Manchester City have exercised their clause to sign 24-year-old Argentine goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli, according to AS, in a complex deal that needs some explaining.
Rulli had been poised to join Real Sociedad on a permanent deal from Deportivo Maldonado, a second division Uruguayan side who ‘host’ players for third-party owners such as Rulli’s. City are said to have a stake in the South American investment group that owns Rulli’s sporting rights, granting them a first option to sign the player. They have now used this option and there is a complete agreement for City to buy the player outright.
What will happen next, according to this story, is very confusing. City will loan Rulli back to Real Sociedad, where he has was parked last season, but La Real will then be obliged to sign the goalkeeper for a fee of around €7 million (£5.8 million) next summer. City will therefore have signed Rulli, loaned him out, and sold him within a year.
But it doesn’t end there. Having sold Rulli, City will have a buy-back clause, allowing them to sign him in future for around double what Sociedad gave them, so approximately €14 million (£11.6 million). 2018 is mentioned as the year in which City could bring him back to the Etihad. They would have to pay to re-sign a player they had previously owned, in what could be viewed as a developmental fee to Sociedad. If City didn’t decide to buy him back, Rulli’s release clause would be €40 million (£33.4 million) for any other club wishing to acquire him.
If Rulli left Sociedad for any club besides City, whether for his €40 million clause or lower, City would be entitled to 30% of the total amount with Sociedad getting the other 70%.
After many mixed reports on which goalkeepers City may be signing, this one seems the most reliable, simply because of how incredibly confusing and complex it is. The indications are that Gerónimo Rulli is set to become a Manchester City player, but only for a year… and then he may become a Manchester City player again in a couple of years.