Sevilla coach Unai Emery has backed the decision to allow centre-half Emir Spahic to leave for Anzhi Makhachkala, despite the poor defending that saw his team crash out of the Copa del Rey by drawing Wednesday’s semi-final second leg 2-2 with Atletico Madrid.
Bosnia international captain Spahic, 32, has been a fixture in the Sevilla defence this season but was suspended for the Atletico game, having been sent off during Atletico's 2-1 first-leg win.
Estadio Deporte have reported that the Spahic transfer involved big-spending Anzhi paying a €2.3 million loan fee to cash-strapped Sevilla, the player having his back-wages paid up, and the Russian side being given an option to make the transfer permanent this summer for €1.5 million.
Sevilla now have just two experienced centre-halves in Federico Fazio and Alberto Botia. Both were given the run-around by Atletico’s Diego Costa and Radamel Falcao in Wednesday’s game.
Emery told reporters after the match that the decision to sanction the deal had been taken by the club’s sporting director Monchi and president Jose Maria Del Nido, while adding that the squad had enough depth to cover the exit.
“Emir’s departure was decided by Monchi and the president,” he said. “We analysed everything and it was decided he would go. Anzhi was a good opportunity for him. I do not believe we will notice his loss.”
Del Nido has spoken regularly in recent months about heavily-indebted Sevilla’s need to sell players to raise funds. He admitted in mid-February that the club owed €3.25 million in wages to players, but said the situation was under control.
Fazio, centre-forward Alvaro Negredo and midfielder Ivan Rakitic were all heavily linked with moves away from Sevilla during January’s transfer window, but all three remained at the club.
Former Barcelona youngster Botia was signed by Sevilla last summer from Sporting Gijon, in a complex deal reportedly involving financial support from third party investors the Doyen Group.