Pablo Sarabia may not be a household name outside of Spain, but the high-scoring attacking midfielder could prove to be one of the bargains of the year thanks to a ludicrously low buyout clause.
Flying under the radar while scoring more goals than Antoine Griezmann or Karim Benzema is an unlikely feat, but so far, Pablo Sarabia is pulling that act off.
In 20 La Liga games, Sarabia has scored seven goals and created seven
Despite playing largely as a number ten, the Sevilla attacker has produced numbers this season that would make the best of Europe’s strikers content. And though there is now a growing acknowledgement of his talents in Spain, the ripple effect has not quite spread outwards enough as to draw international media attention to a buyout clause which is remarkably accessible for someone of his multifaceted skillset.
Sarabia has made a habit of scoring in the big games
The 26-year-old can be taken off Sevilla’s hands for a price between €18m-€22m (in an unusual arrangement, the fee rises to the latter figure in the final 15 days of every transfer window). Figures that are pocket change these days for a player who has hit 17 goals and nine assists from the tip of the midfield in just over half a season. Small money, too, for someone who has made a habit of scoring big goals, a pair of which came against reigning La Liga champions FC Barcelona.
After finding the net against the Catalans in La Liga last October, Sarabia did it again in a famous 2-0 Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg win at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán in January. A result that was enough to give the Andalusians hope of progressing to the semi-finals at Copa specialists Barça’s expense, provided they could see out the job.
Sarabia has a buyout clause set between €18m-€22m, with the fee rising to the latter figure in the final 15 days of every transfer window
Somewhat predictably, they couldn’t. Sevilla’s horrible away form (their last win on the road came in October) has seen them slip from contending for top spot in La Liga only a couple of months ago, to contending to stay in the top four now.
It also saw them crumble to a 6-1 defeat at the Camp Nou in the cup, and with many legs starting to look heavy following a season that is already hitting the 40-game mark for them after playing in the European preliminary rounds, there is reasonable cause for concern.
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Sarabia, meanwhile, may feel he has gone as far as he can in his current surroundings – there is reasonable evidence to suggest that is the case. Out of contract in 2020, Sevilla have unsurprisingly been working for some time to try and convince the Madrid native to renew, complete with a buyout clause more fitting of a player of his talents and increasing reputation. As a sweetener, they have offered a salary that would make him among the three best paid players in their squad, according to local newspaper Estadio Deportivo, but for the moment he hasn’t put pen to paper.
Sporting director Joaquin Caparros was frank on the matter when asked in December, noting that “if players want an exit for economic reasons we can’t do anything about it”. Sarabia will no doubt be aware that other parties could soon come with an offer that Sevilla cannot match – not only in terms of money, but also the potential to win trophies. If they haven’t made that offer already.
If Isco leaves Real Madrid in the summer, Real Madrid is a possible destination for the talented Sarabia, having played in the same youth team as Dani Carvajal
Murmurs earlier this season suggested one such club could be Real Madrid, where Sarabia was developed for six years as a youth player and played in the same Castilla side as good friend Dani Carvajal. If Isco leaves the Santiago Bernabéu in the summer as seems probable, it would be an obvious destination for the academy product, should he keep his present eye-catching form up.
And with an all-action style that could easily fit the more end-to-end game found outside of Spain, others from further afield will surely be keeping a discrete eye on the midfielder, too. Two-footed, with an eye for a pass, excellent delivery from set-pieces, a finishing touch, and happy to run himself into the ground. Plus, available on the cheap. What’s not to love? It’s a highly tempting package.
The 26-year-old joined Sevilla from Getafe and his time as a Sevilla player could soon be over
Sarabia remains Sevilla’s for the moment, but at a club that in the past has seen the likes of Ivan Rakitic or Dani Alves arrive, shine, then move on to progress on a much bigger stage, a certain feeling of inevitability about the matter is starting to creep in. Whether it happens this year, or is prolonged until next, if Sarabia continues to keep pace with the best of Spain on the pitch, then the best of Spain and elsewhere will come calling off it.