In the wake of Tottenham Hotspur’s 5-0 Champions League-clinching win over Norwich City on Sunday, it was assumed that the club would immediately take up their option to convert the loan for Dejan Kulusevski into a permanent signing. It’s the biggest gimme in the world, right? He’s been phenomenal for Spurs since joining from Juventus in January along with Rodrigo Bentancur, and has had more assists in the second half of the season than any other Premier League player.
Well, according to Fabrizio Romano, that’s maybe not happening. At least not immediately. Romano tweeted this morning that Spurs are set to keep Kulusevski’s initial 18 month loan as just that, a loan, for the entirety of next season because… well, reasons I guess.
Dejan Kulusevski-Spurs deal details ⚪️⤵️ #THFC
▪️ €10m loan fee for one year and half loan;
▪️ Obligation to buy for €35m under certain conditions [UCL/appearences];
▪️ Buy option clause available for €35m.
Potential €35m clause would be paid in five installments.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 31, 2022
So, I have some issues with the way that Kulusevski’s contract has been reported in the media, and that’s probably due to the fact that #actually nobody really knows what his contract details are. Initially, it was reported (and we wrote up) that Kulusevski’s deal was an 18 month loan with a fee, a purchase obligation if Tottenham qualified for the Champions League and Deki met a threshold of appearances this season, and that the total transfer fee was not going to exceed €45m, including the loan fee. In the wake of his signing in January, there were also rumors floating around that Spurs could sign Deki early for a reduced transfer fee, about £5m less than the assumed option to buy at the end of the loan, should they wish. We all assumed that was correct, and that they would. Because why wouldn’t they? £5m is £5m.
Heck, Fabrizio himself tweeted that Spurs were going to purchase Deki (and Cuti Romero) permanently this summer for a combined total of about £80m. That tweet has since been deleted, and replaced with the above.
So what’s going on?
The truth is, I’m not sure anyone really had the scoop on what Deki’s contract actually said, how the loan fee works, and whether Spurs even had the option to buy him early or not. That seems like something reporters should know, and report on accurately! But who knows, these things are weird and hard, and these Paratici-style contracts seem like they’re complicated as hell. There probably isn’t any issue with financial liquidity since most transfer fees are amortized over the length of the contract and not paid up front. It could be that by waiting an extra year before pulling the trigger, Spurs get an extra year on Deki’s contract (a five year max contract length), something that would be absolutely worth spending an extra £5m on in the short term. But we’re not sure about that either.
What I feel reasonably certain about is that Spurs have every intention of making Kulusevski a permanent member of Tottenham Hotspur eventually. This appears to be just Spurs doing A Business™ and maximizing their options in what is probably an insanely complicated football contract. I don’t think there’s any risk of Spurs somehow deciding NOT to sign Kulusevski unless, y’know, both of his legs fall off or something.
Trust the process, I guess.