The Premier League is mandating that Manchester City pays fair market value for Girona teenager Savio. Currently, Savio is an employee in the City Football Group that owns Girona, Manchester City and Troyes. The Brazilian forward is currently under contract at French club Troyes, but he is spending the season on loan at Girona. Manchester City is ready to make a move to bring him to the Premier League, but it cannot do that for free.

Under Premier League rules, Manchester City must pay Troyes fair market value even if the player is coming from an affiliate club. Much of the reason for the Premier League and UEFA mandating Manchester City pay full price boils down to financial fair play. This rule means Manchester City’s expenditure aligns with the value of their squad.

Transfers between club affiliates are not anything new, and Manchester City has used the process in the past. This applied to players moving to and from Manchester City. For example, Frank Lampard went from Manchester City to New York City FC. However, Jack Harrison’s move in the other direction stands out as a profitable decision for Manchester City. Since then, though, the regulations surrounding multi-club ownership have become the focus of rule-makers in European soccer. Much of that extends from the Saudi Public Investment Fund purchasing Newcastle United.

Manchester City signing who requires fair market value

Savio, the forward in question for this inter-ownership move from Troyes to Manchester City, has never played a game for the French side. Currently in Ligue 2, Troyes has sent Savio out on loan every season it has had the Brazilian. Currently, that puts him at Girona, where the Brazilian teenager has scored five goals and added a further seven assists. As a 19-year-old left winger, Savio has started all but one game for Girona in its remarkable campaign.

That success has made the market value for Savio climb. At the beginning of the campaign, Transfermarkt pinged Savio’s value at just $5 million. Now, any club that wants to acquire Savio will have to pay upwards of $30 million. Based on the Premier League’s rules, that includes Manchester City. The league will assign the ‘book value’ for Savio that Manchester City will have to pay.

Multi-club ownership moves to be more frequent

Manchester City’s move for Savio will set a precedent in the Premier League when it comes to owners bringing in players from other clubs. Currently, owners at several different clubs in the English top flight have connections across the globe. Sir Jim Ratcliffe of Manchester United and his INEOS group owns OGC Nice in France. Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis owns Olympiacos in the Turkish Super Lig and Rio Ave in Portugal. Finally, John Textor, the owner with the most shares of Crystal Palace, owns Botafogo in Brazil.

Even if these clubs have to pay fair market value, they are saving money by not pulling bigger transfer fees out of suitors. For example, the market value for Enzo Fernandez was $91 million when Chelsea bought him. However, the Blues paid a whopping $130 million to bring the Argentine to Stamford Bridge because they saw him as a necessity.