A lot of people, including me, were surprised to learn that Tottenham Hotspur was in advanced negotiations with Sunderland in League One for the transfer of highly-touted academy fullback Dennis Cirkin. This was a kid, after all, who was extremely highly regarded by Spurs youth watchers and the academy staff. It was a real head scratcher.
Reports emerged that Cirkin had turned down a contract offer from Tottenham in order to have a fresh start somewhere where he can get regular first team football, something that probably wouldn’t happen any time soon at Spurs. However, while Tottenham were apparently okay with letting him go, they were able to keep some claws in him for the future.
According to Twitter account @Lilywhite_Rose which is especially clued in to the development of Tottenham’s youth academy, Spurs were able to include a couple of very important clauses in Cirkin’s Sunderland contract — a buy-back clause, AND a sell-on clause.
#thfc Told a few more details on the Cirkin deal tonight. Spurs have insisted on both a buy back clause and a sell on clause on profit should they not take up the buy back clause. https://t.co/OvcvQscE7Y— Lilywhite Rose (@Lilywhite_Rose) August 6, 2021
It’s rare that you get both of them in a single contract, which is why despite letting Cirkin go it’s still a pretty good piece of business. Consider: Cirkin, a left back, is currently blocked behind Sergio Reguilon, Ryan Sessegnon, AND Ben Davies. As a young player it would normally behoove him to be patient and go on a couple of loans. But by selling him, Spurs get a small transfer fee now. If they want him back later, they can do so via the buy-back clause, the details of which we aren’t privy to but probably wouldn’t be that onerous. And if they decide NOT to buy him back, they’ll still get a percentage of the proceeds of Cirkin’s next sale. If he’s as good as everyone thinks he is, it’s more or less a win-win scenario.
I don’t think anyone’s especially happy that Cirkin’s leaving. He’s supposedly a monster talent. But if he did want a fresh start or just an opportunity to really get some first team minutes early in his career, this is a good way of mitigating the downsides of selling him now. It’s a pretty astute piece of business and ensure that he’s connected financially to the club for a while yet.