Manchester City, Chelsea and other big European clubs sign young players who they know will never reach the first team but could make them a profit claims the director of Dutch club FC Twente.
Technical director at the Eredivisie team Jan van Halst argues that young players such as City's Turkish teen Enes Unal — loaned to FC Twente this summer — are snapped at a young age by big clubs as part of a money-spinning scheme that capitalises on their high profile.
But according to Van Halst some of that money will be recouped by selling on players such as Unal, who can raise their profile and increase their value by foregoing the City first team and playing at Twente.
"They buy a selection of top players and suffer losses, because you write off the huge transfer fees which can sometimes be €30m, €40m and €50m," Van Halst told Dutch website Soccer News.
"But then on the other hand, you try to create a kind of profit by getting young talents. The club really knows that they probably won't get into the first team in the future, but can offer them a platform to another club.
"In the past FC Twente once loaned Miroslav Stoch from Chelsea. They'd bought him for, say, €1m. He played for one year than was sold to Fenerbahce for €7m because he so excelled at FC Twente.
"That's the business model being pursued at big clubs."
In recent seasons City have made a profit on player signed as teenagers such as Karim Rekik (signed for £383,000 from Feyenoord in 2011 and sold to Marseille for £4.3m last year despite just playing three first team games for the club) and Rony Lopes (snapped up from Benfica's youth side for £850,000 in 2012 and sold to Monaco for £10.2m a year ago with just five first team City appearances in between).
Both players raised their profile with loan spells at Lille and PSV Eindhoven respectively.
The strategy has been commonly used by Chelsea who sold defender Papy Djilobodji, who has played just once for the club, to Sunderland for £8.1m, a year after buying him for £3m.