Salaries and Release Clauses

Sevilla has an incredible track record of buying low and selling high on previously undiscovered or under-appreciated players.  I’ve heard the value of Vidal’s transfer range from 18-23 million Euros.  And we’re hearing rumors of bigger clubs licking their lips as they try and lure Bacca and Krycho for 30.  We also all remember remorsefully the departure of Rakitic for 20.

Although those are significant transfer fees, there are times when I can’t help but feel frustrated when we glance over at Atletico raking in absolutely absurd amounts like the 60 million it got for Falcao (as an aside, if you had to win a single match today, who would you rather have as your starting striker, Bacca or Falcao?  I’m not sure.  Sincere question.).

Why does our top talent seem to consistently go for 15-30 less than the guys leaving Atletico?  Infuriating, right?

Well, go look at team salaries.  I’ve had trouble finding individual player salaries (anyone know where to find this?), but the gist is that salaries and release clauses go hand in hand.  Sevilla is a great team.  I don’t think that should be a controversial claim on a Sevilla fan blog.  But we are not elite, and we definitely don’t pay elite level salaries.  In fact, we pay mid/bottom of the Premier League table salaries.

So, some players may come to Sevilla because they like the location, or town, or club, or want to join a team that has some recent glory and championships to its name.  But most players in fact care most for themselves and their families.  (Some people get annoyed at players who don’t care as much about winning or loyalty as we do as fans, but I’m not one of those people.  I respect a professional athlete’s desire to prioritize his financial interests.)

So, many players come to Sevilla, at least in part, because they know its a platform on which to show their abilities and to climb to one of the truly elite teams in the world.  But what is their condition for accepting salaries that are likely lower than they could get elsewhere?  That condition is having a modest release clause.  A lower clause signals to the wealthier teams of the world: “Hey, you can have me for 25 million.  Come make me a salary offer I can’t refuse.”

That is how the world is at the moment, though its not how I’d like it to be.  With the Sevilla’s improving financial situation, champions league revenue for next season, and some reason for optimism on restructuring of the TV revenue sharing agreement in La Liga, I would really like to see the team continue with it’s modest/prudent player signings.  But give these guys a boost in their salary, and in return set release clauses at 35 million or 40 million euros.  And for the players in the squad performing well, restructure their deals as you’ve been doing recently.  This is the path forward.  It will lead to greater stability of players and more ambition for the club.  And when we do sell players, it will be with a benefit of the Falcao scale and not of Rakitic’s modest benefit.

I hope we’re all enjoying transfer season and aren’t getting too many more gray hairs as we hear about Manchester United and Arsenal circling for Krycho and Bacca.  We’re all hoping they stay.