Call options exercised, new arrivals, loans, Olympique de Marseille, under the impetus of its president Pablo Longoria and Javier Ribalta, has multiplied transactions since the start of the summer transfer window. Ambitious and ready to appear at their best on the European scene, the Marseille leaders are therefore logically active on all fronts and reinforcements are arriving en masse on the Canebière. Luis Suarez, Isaak Touré, Jonathan Clauss, Jordan Veretout, Alexis Sánchez, Issa Kaboré, Jelle Van Neck, Nuno Tavares, Rubén Blanco, Chancel Mbemba – not to mention Pau Lopez, Mattéo Guendouzi, Arkadiusz Milik or even Cengiz Ünder definitely from Marseille – the face of OM in the Igor Tudor version, successor to Jorge Sampaoli, is taking shape.
OM are preparing a deal with Atalanta!
Already runner-up to PSG after two days in Ligue 1 (one win, one draw), OM do not seem satisfied. As proof, the Marseille board continues to prospect on the market and would like to recruit, at least, a defender before the final closing of the market. With this in mind, Eric Bailly is closely followed and Manchester United would, as we revealed to you recently, open to a loan. But that’s not all. On the front of the attack, OM are also preparing a new coup. Forced to downsize, despite the departures of Luan Peres to Fenerbahce, Pol Lirola, on loan with OA to Elche and Konrad de La Fuente, on loan without OA to Olympiakos, the Olympian club could also separate from Cengiz Ünder. Yes, but now, while the Turkish press recently mentioned a probable interest from Galatasaray for the Marseille winger, we are now talking about an exchange with … Atalanta Bergamo!
Indeed, according to the latest information from Sky Sport ItalyCovered since by the European press, Olympique de Marseille and Atalanta Bergamo are currently discussing a possible exchange between the Turkish striker, who has already known Italian football under the jersey of AS Roma between 2017 and 2020 ( 88 TCC matches, 17 goals and 12 assists), and Ruslan Malinovskyi, Ukrainian international attacking midfielder (49 caps, 7 goals), playing under the colors of the Dea since July 2019 (129 TCC matches, 29 achievements and 27 offerings). A deal that seems, on paper, relatively fair since Ünder, under contract until June 2025, is estimated at 22 million euros by Transfer market while Malinovskyi, the best passer in Serie A in 2021 but free of any contract next summer, is valued at 28 M €.
An accounting dilemma for the Marseille management!
Sportingly, the Turkish international (42 caps, 13 goals) comes out of a relatively convincing season at OM. Author of 13 goals and 6 assists in 47 matches in all competitions, the former Leicester player let Marseille fans appreciate all his liveliness and technique in the right lane. On the other side, Ruslan Malinovskyi, with a more creative profile, can boast of 10 goals and 7 assists in 41 games during the 2021-2022 financial year. According Ref FBthe Ukrainian is also part of the 5% of midfielders who attempt and succeed the most forward passes in the five major championships. What definitely convince Igor Tudor, lover of rapid transition and direct play. However, if this operation could meet the expectations of the various parties, it still poses a real dilemma for OM.
Eager to conclude a dry exchange with the Italian formation, the Marseille management must nevertheless take into account the accounting dimension of such a deal. By purely and simply exchanging the two players concerned, the accounts of the two formations will be impacted (salary and possible bonuses). If, in this case, OM will, on the other hand, have nothing to give to Roma, the high spheres of Olympians will not however be able to benefit from an accounting entry in the annual balance sheet. A real minus when you know the importance of these contributions in the financial balance of a club, which is more at a time when Frank McCourt, owner of OM, is worried about the turn of events. By mounting, on the other hand, an operation with an inflated transfer indemnity, a common maneuver in recent years, OM will be able to amortize this indemnity according to the duration of the contract signed by Malinovskyi but will then have to pay 20% of the transfer to the Roman team.
Watch out for deviations…
In fact, during a transaction, for the buying club, the cost of the investment is amortized and spread over the duration of the contract, while for the selling club, the capital gain on sale (the sale price minus the residual value of the player’s contract) is immediately recorded in the accounts. In other words, from an accounting point of view, the buyer spreads the cost over several years while the seller records the gain immediately. To illustrate the accounting effects of a possible exchange between Ruslan Malinovskyi, bought 13.6 million euros from KRC Genk in July 2019, and Cengiz Ünder, bought 8.4 million euros from AS Roma in July 2022, in the form of two final transfers, here is a numerical example (the figures mentioned are only for exemplification and have no real value). As part of this accounting illustration, Malinovskyi signs a 4-year contract with OM in exchange for 28 million euros (current market value) and Ünder commits to 4 seasons with Atalanta against a check for 22 million euros (current market value).
For Atalanta, the cost this year of Cengiz Ünder could therefore be 5.5 million euros (22 million compensation / 4 years of contract) while the revenue obtained for Malinovskyi would be 24.6 million. euros (28 million – 3.4 million net book value at the time of the transfer).
For OM, the cost, this year, of Ruslan Malinovskyi would be 7 million euros (28 million in compensation / 4 years) and the revenue of 9.2 million (22 million in compensation – 8.4 million of VNC at the time of the transfer – 4.4 for Roma).
As we explained in a previous article, the amortization of transfer indemnities thus makes it possible to spread out the cost of the investment made over the duration of the contract of the newly signed player. Caution all the same because at a time when several formations seek to correct their balance sheets by “fictitious capital gains”, the authorities are trying to react. In 2018, Chievo Verona was thus fined and withdrawn from points after a multitude of operations deemed fictitious with Cesena, which had allowed him to balance his accounts and be able to register for the championship. In November 2021, the Italian financial brigade was still investigating 11 Italian clubs and 59 of their leaders, accused of inflating transfer compensation to increase their capital gains. In addition to the Pjanic-Arthur exchange, 62 other transactions would have been scrutinized in this way.