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Marouane Fellaini’s £23M release clause is a joke

May 9, 2013, 8:10 AM EDT


In case it wasn’t already clear, the £23 million ( $35.8m) release clause reportedly inserted into Marouane Fellaini’s contract is a complete joke.

The clause was inserted into the deal that Fellaini penned with Everton in November 2011 when the Belgian dynamo signed a five year extension with the club. At the time it was a huge coup for the Toffees, as Fellaini had been linked with numerous high-profile moves away from Goodison Park.

“We are delighted to have secured the services of Marouane for the long term,” Everton’s chief executive Robert Elstone said. “Marouane has been a hugely influential player for Everton since his arrival in 2008 and we hope that remains to be the case for the next five years.”

Fast forward a year and a half and it’s clear that Elstone’s wish isn’t coming true as it’s widely accepted that Fellaini will be moving on to a bigger club this summer. And the main reason why? Big clubs are foaming at the mouth to pounce on that ridiculous £23 million release clause.

It’s unclear who negotiated that number on behalf of Everton, but whoever it was – YOU’RE FIRED.


How £23 million sounded like a good deal for the Everton board is beyond me. At the time of the re-up Fellaini was the perfect age for a developing talent (23 years old), freakishly large (6’5″ and 190 lbs), and a proven Premier League game-changer in both the striker role (where he had starred in 2008-09 scoring 8 goals on 52 shots) and the holding midfield position (where he decimated everything in his path).

So why did Everton agree to let big clubs trigger Fellaini’s release for such a measly fee?

It’s totally non-sensical.

When Everton bought Fellaini from Standard Liege in 2008 they paid a semi-hefty £15 million for his services. In other words after spending three years grooming Fellaini into a world class player – and groom they did as Fellaini entered the league a hot mess of pointy elbows and knobby knees – Everton was content to re-sign him knowing that when they would eventually be selling him for an £8 million profit.

An £8 million profit? For Fellaini?

If that kind of business was negotiated at Arsenal there would be outrage. Pandemonium. Anarchy. But at Everton, no one raised an eyebrow.

But why not? A quick look at the deals going down for strikers and holding midfielders in and around 2011 proves Everton definitely undervalued Fellaini’s worth:

And while I recognize that comparing certain players’ transfer values with others is never an exact science, it’s relatively clear that Everton could have fetched £27-35 million for Fellaini’s transfer.

Point being, in an age where it’s common for clubs to set over-ambitious release clauses (Porto’s £84 million release clause for Hulk comes to mind), setting Fellaini’s exit clause at £23 million was a travesty.

If Everton haven’t recognize that yet, they will soon.

  1. mianfr - May 9, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    I think if they were planning on selling him to a European club outside of England, they probably are making a slightly bigger profit because of exchange rates (although I don’t have the numbers in front of me and am guessing from what I recall… It could end up being worse), but regardless it is still such a joke.

    He’s a monster at several positions, perfect for the high turnover rate in managers, and is still quite young.

  2. ehcrawford - May 9, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    I’m not sure £23 million is that far off as a valuation to be honest, and isn’t it a case that without the clause he may not have signed an extension at all and left for less or even for free.

    • Mike Prindiville - May 9, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      It comes down to negotiations and the fact is Everton did a poor job negotiating.

      He got a 5 year extension and a considerable salary increase by re-signing with Everton. That left the club with leverage to require a higher release clause. I suppose Fellaini could’ve refused to sign and play out his contract but he would’ve been leaving a lot of salary money on the table.

      Plus, a release clause is just a release clause – meaning it allows outside clubs to automatically trigger the player’s release. There’s nothing that says a club can’t sell the player for less (e.g. Porto with Hulk).

      In this case, Everton should’ve required a 30-35M release clause and made it clear to Fellaini that: 1) just bc he has a higher release clause doesn’t mean the club won’t sell him for less; 2) the 30-35M evidences how much value/faith Everton sees in Fellaini; and 3) a 30-35M clause would actually help Fellaini command a higher salary from a future buyer (opposed to the current 23M clause).

  3. Mike Prindiville - May 10, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    Hahaha, what a nightmare that was!

    Interesting to see if Chelsea holds onto him this summer – could probably sell for a profit.

  4. mvktr2 - May 10, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Correction, he’s 6’10” with afro!

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