Real Betis have undergone a frenetic week of transfer activity. On Monday, the club’s only signing to date – Takashi Inui – starred for Japan in their World Cup clash with Belgium before three further signings were announced.
The first of those was winger Sergio Canales – once of Real Madrid – who arrived from Real Sociedad then came deals for two goalkeepers: Pau Lopez of Espanyol and then Joel Robles, arriving from Everton.
One aspect links all of these incomings: each player arrived as a free agent, so no transfer fees were paid. In contrast, the club has brought in €50m of player sales. The bulk of this (€30m) was generated through the sale of Fabian Ruiz to Napoli, after the Italian club paid his release clause in full. Left wing-back Riza Durmisi has departed to Serie A too, joining Lazio while Fiorentina triggered their option to make the loan deal of defender German Pezzella permanent. Goalkeeper Antonio Adan is gone too, joining Atletico Madrid to provide competition for Jan Oblak.
This relatively massive net income on transfer spend should provide Betis with the scope to pull off signings at a level they have not been in a financial position to secure in recent years. Coupled with a return to European football and with just over 55,000 season ticket holders last season – there is money in the coffers at Los Verdiblancos.
As Quique Setien commented following the news of Fabian’s sale, it was important to keep things in check and to reinvest wisely. He backs the idea of a sizable portion of the funding being directed straight into the club’s youth academy, from which Fabian graduated. In recent years this has also produced Dani Ceballos – now at Real Madrid – while a host of current first-teamers such as Junior Firpo and Lorenzo Moron were also nurtured here.
Setien is a believer in integrating youth players into his first-team squad, believing their enthusiasm will rejuvenate others and provide hope to other youngsters that a pathway exists into senior football. However, if they are to retain their top six place next season and provide a healthy challenge in Europe, more arrivals must surely follow.
One name that has emerged as a notable surprise this week is that of William Carvalho – the deep-lying Sporting CP midfielder who once again starred for Portugal in this summer’s World Cup. The domineering midfielder is seeking an exit from the Lisbon-based club and a fee below €25m would represent quite a coup for Betis.
In previous years chaos has overrun sensibility at the Seville-based club, but the past 12 months – highlighted with the actions of the past week – suggest a corner has been turned.
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