Why are Chelsea paying more than Willian Estevao's release clause?

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • Updated: 22 Jun 2024 10:36 CDT
  • 4 min read
Estevao, Palmeiras
© IMAGO

Chelsea striker Nicolas Jackson might not be the model on the field the Blues want Willian Estevao to follow now that he has completed his long-awaited transfer to Stamford Bridge, but the executives of the club have used the deal they struck for the Senegal striker as a blueprint to land the Palmeiras forward.

Chelsea have made it their mission over the last couple of years to attract the brightest young talent in world football. It is starting to pay off. The Blues finished the Premier League season strongly and reached Europe, albeit only the Conference League.

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They may not be where they want to be, but at least progress is being made.

READ MORE: Premier League summer transfers 2024: All the Done Deals

Willian Estevao is seen as another player to get them back to the Premier League and Europe’s elite.

Fabrizio Romano claims the deal that was brokered by Chelsea was worth up to €61 million - well above the player's €45m release clause.

READ MORE: Latest Chelsea transfer rumours

Why are Chelsea willing to pay over the odds for Estevao?

The answer to the question is simple: Chelsea don’t want to overpay for Willian Estevao.

Instead, they are using this technique to reduce their risk.

Any signing comes with an element of doubt, and that is particularly true when that deal is for a young player a club is buying because of their potential. There is, after all, no guarantee this will be realised. Perhaps he will sustain a serious injury, suffer a terminal drop in form or simply fail to adapt to a new country.

As such, €45m would be a massive outlay for Chelsea.

Willian Estevao
© IMAGO - Willian Estevao

Palmeiras, Willian Estevao’s club, wanted that figure because they saw it as guaranteed money.

What the Blues offered instead is the prospect of the Brazilian club getting an even greater sum – but only if the teenager fulfils his potential.

The scouts and the people working at the club believe that Willian Estevao can be a generational talent
- Fabrizio Romano on Chelsea's Estevao interest (10 May)

Romano previously suggested that Chelsea could offer a total package worth €57m to tempt Palmeiras into taking a gamble over Estevao’s future. They had to go higher.

Chelsea will pay €34m up front, with €6m potentially following depending on his Palmeiras appearances. Another €17m is based on being a “multi-season starter” at Chelsea, with €4m in difficult add-ons.

Romano says that there is a specific Ballon d’Or bonus included in the deal.

A tried and trusted strategy

Chelsea used this structure before to tempt Villarreal into selling them Nicolas Jackson last summer for €37m.

They also did a similar thing with Enzo Fernandez. The Argentine’s release clause at Benfica was set at €120m, but the Blues paid €121m. This was not tied to bonus payments, making it slightly different. Chelsea did this to allow them to structure their instalment payments better.

Current ETV
Player image Nicolas Jackson
Nicolas Jackson

F (CRL)

Chelsea logo

Chelsea

Nicolas Jackson
Nicolas Jackson

F (CRL)

Chelsea

Chelsea

€35.9M

ETV Range

€26.9M - €44.8M

Using the Jackson technique on Estevao is particularly advantageous for the Blues this summer. Fighting against Financial Fair Play, Chelsea need to keep their transfer outgoings as small as possible, and that means keeping initial payments down. The issue of the bonuses can be kicked down the road two or three years, when the club will, hopefully, be in a better position.

Chelsea’s negotiation technique was, therefore, a smart one. It may be that they end up paying more than Estevao’s advertised release clause, but if they do, at least they will have a player worthy of such a price.

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