Sevilla's inability to hold onto key players has again halted the Andalusian's progress on the back of an encouraging season, climaxing in a victorious Europa League final.
Sevilla's captain, talismanic Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic has left to join Barcelona for a reported fee of £15 million, Spanish left-back Alberto Moreno bid a teary farewell as he joined Liverpool for a similar fee, whilst the man replacing Rakitic as captain, Federico Fazio, looks to be heading to Tottenham for around £10 million, after the North London side activated his release clause.
This isn't the first time Sevilla have had their best players plucked away by more financially powerful clubs. The summer preceding Sevilla's first European silverware in 2006 saw academy product Sergio Ramos bought by Real Madrid, who also purchased powerful Brazilian forward Júlio Baptista, for a combined fee of around £40 million. The money was well reinvested, with Enzo Maresca, Luís Fabiano, Frédéric Kanouté and Ivan Dragutinovic all influential in Sevilla's first Europa League success.
The next two seasons were relatively stable in terms of departures, with no key players leaving the club as they won another Europa League trophy, the UEFA Super Cup, a Copa del Rey and a Spanish Super Cup.
However, the lure of larger clubs couldn't be avoided for long, with Dani Alves and Seydou Keita leaving for Barcelona, Christian Poulsen moving to Juventus. Again Sevilla reinvested, snapping up the likes of Alvaro Negredo and Didier Zokora, whilst promoting highly-rated youngsters from their academy, for example Diego Perotti. Nonetheless, Sevilla were rarely able to hold onto their top players when the big clubs came calling.
Sevilla's financial difficulties in 2013 saw a major exodus of key players from the Ramón Sanchez. Negredo and Jesus Navas left to play for Manchester City for a combined fee of around £40 million, powerful midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia joined football's new financial superpower Monaco for £17.5 million, tenacious midfielder Gary Medel left for Cardiff for a fee of £11 million, whilst academy products Luis Alberto and Antonio Luna joined Liverpool and Aston Villa respectively.
Unai Emery guided the side to a third Europa League win, highlighting both the shrewdness of the reinvestment at Sevilla, and their strong academy, however Rakitic, Moreno and Fazio's exits mean the club is once again forced to replace cornerstone members of their side.
Gerard Deulofeu and Denis Suarez, both on loan from Barcelona look to be clever additions, whilst mercurial midfielder Éver Banega and Grzegorz Krychowiak from Valencia and Reims respectively should dominate the midfield against most teams in the league.
So they question remains, can Sevilla continue to punch above their weight in both Europe and Spain, despite the consistent loss of their biggest players?
What could have been!
Purely hypothetical, but click here to see what Sevilla's side could have been, were they able to hold onto their best players. Pure quality from one to eleven!
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