As explained yesterday, Villarreal have an advantage here inasmuch as (a) the club still owns 50% of Gerard’s rights; (b) Espanyol are obliged to accept any offer over €7m for Gerard, or else pay Villarreal 30% of the amount they are turning down.
One report said Gerard’s release clause was €25 million. Presumably, if Villarreal offered that (i.e. €12.5 million for the remaining half of his rights), Espanyol would have no choice but to accept, unless they paid Villarreal €7.5 million to retain him. Note that in that case, Villarreal would STILL own the same 50% rights they had now.
Here’s where the poker game comes in. Gerard isn’t going to bring €25m in today’s market—so does Espanyol play hardball and demand the release clause, taking the chance that Villarreal might go to an option B? Or does Villarreal offer to pay €12.5 million for the remaining half of his rights, figuring it would cost more than that to bring in anyone else?
If Villarreal offers too little, Espanyol might be able to/decide to simply pay the 30%. If for example we offered €15m, they could decide to pay us €4.5m and retain him.
For what it’s worth, transfermarkt pegs him at €8m value, which might be a little low; his contract runs until 2020.
Obviously if the player wants to leave, especially if he has agreed on general contract terms with Villarreal, it’s much harder for Espanyol to decide to pay money to keep him. They would also have to renegotiate his contract to pay him what Villarreal offered, so the net cost would be higher than just that 30%.
It’s an interesting situation. The question of buying remaining rights often comes up—you’ll remember we had to work that out with River Plate before we could sell Musacchio. Keep in mind that if we ended up paying half the release clause price for the remaining half of his rights, our net cost would be €11 million, because Espanyol paid us €1.5m for that half to start with. So if you look at it as we purchased Gerard for €11m, that would not be terribly out of line. On the other hand, if we figure we can get him for less, why wouldn’t we try. I’m glad I don’t play poker.