Manuel Veth –
Lucas Pérez joined Arsenal in the summer transfer window for €20 million. It was a big transfer for a player, who has seen only limited playing time since joining Arsenal. Of the €20 million spent, only a fraction arrived in Spain, however, as his former clubs received significant portions of the transfer—PAOK received €6 million, and Karpaty Lviv received almost €1 million.
For Karpaty, the money received from the Lucas Pérez transfer provided a major relief from the club’s financial troubles. The club from Western Ukraine was deducted six points ahead of the season due to financial irregularities and failure to pay wages to former player Semir Štilić.
The club has had a slow start to the season, collecting just eleven points in the first 17 games—Karpaty went into the winter break with one game in hand, as the matchday 18 fixture against Olimpik Donetsk had to be cancelled due to the weather. With the six points deducted by FIFA, Karpaty are currently on just five points and are, therefore, in danger of being relegated at the end of the season.
Karpaty Lviv have been a relegation candidate all season
With five games outstanding in the regular season, and another ten games in the relegation round, Karpaty still have enough time to avoid the drop to the second division. This is especially a possibility because FC Dnipro might face automatic relegation at the end of the season due to outstanding wages owed former head coach Juande Ramos—just one team would be relegated at the end of the season.
Despite losing top scorer Gustavo Blanco Leschuk to Shakhtar, Karpaty should have a strong enough squad to avoid finishing in the relegation zone. In fact, the recent transfer of the Argentine-Ukrainian forward to Shakhtar, as well as Arsenal’s purchase of Lucas Pérez in the summer, has given the club financial breathing room to plan a more stable future.
The Ukrainian internet portal tribuna.com has pointed out that Karpaty’s recent transfers have resulted in a transfer plus of €3.2 million this season, which is pretty much equivalent to the club’s yearly budget. This season’s transfers include Igor Plastun to Ludogorets for €500,000, Volodymyr Kostevych to Lech Posen for €350,000, Oleksiy Gutsulyak to Villarreal for €200,000 (loan deal), and finally Gustavo Blanco Leschuk to Shakhtar Donetsk for €200,000.
The deals add up to €1.25 million but, in most cases, do not include bonuses. The talented forward, Oleksiy Gutsulyak, will, for example, command a further transfer fee should Villarreal chose to keep him at the club when the loan deal expires. Blanco Leschuk’s transfer includes several options as well—such as goals scored, Europa League success, winning the championship in Ukraine etc.
Karpaty have also included resell percentages in all their transfer deals. This meant, for example, that the Ukrainians were one of the main benefactors of Lucas Pérez’s transfer from Deportivo La Coruña to Arsenal this summer. Karpaty received €970,000 from Arsenal, which is a third of the club’s budget.
The final piece in Karpaty’s financial stabilization is the 18-year-old Maryan Shved, who was sold to Sevilla FC last season for €1 million.
Lucas Pérez demonstrates the importance of transfer clauses for small clubs
Altogether Karpaty have received a comfortable cushion of €3.2 million, which is a decent amount of money for a small side, that is fighting for survival in the Ukrainian Premier League and has not received financial contributions from the owner, Petro Dyminskyi.
Karpaty is, therefore, an example of a small team that has made the most of clever transfer dealings, and has squeezed money out of every possible facet of its football operations. The club recently made headlines for selling 14 advertisement spots on the club shirt and, while advertisement is certainly an important part of increasing revenue, the example of Lucas Pérez shows that small clubs also need to operate well on the transfer market.
With the exploding wealth of English football, and its unlimited spending on even mediocre players, any player could become a transfer target. Including percentages, and kick back options on future transfers, means that small clubs can benefit if one of their former players should ever become the subject of a big money move to England.
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist, writer for Bundesliga.com, and podcaster for WorldFootballIndex.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States”, which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @homosovieticus.