It has been revealed that Aston Villa inserted a £15 million buy-back clause into their deal to sell young winger Jaden Philogene to Championship club Hull City, as per Hull Live.
Vice-chairman Tan Kesler says that the club are ‘in the process of establishing more relationships like this’ as the Hull board believe it will help the Tigers in their push for promotion to the Premier League.
Kesler was also keen to stress that ‘the club is the main focus’ despite deals with clauses like this being complex, multi-party affairs. He said ‘it’s not about individuals, but it’s about individuals participating in the club’s success.’
Tigers fans may be relieved to hear that the clause only comes into effect if Liam Rosenior’s side are in the same division as Villa.
Philogene’s Career So Far
Philogene started out at the Pro:Direct Academy before moving to Aston Villa in 2018. He made handful of first-team appearances for the Villains and had an indifferent loan spell at Stoke City before a more impressive stint at Cardiff last season where he played 39 games and scored five goals.
Liam Rosenior earmarked the 21-year-old as a player he would like to have at Hull at the start of the summer, initially asking the board to strike a loan deal for the young winger. However, he was pleasantly surprised when the club managed to negotiate a £5 million deal to bring the youngster to East Yorkshire permanently on deadline day after negotiations had rumbled on all summer. He signed an initial three-year deal with an option for a fourth year.
What’s Been Said?
Speaking to Hull Live, Kesler said;
“It’s pretty simple. The buy-back clause can be interpreted negatively or very positively. If the player is yours and you feel you don’t have the right to control it all the way along (through the contract) but you can also look at being able to get that kind of talented player you create a win-win situation, and share certain rights so that you can get it done and beat the competition.
“What we did in my opinion and for our fans to (understand) our decisions for the future, we’re not just buying players and then their previous clubs can buy them back from us, it’s a mechanism where we create a win-win situation.”
Continuing, the vice-chairman clarified the agreement and how he believes the club have protected their initial investment;
“There is a value that has been put on an identified performance, which is good. Maybe he can never reach there or he can bypass there, but at least for the market, for the industry, we know what he can be worth to leave our club.
“If someone comes in and offers less than his buy-back value, do we consider it? Should we consider it? Probably not. It’s a good thing. And having another big club on your side and being able to have some part in Jaden’s development plan is good.
“If we promote (to the Premier League), Villa have the right to buy him back for £15m. Having said that, if we have another offer that’s worth more than £15m then we would have the right to discuss it, it’s not like we’re forced to sell to Villa but they would have the first choice and that’s part of our agreement.”
I think Kesler hit the nail on the head when speaking about the buy-back clause.
In the modern game, it is a mutually beneficial agreement which allows big clubs to sell homegrown players to help with Financial Fair Play, whilst also allowing their youngsters to get regular first-team football and giving a lower league club a talented player who should help them to progress.
At £15 million, the clause represents reasonable value, given that the likes of Chuba Akpom were going for around £12 million, and the deal gives the Tigers a high-quality winger with international pedigree at youth level.
Additionally, the clause only comes into effect if Hull are promoted to the Premier League (or in the unlikely case that Villa are relegated). By this point, they will have completed their objective and they may want a more experienced winger to guide them through their first season back in the top flight.
From an Aston Villa standpoint, the move also makes sense from a tactical perspective. Unai Emery likes to play with quite narrow midfielders and he has even been using a three-at-the-back system at points this year. Philogene doesn’t really fit into these systems so it was best to let him go in order to raise funds which can be used to add to the depth of the squad as they enter European competition for the first time in more than a decade.
As for Philogene himself, the move gives him a permanent home where he has the chance to impress in a highly competitive league and he also has the added incentive of knowing that a move to a club competing for a spot in Europe could be on if he helps his team to perform well.