Saturday, July 28, 2012

Transfer Market Peculiarities in Bilbao

One more point on the Barça-Bilbao negotiations for the latter's Javi Martínez: I think Phil Ball wrote in Morbo about how the transfer-market pricing for Bilbao shakes out differently than for most teams, because of the limited player base. (Bilbao doesn't field non-Basques.)  There are roughly 3 million people in all of the regions designated as Basque for purposes of eligibility for Athletic Club Bilbao. There's not another Javi Martínez among that population, and there won't be one for at least a few more years. And even if there is, Bilbao probably has him anyway, or could potentially scoop him up from Sociedad or another regional team, regardless of whether or not they sell Martínez. The obvious logic of selling your most popular players is that if you get a good price you can reinvest and increase your stock of assets --i.e. a powerhouse squad like Milan selling their two best players in a single summer, both of them in their prime or close to it-- but if you can only pull new assets from such a limited population, that logic falls apart. Bilbao could collect $100 million for Martínez, but they can't turn that into a more talented team, at least not in the short run. Which makes you wonder, wouldn't a Bilbao player always be overpriced?

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