Ever since Neymar’s €222m move to Paris Saint-Germain surprised the football world last summer, the reverberations have been felt throughout the game.
The inflated prices that have been ever-present in recent years went on to a different level overnight. The Brazilian’s sale led to a host of other sizeable transfers like Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Kylian Mbappe and Virgil van Dijk that broke records of their own.
It has left many club owners and presidents paranoid about how to secure their players. Release clauses are part of all contracts in Italy and Spain, and many clubs began revising their star’s contracts to increase the buyout fee needed for them to be sold.
Florentino Perez was one of those who was spurred into action by the Neymar deal. Marca reports that Real re-negotiated the clauses in a number of player’s contracts, including one Mateo Kovacic.
The Croatian’s interview at the end of last week prompted talk of us signing him. On the face of it, he looks like a perfect match. Comfortable on the ball, good dribbling skills and able to play forward passes, the 24-year-old is seen as a good replacement for Mousa Dembele.
His reported release clause was said to be €50m (£44m), a sizeable figure but not entirely unfeasible. However, Marca believe this fee was increased to €300m (£264m) last summer, in the aftermath of the Neymar deal.
The upshot of all this then is that the market values of players have and will increase even further. English clubs rarely use release clauses and Daniel Levy has used that to his advantage when selling players in the past.
Teams across Europe have, in a lot of cases, eliminated the buyout fee from the equation of their own transfer dealings and pushed up prices. With that being the case, signing players is likely to be an even more drawn-out process for this club than it has been in the past. Something which really isn’t good to hear.
Even if a player like Kovacic is keen to leave, you can bet that with no release clause hanging over their heads, Real will fight for all they can get. The likely scenario is that we would quickly move on to cheaper and more easily attainable targets. Something it seems we’ve already been doing by our scouting of Ligue One talent.