The Gerard Deulofeu Transfer Model
With a more than impressive run of Premier League games (Average whoscored.com rating of 7.5 over 4 games) people are starting to see why the once Barcelona starlet Gerard Deulofeu was so highly rated by the Catalonian giants. Being a wide midfielder at Barcelona must seem at times to be a free season ticket, with the best seat in the Nou Camp and the privilege to train with the world’s best. For a young wide man at Barcelona you’re going to struggle to find game time with Neymar and Lionel Messi as your competition (just the 43 and 289 La Liga goals), and even if one of them gets injured the pressure to fill those boots is a huge responsibility. Therefore if you are wanting to develop your game, your only option is to go out on loan. In recent times the loan system in England has been criticised heavily with the ‘big’ clubs loaning out huge numbers of young players, who seem to never get a chance with the big boys. There is no doubt that going out on loan is a brilliant way for a young player to develop their game and get match experience, however do they ever really feel part of a club? Do they feel like they’re just being pushed out the way by their parent club? Are they really happy being loaned to a different club each season with what seems like no real shot at the first team (Patrick Bamford)?
The reason I bring this up, and the reason this article is called ‘The Gerard Deulofeu Transfer Model’, is because I believe Barcelona have come up with an in genius way around this, which works for all parties. This isn’t Deulofeu’s first time at Everton, he was first loaned to Everton for the 13/14 season, when the young man was valued at £10.5m, at the tender age of 19. This time however he is here for good… well possibly. Everton have paid around £4.2m for the now 21 year old Spanish winger, a significant drop from £10.5m. However, there is a clause in his contract which could see him find his way back to Catalonia and Everton cannot do anything about it. Barcelona have a two year buy back clause for Deulofeu, in which they can buy him back in the summer for £6.3m or after two seasons for around £8.5m. There are a number of clauses involved with the deal, such as Barcelona cannot re-sell him straight away, he must play at Barca for a year first. And Everton get first dibs on buying him again, or get a large percentage of the sell on fee. This however is beside the point. I personally believe this is a fantastic way for big clubs to deal with young players they are not too sure about. There will be certain players, like Barcelona’s Halilovic where you are confident in the player’s ability and it is not worth the expense of buying him back, where the loan system will still have a big role to play. For those however that have a cloud of doubt surrounding there potential, this is ideal.
Let’s say Barcelona have three young players of around 20 years of age that they believe could be very good first teams players but there is doubt. They sell all three for around £5m with buy back clauses of around £15m, three mid-table clubs get high quality players who will more than likely be first team players, for a relatively low price, everyone is happy. One out of these three then has a meteoric rise in skill due to playing regular football, helps propel their team from mid-table mediocracy to top half, maybe even European challengers gaining them more and more money as they climb the table. Barcelona now believe this player is ready and buy him back for £15m. The once mid-table club is now a top half/European challenging team, with £15m in their back pocket; off a £5m investment and Barcelona have a future world beater. As a top club you may find yourself paying upwards of £20m for a top quality young player (Mateo Kovacic to Real Madrid = £20.3m), potentially upwards of £40m (Raheem Sterling, £49m) for those of world class potential. So for Barcelona who made £15m from the original three players can get one back for free effectively, not a bad deal all things considered. I truly believe this is a method big clubs could use, and will use to great effect over the coming years, and to think if Man United would have thought of this a few years ago they might have Gerard Pique at centre back and Paul Pogba in midfield.
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