Are FC Twente’s Financial Problems a Fire Sale in the Making?

Earlier today, the KNVB docked Eredivisie side FC Twente three points for failing to meet its financial recovery targets. This is the second time this season the club have had to pay a three point penalty for monetary issues, and as a result dropped down to 11th place, with FC Groningen moving up the table at the Enschede-based team’s expense. Should Twente continue to not comply with their financial plan, they can have three points taken once more before risking the revoking of their professional licence. In other words, Twente is in jeopardy of not being able to play professional football if its finances are not sorted out soon.

These issues could pave the way for a quick raising of capital for the 2011 Eredivisie champions through the sale of some of the team’s more attractive and expensive assets. Despite Twente being in the midst of its worst league season since 2005-06, there are plenty who could be sold to raise funds if deemed absolutely necessary.

The spearhead of Twente’s attack, Luc Castaignos, could be one of the first to leave. After an unsuccessful debut venture out of the Netherlands with Inter Milan, his success as a forward with Twente reignited rumours of a potential departure. In the winter Derby County were hot on his heels, while there is also interest in him from Italy. Last year Welsh side Swansea were rumoured to have agreed a £6.5 million deal for his services, an interest which could carry on into the 2015 summer window. Castaignos is a reliable if somewhat unspectacular player, a tidy finisher, and with plenty of room for improvement. At twenty-two, he already has four seasons with a double digit league goal tally under his belt, showing his consistency in finding the net. Unfortunately for Castaignos, he has only managed a lukewarm 10 this season, a minor blip in an otherwise highly successful career for the young forward.

Fellow Dutchman Hakim Ziyech is another name that could be on the way out at season’s end. Formerly of Heerenveen, the attacking midfielder has been Twente’s best player in a poor campaign. With 10 goals and nine assists, his new club would have been much worse off without its Moroccan-descended Dutch youth international. His transfer seems the most likely to happen, as he said in a recent interview with the Dutch version of Metro that he is disappointed with the way the season and his time with Twente have been. Feyenoord, who were one of the favorites to sign him in the summer, continue to be ahead in the running to take on Twente’s gem. With plenty of funding courtesy of the previous year’s slew of sales, Feyenoord have plenty of cash with which to tempt Ziyech and his parent club. PSV seem to be in the mix for his signature, and a top-of-the-table battle for Ziyech’s services could be on the cards.

Like the aforementioned Ziyech, Jesus Corona could also make a interleague move in the summer. PSV have lined up the 22-year-old Mexican international as the replacement for Memphis Depay, who looks all but set to leave the Netherlands after a phenomenal two seasons with Eindhoven’s finest coupled with a great 2014 World Cup showing. Corona has taken part in 11 goals for Twente this season, a steep improvement from his last campaign that has skyrocketed his value in Europe. Dribbling and pace are stereotypically his strongest suits, yet Corona furthermore manages to be a defensive asset and a creative outlet, adding two important aspects to his otherwise one-dimensional approach to the winger position.

Defender Andreas Bjelland, 26, likewise seems primed to depart Enschede. Heavily linked with a move to the German Bundesliga’s Mainz in the summer of 2014, Twente demanded around €5.5 million for the center back, which at the time cooled the possibility of his departure. A rock in an otherwise hollow Twente defence that has conceded 46 goals in less than 30 matches, the dire financial situation of his team creates the possibility of the Danish international getting a transfer to Germany. The Twente captain voiced desire to move to a bigger league only serves to fuel the transfer speculation surrounding him.

Despite not having as much raw talent as Ziyech or Corona, central midfielder Kyle Ebecilio could yet command one of the largest transfer fees of the proposed summer exodus. The former Arsenal man has been reportedly scouted by Manchester City, and the oil-fueled superpower could pay nicely to secure Ebecilio’s services. At 21, he has his career ahead of him and seems eager to put a mildly unfortunate season far behind him. He is excellent at distributing the ball from the center of the pitch, but still has work to do in improving his defensive game.

These five are not the only ones who could leave; rather they are those who seem in pole position to make their current club a nice amount of money. Twente’s monetary issues will not vanish into thin air, and making a profit from a series of sales that would undoubtedly weaken the team competitively is one of its only chances of strengthening financially. It is not by any means the only course of action the club can undertake to save itself from oblivion, but it remains a likely and to a certain extent necessary one.

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