Big-Name Transfers: Why They're Harder to Pull off Than You'd Think

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterSeptember 4, 2012

Big-Name Transfers: Why They're Harder to Pull off Than You'd Think

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    The transfer window has closed in most countries, and while the deals are still rolling in, for the most part, it's time to sift through the wreckage.

    As teams return to their domestic leagues, some will be pleased and others will be upset with how their summer spending played out. For almost every club around the world, though, January should present another opportunity to strengthen the squad.

    But before any club can bring in a big-name transfer, there are plenty of obstacles to any such deal. Here's a look at a few of the problems that clubs face when conducting big business.

Keeping Everyone Happy

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    The first task in a big transfer is convincing the targeted player's club to sell. As we saw this summer with Luka Modric (ex-Tottenham Hotspur) and Robin van Persie (ex-Arsenal), that's not always an easy process.

    An even more contentious transfer involved Athletic Bilbao, Bayern Munich and defensive midfielder/defender Javi Martinez. Bayern eventually signed Martinez, but it cost the exorbitant fee of €40 million (per

    But that wasn't the end of it. As reports in a separate article, Athletic Bilbao are considering legal action against Bayern after Martinez underwent a medical for the German club without Athletic's consent.

    In the end, Bayern got their man. But at what cost?

Timing Is Everything

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    It sounds almost too basic to even warrant mentioning, but clubs and their managers and chairmen must remain mindful of the exact time left in every transfer window.

    Tottenham Hotspur proved that this summer.

    Tottenham reportedly agreed to sign Portuguese midfielder João Moutinho from Porto for £22 million last Friday (per The Daily Mail). But Spurs didn't sign Moutinho before the transfer deadline passed Friday evening, and they'll now have to wait until at least January to try again.

    According to several sources, Tottenham missed out on signing Moutinho by mere minutes (via The Daily Telegraph).

So Is Ownership

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    According to that Daily Mail article from the previous slide, João Moutinho's proposed transfer to Tottenham Hotspur collapsed because of complications over the player's ownership by a third party.

    Third-party ownership is a somewhat late-arriving phenomenon in world football. These days, though, it's quite widespread, especially among South American footballers.

    West Ham United landed in trouble over Carlos Tevez and his third-party ownership (via The Guardian), and Brazilian starlet Neymar is yet another whose rights are complicated by the practice (per

Render Unto Caesar What Is Caesar's

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    In July, France's new socialist government, led by prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, announced tax for wealthy people and large corporations (via The Guardian).

    The news didn't stop Paris Saint-Germain from pulling off one of the most stunningly expensive transfer hauls in football history. This summer alone, PSG signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi and others for a combined sum worth more than most small countries' gross domestic product.

    It's unclear how France's new tax laws will affect PSG moving forward, but Ibrahimovic's lavish contract has drawn criticism already (via The Guardian). As that article points out, the new laws seem to have inflated wages artificially:

    Ibrahimovic will be paid more than €1m (£778,000) a month to play for PSG, whose new Qatari owners have made clear that the salary will be raised high enough to soften the consequences of a proposed 75% top rate of tax, due to be imposed by Hollande in the autumn on those earning above €1m a year.

    With more restrictive tax laws and changing public sentiments, will PSG be able to keep up?

Which Club Is Getting Paid?

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    Radamel Falcao left Porto in 2011 to sign with Atletico Madrid for a reported fee of £34.7 million (per The Guardian).

    As of August 2012, Porto claimed they had not received all of that money. As such, the Portuguese club threatened to report Atletico to FIFA (via ESPN FC):

    The Spanish club agreed to pay €40 million for the Colombia striker last July, with the money to be paid in installments: €22 million was paid at the time, €9 million was due by July 2012 and €9 million next year. Porto have only reportedly received €6.5 million of 2012's payment.

    If Falcao remains with Atletico for the rest of this season, the dispute will involve only two clubs. But what if the rumors (via Daily Mail) are right and Chelsea sign Falcao this winter?

    In modern football, such problems are bound to pop up.


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