The Transfer Season: A Look Back

The transfer window has closed throughout Europe, so I thought it would be a good time to look over Sevilla’s transfer activity this summer and see how we did, and also see what La Liga in general did. My information is coming from the most excellent transfermarkt.co.uk which has some great summary information about (duh) the transfer market. I’m going to go ahead and make this easier to type and read and say all figures are in millions (and note–these are British Pounds). Disclaimer: I’m not an economics guy, and while I’ve always been good at math, when you put a dollar sign next to the numbers my brain usually crumbles. So if I’m missing any key information or misusing terms, please feel free to jump in and correct as necessary (SRH, I’m looking at you).

Sevilla spent 9.7£ on incoming players and brought in 14.4£ from outgoing player sales, giving us a positive balance of 4.68£ over the summer. Obviously good news for our pocketbook, but what does it mean on the field?

Looking at incoming players, our biggest purchases were Guarente for 4.95£ and Alexis for 4.5£, two players who we are yet to see in meaningful action on the field but who I expect to be good value for their relatively low fees, and who fill in areas of need on the pitch. Cigarini is with us on a loan that cost us .27£, and while I’m not sure if that figure is a part of his salary or an additional nominal fee we paid his club, it certainly looks like he’s going to be a big player for us and looks to be a solid value. And while every free transfer is relatively low-risk, Dabo also seems to be a great pick-up for the team thus far in the season.

So then, on to outgoing players. While many of us felt that the sale of Adriano would be too costly to the team’s quality on the pitch, the money brought in by his sale has generated a lot of income for us (I’m not sure if this figure includes some of the incentives, but the point stands regardless–this was a big sale for us), and we would have net lost money this season while also thinning the team substantially without our annual haul from Barcelona (thanks, guys!). The same could be said of Squillaci’s sale–I think we’ll miss him in our back four this year, but looking at our balance sheet his sale was vital to staying in the black. The only other thought I have on departures is that I don’t like seeing so many leave on free transfers, but as I look at the list I don’t see anyone extremely valuable that we missed out on either retaining or selling.

Another thing that strikes me as I look at our activity is what an enormous difference a big-name sale makes to a club of our size. I’m thinking of course of Fabiano’s possible sale this summer, but also of past sales of Alves or Keita, and possible future sales of players like Navas or Perotti (or Fabiano). While we’d certainly miss the players, bringing in 20+million would be an incredible windfall for a team operating on razor-thin margins as we clearly are. It also puts into perspective what a huge expense Negredo was for us. Just putting that out there.

One final note on Sevilla’s transfers: I know it’s always a risk, and obviously we should have advanced anyway, but would anyone here NOT trade that 5£ net gain for even 10£ net loss if it also meant the extra money from CL play? I didn’t think so. Although I suppose the other way to look at that is that we very well might have been more active in the market if we HAD locked that spot down, and unless you count Squillaci not playing there was no reason to think we needed more roster space to beat Braga.

Elsewhere in La Liga there are a few things of note. It should come as no surprise if you were paying much attention this summer that Valencia gained the most money, bagging an astonishing 51.2£ with the sale of Villa, Silva, Zigic, and etc. I’m sure it all went straight to the bank that owns their debt, but hopefully it improves the long-term likelihood that Valencia stays afloat and a strong club. It should also come as no surprise that Real Madrid are the league’s biggest spenders, with a whopping 63.9£ net loss. (Incidentally, Marca has a weirdly not embarrassed report out today that RM sold all their Dutchies for 50% of what they paid a few short years ago. Fire sale, indeed.) Fellow money-burners Barcelona look to be in the red 24£, but that’s also the number AC Milan will pay for Ibra next year, so I guess they more or less ended up even this year (although obviously overall the Ibra deal was a huge money pit for them and I’m still amazed at how poorly that situation was handled). Interestingly, if you ignore the roughly 88£ net loss from the big two, La Liga ends up looking like a very financially sound league (this year, anyway) with a net gain of 85.5£ for all clubs involved. (Also interesting: RM’s net expenditure in transfers this year is just under 70£ more than the average non-big 2 clubs’ net change this year (roughly +4.75£). Revenue sharing, please!) Whether or not this heralds a down year as far as quality of play is of course yet to be seen, although as noted above one Spanish team (AHEM) is already eliminated from the CL (^&@#!!#$), so there’s that mostly foreboding development.

Anyway, sorry this is so long without having much in the way of substantial commentary. I guess it’s up to you guys in the comments to make this post insightful. (The league comparison page is also worth checking out/commenting on, I think!) Get to it!