The news of Manchester City agreeing a deal to sell Ferran Torres to Barcelona came as a big surprise. It was also very disappointing. Not for the fact that the player could not be sold to another club. Of course, several City players have been sold in the past and will be sold in the future.
But the big disappointment is in the fact that Manchester City have absolutely no need to sell, yet they have chosen to sell a prized asset to a European rival.
And worse still, the player is being sold for cheap. The sum of €55m is hardly a significant amount in today’s transfer market.
It has been severally reported in the past few weeks that Barcelona was interested in signing Ferran Torres. The Catalan side’s officials even visited the Etihad Stadium and City training ground to hold discussions with City officials.
Initially, it seemed as though nothing was going to come out of it. But the latest reports suggest that a deal has been agreed for January and the winger will be on his way back to Spain.
For a club that has become known for slapping ridiculously high release classes on its players should not be picking up top-class talents from rivals for small fees.
To put things into proper perspective, here are release clauses for some Barcelona players:
Moussa Wague release clause: €100m
Ronald Araujo release clause: €100m
Riqui Puig release clause: €100m
Oscar Mingueza release clause: €100m
Oscar Mingueza release clause: €100m
Clement Lenglet release clause: €300m
Martin Braithwaite release clause: €300m
Eric Garcia release clause: €400m
(This is a player they got for free from Manchester City. Is this getting annoying?)
Frenkie de Jong. Release clause: €400m
Sergino Dest. Release clause: €400m
Philippe Coutinho. Release clause: €400m
Ousmane Dembele. Release clause: €400m
Memphis Depay. Release clause: €400m
Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Release clause: €500m
Jordi Alba release clause: €500m
Samuel Umtiti. Release clause: €500m
Gerard Pique. Release clause: €500m
Francisco Trincão. Release clause: €500m
Pedri. Release clause: €1bn
Ansu Fati. Release clause: €1bn
Apart from Fati, which of these players is better than Ferran Torres?
And if you think you’ve seen it all, watch this: Signed to play back up to Ter Stegen, goalkeeper Neto has a ridiculously high release clause of €200m.
Even Sergio Aguero that they got for free signed a one-year contract that had a €100m release clause. Wao!
Call that playing hardball if you wish.
But one thing remains clear, the Catalan side wants to strike fear into rivals. They want everybody to know that none of their players can come cheap.
In fact, they want every opposing team that even as much as entertains the thought of buying a Barcelona player to perish the thought from the onset as a result of the astronomical release clause placed on these players’ heads.
Or else pay full price like Paris Saint-Germain paid €222m for Neymar years ago.
So why in the world will a direct rival in Europe like Manchester City decide to let their prized asset go for such a cheap price? It’s not as if the Club has any good reason to sell or is in urgent need to let the player go.
This is a young player that is just 21 years old. He is so good at 21. Yet, his best years are still ahead. Why on earth will you let him go for so cheap? Add to that the fact that Valencia will receive 10% of the transfer, as the stipulation was added to their agreement with City last year, plus an additional 4%.
There may be some that think this player was acquired for just over €20m about a year and half ago. So it makes sense to sell for a tidy profit.
That should not be a good reason to sell such a prized asset who represents much more value to the club.
Some City players are aging already and the team will need refreshing in the summer. Players like Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez are on the wrong side of 30.
Phil Foden could be drafted into the midfield vacating the wings. Sooner than later Mahrez will need to be replaced.
There is no better player to fill in the space than Ferran Torres. Although Raheem Sterling has played himself back into reckoning, he is a player that has indicated he will be ready to leave City at the slightest opportunity. Why not keep Torres as insurance?
There is also the argument that Torres has indicated interest in leaving Manchester City and that there is no need to keep a player who doesn’t want to stay.
To that argument I’ll say this; Harry Kane wanted to leave Tottenham - badly. But he is still a Tottenham player. It’s called contractual obligations. You may not like it, but you signed up for it.
When a player has several years on his deal with a club, the power does not lie with him. It lies with the club.
Torres has three-and-half years left on his current deal with Man City. And at the rate he is going, in the next two years, his value will be much more than €55m.
If he really wants to leave City by then, the club can sell. He will most likely command a higher fee. But even if the club does not make as much as €55m, the fee will still be around the figure with the added benefit of giving the club two years of service.
Otherwise, let Barca pay a fair price now. At least €80m. But that has not been the case.
It does seem like Barcelona have used their former players and staff in the City management to gain an unfair advantage. That’s rather unfortunate.