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Bundesliga: Why an exit clause is a problem for Werder Bremen at Milot Rashica

When Werder Bremen signed Milot Rashica from Vitesse Arnheim in early 2018, the club and players shared a common vision. And so they did something unusual: They wrote in the attacker’s new contract a fixed exit clause of 38 million euros. And for a player who had previously only played in the Kosovar and Dutch leagues.

Rashica, then 21 years old, a massive but unpolished attacker, was to develop into a top striker in Bremen, one who would outgrow SV Werder but would guarantee many goals on the way there. That was the plan. And if he then moved to a larger club, Werder would benefit. Bremen paid Arnhem seven million euros. The club hoped to sell 38 million euros.

The good news is: the vision became truth. Milot Rashica is today the best striker in the Bremen squad and is in demand internationally. The bad news: The clause that should guarantee planning security for players and clubs may no longer be worth anything and could even become a hurdle for a change. Because the laws of the transfer market are being rewritten due to the corona crisis.

The model of fixed detachment as with Rashica is widespread. It gives the player the certainty that he can switch if he only plays well enough. The club has the charm of being able to insist on a certain sum.

But since the ball has stopped almost everywhere because of the pandemic, the football world has been concerned. Should the Bundesliga not be able to resume operations soon and bring the season to an end, TV money would still be withheld, it should be around 384 million euros. In addition, the income from ticket sales and sponsorship deals is missing. Clubs are already experiencing economic consequences because they have to bridge the free time.

But transfer proceeds also play a huge role for many Bundesliga clubs. According to the Economic Report 2019 of the German Football League (DFL), the share of total sales is 16.9 percent on average for the 18 Bundesliga clubs. The clubs in the 1st league recently made more money from player sales (645.5 million euros) than from ticket sales (538.4). Further developing talents and relinquishing them with high profits is not only part of the business model in Bremen. In addition to TV revenue, it is a cornerstone of the Bundesliga.

But this pillar threatens to become porous now. Where there is less revenue, less can be spent. The market values ​​of the players shrink accordingly. The International Center for Sports Studies CIES estimates that the transfer values ​​may drop by 28 percent if not played again quickly.

If the pandemic in many places leads to economic bottlenecks and even serious imbalances, what are the exit clauses about high fixed transfers as in the case of Rashica and many other football professionals worth? They are sums from another time. Exit clauses are now mostly “a pattern of no value,” said Frankfurt sports director Fredi Bobic recently to SPIEGEL.

This creates a strange situation in Bremen: Werder wants to leave Rashica because he has recommended himself for higher tasks. The club also wants to give up the player promptly, so it can be heard. He needs the transfer, especially as table 17. the descent threatens. And still it will be complicated. Because the 38 million euro clause in Rashica’s contract, which was still a far-sighted decision in 2018, could now become a problem.

Dortmund, Liverpool and West Ham are interested

It took Rashica a year after moving from Arnhem to adapt to the level of the Bundesliga. It was an apprenticeship year, especially when it came to playing against the ball. In the meantime, Rashica no longer falls defensively – and especially with the ball on the foot. In the previous first half he scored eleven goals in 15 competitive appearances. He was one of the few bright spots among the Bremen team.

As a result, there are now prominent prospects for Rashica. According to SPIEGEL information, Borussia Dortmund has already contacted the attacker. At BVB, you appreciate how versatile Rashica can be used: left or right, and as a hanging tip. Rashica scored once in Bremen’s 3-2 win over Dortmund in the DFB Cup at the beginning of February and prepared another goal. One hears that the interest in Rashica is there regardless of a possible departure of Jadon Sanchos.

According to SPIEGEL information, a number of English clubs behind BVB are interested in Rashica. West Ham United, Aston Villa and the Wolverhampton Wanderers have asked – but also the Champions League winner Liverpool FC. “At some point, I want to compete regularly with the best players in the world and play the Champions League year after year,” Rashica recently told SID.

But the ball is also at rest in the Premier League. Worries are also growing where there has recently been an abundance of money. At some clubs, TV money accounts for far more than half of sales. Transfers in the order of magnitude that Bremen had planned for Rashica should initially be viewed more skeptically in England.

Bremen has high expenses in summer

This is a problem for Werder Bremen. Because the Hanseatic people will soon face high expenses: Either they descend, which may cost the club dearly, or they have to pay old bills. Werder has committed to the loaned players Leonardo Bittencourt (Hoffenheim) and Ömer Toprak (Dortmund), so that the relegation succeeds. Davie Selke (Hertha) also has such an agreement, which will apply in 2021. In total, payments of well over 20 million euros would be due. Werder is now putting all of this under additional pressure.

Rashica had recently been unable to maintain his first round form. The appearance in the cup against Dortmund was the last really convincing of the Kosovar. It was probably not by chance that Werder’s last victory so far.

There are currently no opportunities to increase the striker’s market value. The Bundesliga would like to kick again in May. It is uncertain whether it will be allowed to. Maybe they had also hoped for the European Championship in Bremen. Thanks to Rashica, Kosovo still had the chance to qualify for the tournament in the summer through the play-offs. But, as is well known, nothing becomes of this anymore.

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