A promotion to the Champions League after a decent run in the Europa League set a number of things in motion that would drastically change the look of RB Paris. Patrice Evra and Thomas Linke had to make some hard choices while making a massive bet on their youth system that could either destroy their progress or set them up for additional success.
To be blunt, this offseason started with a cleanout as Linke kept players key to their future and shed those who aren’t through transfers or expiring contracts. The key players would be handed long deals with improved terms, but thanks to some additional issues they would be left with a serious depth issue at the right wing. The additional issue would actually boil down to a single player, Rasmus Rasmussen, and generate some cracks in the manager-general manager relationship.
With new contracts being handed out all over Rasmussen decided to make some extravagant salary demands, it didn’t help that RB Paris was getting offers for him from big clubs that Rasmussen wanted the club to accept. Rasmussen took things public and things started to get really messy in the media, it didn’t help that Mino Raiola was involved and that just made things so much worse for the club. In the span of two weeks the player would reject an improved contract offer, reiterate his desire to be sold, have RB Paris management accept a €26M from Derby County despite protests from Evra, and end up agreeing to a €29M move to Sheffield United. Inside sources report that Evra was very upset with the Derby County agreement, it would be the first time the club would go over his head on a senior transfer, most analysts agree that Rasmussen should be worth much more than the agreed fee. The only consolation was Sheffield United agreeing to a 40% sell-on fee and no add-ons, reports are the Derby County fee was for €19M and needed a number of add-ons to get to €26M.
Rasmussen was a big loss, but it was the remainder of the transfers that would concern fans. Moving along Greg Docherty and Benito would go down very poorly, but they were tough business decisions that had to be made. There was no way the club was going to lock them in for another 3-4 years with so many talented youngsters coming up or ready to step into the first squad. While losing senior squad members is never fun, Linke managed some massive wins with contract extensions.
The biggest win was locking up CAM Younes Boussif with a five-year deal worth €6K a week, once an unthinkable sum for RB Paris, the deal reportedly includes a hefty Team Of The Year bonus thought to be around €150K. Linke struck gold again and again with the 5-year deals once Boussif was on board. LB Kévin Blanc (€4K/week), CM Youssef Camara (€8K/week), CF Mauro Amorim (€6K/week), and LW Octávio Martinho (€3.5K/week) would all join on 5-year deals to solidify the squad for quite some time. The only bump in the road was with RB Danny Malitoli as the two parties struggled to agree on years. Malitoli wanted a massive pay upgrade, something the club was willing to do, but not on a short term basis. Malitoli had demanded to be sold to a bigger club in January, but since he’s already under contract through 2026 his demands fell on deaf ears. There are reports that RB Paris were looking for €60M in a sale with a number of big-name clubs showing interest, but the only offers that came in were from small clubs offering €6-10M.
The window closed out with some small losses for Linke and Evra as RB Paris has a ways to go before they can compete on the transfer market. The first reminder of their place came when the club agreed to buy exciting Spanish RW José Luis Areso from Elche for a paltry €3.1M. With Rasmussen and Benito leaving it looked like Areso would move right into the starting lineup with the opportunity to play in the Champions League, but in the end Areso rejected the move. That disappointment was followed by a failure to sell Abner Felipe, the club reportedly tired of his contract complaints, instead finding a loan move to rid them of his influence on the locker room. Jean Marcelin followed up that episode with a wild demand to double his wages to €44K/week, thanks to a pitiful transfer offer by Fulham, but he’s already locked up through 2027 so he ended up getting nothing.
The loss of Rasmussen and the failure to sign Areso pushed the club into being very aggressive at RW. Luckily for them Atalanta was willing to part with Daniele Esposito, RB Paris seem to think he could be a future star but the Italian side were willing to part with him for a reasonable fee. Some snooping around at Barcelona landed them Jaume Jardí, a player who has almost no chance of getting into their senior squad, a quick fix at RW behind Esposito gives Evra some time to figure out what to do at RW.
Senior / Major Transfers (Out)
Rasmus Rasmussen (RW, Sheffield United) €29M
Pierluigi Pinto (CB, Brentford) €3.6M
Diego Raposo (CM, FC Lorient) €3.2M
Benito (RW, KV Mechelen) €2.1M
Greg Docherty (CM, FC Lorient) €1.4M
Kemehlo Nguena (CM, US Créteil-Lusitanos) €56K
Abner Felipe (LB, Valenciennes) Loan
Senior Transfers (In)
Daniele Esposito (RW, Atalanta) €8.5M
Jaume Jardí (RW, Barcelona) €150K
Final Transfer List (Impact Signings)
Maurice Passlack (RW, Bayer 04 Leverkusen - Germany) €4.8M
Zivorad Kitic (GK, Crvena Zvezda - Serbia) €2M
Stevan Stojanovic (RW, Crvena Zvezda - Serbia) €1.3M
Ivan Dukic (CF, Crvena Zvezda - Serbia) €1.3M
Maxence Christ (GK, Virton - Belgium) €525K
Ayanda Ratmalo (CM, Sundowns - South Africa) €500K
Zaheer Skippers (CAM, Sundowns - South Africa) €300K
Wilfried Doumbia (CM, Atlantis FC - Ivory Coast) Free
This crop of youth prospects could be one of the biggest wins in club history, looking at some of these players makes it easy to forget the stress of cleaning out the senior squad. A raiding party at Crvena Zveda brought in three solid Serbians with RW Stevan Stojanovic being the most exciting, Stojanovic can play both wings so he could be fast tracked through the youth system and find himself as a valuable bench option. Scouts are most excited about CAM Zaheer Skippers, who came over for almost nothing, and RW Maurice Passlack who many think could be the next big name out of Germany. Passlack is just fifteen, but many who have seen him play think he could make the senior squad very quickly. Evra will need to make due at RW this year, but the future on the right looks to be very bright.