actual financial realities and limitations, makes sporting and financial decisions. We talk a lot about having a fair TV deal around here, and this discussion from Del Nido encapsulates the VAST gap between clubs who have to think about money in order to survive, and those who few can speculatively spend 30 million euros on a player who might prove to be good. The translation after the cut:

We close the sporting year 2010/2011 on the basis of what we can once again consider to be an economic, social, and sporting success. In broad numbers, for the ninth consecutive season the financial figures of the Administrative Counsel over which I preside show postive numbers in the most difficult season and environment in which we have directed the club. With a budget of close to 100 million euros, the unexpected elimination from the Champion League left us on the edge of the economic abyss, with expected losses in August 2010 of 30 million euros, which was the amount of money we’d expected to get from Champions or Champions and Europa League play.

Only the sales of Adriano…Konko, Zokora, Squillaci, Sergio Sánchez, and the last of the fees for Dani Alves and Marti, along with an improved TV contract…allowed us to close the financial year with a net gain of more than 400,000 euros. I can assure you that the majority of management’s efforts has been focused on recovering the economic loss of elimination from the Champions League. […] That was our obligation as managers for having taken on so much risk, and fortunately we have been able to do it.

Del Nido goes on to explain that in a normal year, we count on income of 55-60 million euros. If we have a good year like in 08/09, with CL, we add 20-25 million euros. Europa adds 8-15 million, depending on how far we go.

But if there is no Champions League or  we don’t advance far in Europa League, our goal is to fight for places between 5th and 10th. That’s the reality. [Hoping for] more than that is to deceive ourselves. And also consider that since 2002-03 we have tripled our income, from 20 to 60 million euros, without figuring income from European competitions. The reason I tell you all this is so that we don’t forget where we come from nor who we are. Our aspiration continues to be to qualify for Champions at the end of this season. To finish third in the league in spite of the adulteration of Spanish competitions due to the unjust sharing of TV contracts, and to win the Copa del Rey. But we are conscious that, as has been the case throughout our history, these goals do not correspond to our stature, our budget, our city, or the economic capacity of our fans.

[…] What we have been able to do with less resources than our competition is something extraordinary, and our ambition obligates us to repeat and even better these accomplishments, and  we’re not going to give up on trying to do it… It will be very difficult to achieve again what we’ve done in the last few years, but the fact that we did it before, bringing to an end 50 years without a title, means that we should think we can do it again. We already have spoken of the end of a cycle. And that’s where we are.

[This is followed by lots of talk about how TV rights and a more fair economic situation could help solve this problem]

Del Nido concludes by looking back at the last year, and then takes a slightly longer look at Sevilla’s history, pointing out that we’ve been the best team in the CdR in the last 10 years despite being among the worst of the bigger Spanish clubs over the last 40. He directly compares us to Atletico, noting that we’ve finished better than them 9 times in the last 10 seasons. He adds that Sevilla has never before enjoyed the success we’ve had in recent years, and closes by saying:

…and we’re not going to relax. We’re going to continue racking our brains and leaving every drop of our blood to make ever bigger and better our Society. To get more and more income. Assuming reasonable and foreseeable risks that the market presents us, without mortgaging or impeding the Society or its future viability. Always thinking in making Sevilla every day better, more solid, and more respected…and always with the pride of carrying the weight of this name of our city. I am counting on your help for this and and on the push of the incomparable Sevillista fanbase.

And then presumably the heavens opened, and a band of angels descended from on high, playing “We Will Rock You” on celestial harps. And then they all sang the Himno Centenario, and finally Del Nido opened up to the floor for questions.