Club Brugge have once again announced a profit for the 2021-2022 season. As reported by Voetbalkrant and Het Nieuwsblad, the champions announced a profit of around 4 million euros. This is up two million from the previous season, and is expected to increase when the 2022-2023 accounts are released thanks to the sale of Charles De Ketelaere to AC Milan and Stanley Nsoki to TSG Hoffenheim.
Club have won the title three times in a row, with last years coming thanks to the play-off system. This year they currently sit down in fourth, 13 points behind leaders Genk. However, they have qualified from their Champions League group and face Benfica in the knock-out stages. With their success and now financial strength, should the rest of the league be worried?
Many have warned that Club could become the Bayern Munich of the Belgian Pro League, whereby their success breeds further success while other clubs struggle to keep up. Yet, the difference between a side like Club and Munich is that, despite their success and financial capability, the ability to keep star players will continue to be a struggle for the Belgian champions. While the likes of Hans Vanaken and Clinton Mata have remained, young players like De Ketelaere will always be attracted to joining the top leagues.
Recruitment will therefore be key to Club’s future dominance, and they have shown this year that this can be hit and miss. Feran Jutgla has certainly been a success, and Raphael Onyedika looks to be the exact player the club were missing in the midfield. However, Roman Yaremchuk, the record signing, has struggled to find a place in the side. Dedryck Boyata and Cyle Larin have also not shown enough to be considered successful signings. Last seasons pick-ups Jack Hendry and Faitout Maouassa left the club in the summer after not being able to nail down first team places.
What the above highlights is that the financial situation Club Brugge finds themselves in means they can afford to have mixed transfer windows, as long as some of the players work out. It is likely that they will be searching for a replacement for Jutgla at the end of the season given his form in Europe. Their continued success will be reliant on the ability to continue to replace the star outgoings with cheap high potential incomings. If they are able to do that, then the rest of the league should be concerned.
Yet this season Club have shown that European success hampers domestic consistency. Genk have been able to take advantage, setting a benchmark for the rest of the league in how the dominance of one side can be overcome. In Germany, the likes of Dortmund and RB Leipzig have not been able to show the consistency needed to take advantage of Bayern’s slip ups. The Pro League’s stakeholders should hope that other teams can take advantage of Club’s poor seasons to keep the league competitive and avoid it becoming a one horse race year in year out.