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Samu Chukwueze and Pablo Fornals in the news

Samu’s goal against Rayo has not gone unnoticed!

Girona v Villarreal - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Samu Chukwueze really burst on the scene in the Segunda B playoffs last June, when his pace, dribbling and shooting against Athletic Bilbao’s B team were a wonder; now that Javi Calleja has given him a chance to show his stuff at first-team level, he’s getting even more attention.

Shout out to our VillarrealUSA stalwart and one-time blog director siempre_riquelme, who sent me this link to a BBC Sport article profiling Chukwueze: “The Nigerian who wants to be like Arjun Robben.” It should be noted Samu is getting a lot of attention from the Nigerian soccer press too after his callup for the African Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa, which will be played Saturday in Johannesburg.

As typically happens, Villarreal fans are celebrating his success while nervously looking over a shoulder to see what clubs might be wanting to sign him. He did sign a new contract in the summer and I believe his release clause is €30m....

And, €30m or thereabouts is also (reportedly) the release clause for Pablo Fornals. The English press reports that West Ham and possibly Fulham have been in contact with Fornals’s agent about moving to England in January, but Fornals has said he is not interested—at least for now.

It’s worth reminding everyone of the purpose of a reserve clause and how it works—and doesn’t. In the wake of the Bosman ruling, which found that it was illegal for a club to deny a player the right to move if he wished when his contract ended, the reserve clause was developed to govern a player’s movement before his contract expired. It’s a matter for negotiation, just as other contract terms are.

What people sometimes miss is that it’s still the player’s desire that governs things. West Ham is only going to deposit €30m with Villarreal if they know that by doing so, they can negotiate a mutually-acceptable contract with Fornals. If a player is happy where he is (Diego Godin at Atleti, Leo Messi at Barca are two prime examples) it doesn’t really matter what his reserve clause is—he ain’t going anywhere!!