The Deulofeu clause. It’s not so simple.
Every couple of days or so there’s a claim in Italy that AC Milan could negotiate to buy Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona rather than Everton. The thinking behind the idea is that Barcelona would use their €12m clause in the summer and then Milan would agree a deal for a little more than that.
On Wednesday Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo report Barcelona have already decided to use the clause with the only question being whether they would keep him or sell the player on for a quick profit. There are still said to be doubts at Barcelona over the 23 year old’s character, but no such doubts about activating the clause with Everton.
All of this would be worrying for Everton, and could see them cut out of a deal which may have otherwise represented a chance to make more money.
However, unless the terms of the clause have changed, or Roberto Martinez lied to the media in November 2015, Barcelona can do no such thing.
In the fine-print of the Deulofeu clause, Everton made sure they were protected from such a scenario happening.
Former Everton manager Martinez explained in 2015: “There are certain things in the deal. They can’t take him back in the winter so they can’t take him back in January. It can only be at the end of the season. It is €9m for the first year and €12m in the second year.
“If they take him back they can’t sell him for a season, so he has to stay in the first-team squad for a season. At the end of that if they decide to sell him we have got first rights of getting him back or we have got a big percentage of that deal. There is nothing we can do if they activate it. That was the deal and the only way we could access the player in the terms that we wanted. I’m delighted with the deal.”
So, if Deulofeu returned to Barcelona he would have to ‘stay in the first-team squad for a season’, which sounds like it also rules out any loan. In the scenario that Deulofeu returns to Barcelona and does spend a season in the squad, but is then sold, Everton again have protection and would receive a large percentage of the transfer fee.
There’s been no suggestion since that these stipulations in the Deulofeu clause have been changed, or that Everton have given up their rights by loaning the player to Milan.
And yet, it’s being repeatedly ignored. Everton have shown foresight in this deal which is often missing in similar transfer agreements, and as such it would appear they’re very well protected.