As more and more promising teenagers have left La Masia (think Pablo Moreno and Robert Navarro), release clauses for youngsters are becoming essential. Debuting as a 16-year-old, Ansu Fati is showing himself as the crown jewel of the bunch. To keep him at the club, he has been given a new contract and an improvement to his release clause.
Fati is now signed with the Catalan club until June of 2022. His release clause has jumped to 170 million euros. That number will become 400 million euros when he’s promoted to the first team. Now 17, he already holds a number of records for both club and in the league. He became the youngest Barcelona player score a La Liga goal and also became the youngest Barcelona player to start games at the Camp Nou and in the Champions League.
At the moment, Fati’s 170 million release clause is higher than Jean-Clair Todibo (150), Ivan Rakitic (125), Nelson Semedo (100), Moussa Wagué (100) and Carles Aleñá (75), and just behind Marc-André ter Stegen (180). When it rises to 400 million, Fati’s release clause will be equal to Arthur, Ousmane Dembélé, and Frenkie de Jong.
Having a teenager in the locker room with a fantastic contract and release clause equal to players a few years his senior could lead to jealousy and consternation, but it will be on leaders like Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets to keep egos in check. When Carles Puyol, Xavi, and Andrés Iniesta were patrolling the locker room, this kind of situation may not have been a problem; now the current captains will need to make sure of the same.
The clause is also a message to other promising talents. If the club deems you’re good enough, they’ll make sure you get what you deserve. Ilaix Moriba got the kind of contract when he turned 16 that would scare off other major clubs, and Pedri’s contract could be quite similar to Fati’s once he makes the move from Las Palmas and inevitably renews. The cynical way to frame it – the board is playing favorites. But the realistic take is that not every teenager will get their chance and not every teenager will get compensated what they want, but if a teenager is good enough, he could get paid too.