Four points behind in 15th place, VfB Stuttgart is currently in the relegation place. Nevertheless, CEO Alexander Wehrle announces that he intends to continue to rely on young talent. Even in the event of a descent.
Opposite of German press agency Wehrle initially spread optimism about staying up in the league. He was “firmly convinced that we will also play first class in 2022/23”, said the former managing director of 1.FC Köln.
But even in the event of relegation, the Swabians don’t want to change anything fundamental about their strategic orientation. “The path we have taken to focus on young players fits the DNA of this club and will continue”, Wehrle clarifies. Since promotion in 2020, VfB have only signed one player over the age of 24 in the then 27-year-old Wataru Endo. No wonder that Stuttgart have the youngest squad in the league with an average age of 22.7 years.
Wehrle also emphasizes that the Neckar is not dependent on player sales. Although sales have dropped by around 80 million euros since the beginning of the corona pandemic, the VfB boss sees his club in a good financial position: “However, since the contract and salary structure in the professional squad is healthy and takes the second division scenario into account appropriately, no additional transfer income is necessary.” The lower television income in the second league would not change that, which would result in a loss of sales in the tens of millions.
Wehrle is also confident when it comes to the loyalty of VfB fans. “I know the Swabians well. We therefore expect that if the worst comes to the worst, the whole region will again be fully behind VfB and that the goal of direct promotion will also be approached with full support in the stadium.”, said the 47-year-old. After the last two relegations in 2016 and 2019, the feared decline in viewers did not materialize.
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