Reigning, two-time Turkish Super League champions Beşiktaş are now aiming to build a squad that can compete at the higher levels of European football. Although they have not made any sensational transfers yet, rumor has it they have been negotiating with Real Madrid's Portuguese defender Pepe. According to some inside news in the Turkish media, Pepe wants 5 million euros per year in a two-year contract, the amount he earns in Madrid, while Beşiktaş have offers 4 million euros per year. Nevertheless, after having lots of injuries in the last two years and having played only 18 games last year, I doubt whether he is the same Pepe who got a 5 million-euros contract from Real Madrid.
Of course, Beşiktaş are not Real Madrid and it is normal that Pepe did not take any discounts after 10 years in Madrid, but I still do not think the Portuguese defender is being fair in his calculations. First of all, if Pepe earns 5 million euros per year in Madrid, he has to pay 52 percent of it as tax to the Spanish government, while Turkey demands only 15 percent. So with a basic calculation, he will save 1,850,000 euros by coming to Turkey, and it seems like good money for a player who is 34 years old and who has not played regularly at his club for the last two years. Rumor also has it that Beşiktaş are keen on agreeing with Pepe on his terms, giving him a contract that far exceed any other player's at Beşiktaş.
However, the question here is, does Beşiktaş truly need Pepe to achieve their goals next season? Center backs Marcelo and Dusko Tosic were decent last season, and Tosic especially improved his physical capabilities and the team's overall defensive performance significantly. This duo would be enough to seal a decent defensive showing next season in the Super League, but for the Champions League, Beşiktaş need more defensive organization more than they need a new defender. Last year, although the team played a defensive strategy mostly, Beşiktaş could not integrate collective defending into their overall strategy and were bound to individual heroes like Marcelo, Tosic and Atiba Hutchinson. Even though the team survived for months with this strategy, when Dynamo Kiev finished off Beşiktaş's Champions League hopes in a 6-0 defeat, it was evident that chaotic defending had its limit.
Now, all the executives at Beşiktaş and coach Şenol Güneş must ask themselves whether improving the qualities of the individuals will make the same contribution as settling down into a serious pressing system with sophisticated positioning. It is obvious that Pepe wants to use his name for one last big pay check, and he knows that no wise European team would pay the money he wants at this moment. Thus, before retirement, Pepe will get 10 million euros from Beşiktaş, while Beşiktaş will get a player that may not be the same world beater of two years ago. If Beşiktaş want to be one of the wise and successful teams in Europe, they should question why no one has offered Pepe a contract. Then, they may understand the absence of logic in this transfer.