Pelembe kicks way into the pound seat

2012-01-14 20:56

For months, Elias Pelembe was a much-sought-after player in the Absa Premiership.

The status of the Mamelodi Sundowns’ midfielder as the most valued player had set tongues wagging over what determines the value of players in the South African transfer market.

The Mozambican international, who signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal with Sundowns on Friday, was valued at between R8 million and R10 million. The 27-year-old was linked to Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, whom he could have joined on a free transfer.

The situation with Pelembe has also highlighted how players stand to gain more when they leave clubs as free agents, as opposed to when they are sold while they are still on contract.

Pelembe’s contract was due to expire at the end of June – a factor that could have left him with a choice to join a club that would get him for free instead of clubs paying close to R10 million for his signature.

As a free agent, a player can virtually write his own pay cheque and set personal terms that include a signing-on fee, bonuses and a monthly salary.

But just how is a player’s market value determined?

Lots of figures have been bandied about regarding Pelembe’s worth on the local market, with some arguing that he was demanding an inflated monthly salary of R500 000.

According to SuperSport United commercial director Jose Ferreira, a player’s market value is determined by age, length of contract and the player’s position.

All these factors favoured Pelembe during the negotiations – he is 27, he had four months left on his contract and plays in the midfield position.

Midfielders and strikers are worth more than defenders and goalkeepers, said Ferreira, who has been involved in the domestic player transfers for over a decade.

“Fullbacks and goalkeepers are less valuable than central defenders and strikers. But again it depends on the length of the contract he has with the club.”

Ferreira said Pelembe was worth about R1 million on the market when his contract was due to expire in June.

“But his personal terms will be higher and he will probably get what he wants, which could be anything between R4 million to R5 million a year,” said Ferreira before the player put pen to paper on Friday.

Pelembe’s business manager Tim Sukazi said his stable used the latest market trends as a yardstick to determine the value of his client.

He said the recent moves by Thulani Serero to Ajax Amsterdam and Knowledge Musona to Germany’s TSG 1899 Hoffenheim had set the tone for Pelembe’s demands.

“Obviously those were overseas moves and we cannot compare, but he should be up there with the best. He is at the peak of his career and at 27 he still has a lot to offer,” said Sukazi.

He said Pelembe was worth about R8 million on the market on a transfer fee.

» Meanwhile, Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana winger Siphiwe Tshabalala’s contract is also coming to an end in June.

English Championship side Crystal Palace coach Dougie Freedman had hinted the club would only sign the player when he is out of contract, rather than buying him from Chiefs.

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