Florin Gardoș is not someone Southampton fans would remember well, because the centre-back hardly made any contribution to the Premier League club.
The Saints signed the Romanian from FCSB in 2014 and offered him a four-year contract.
He was one of the signings made by Ronald Koeman in his first transfer window at St Mary’s.
The defender made only 18 appearances during his time in England, and his agent, Giovanni Becali has now revealed he negotiated Gardoș’ transfer to Southampton from a prison in Romania.
Becali was one of the individuals involved in Romania’s corruption scandal called ‘Dosarul Transferurilor‘ [The Transfer File].
Months before [March 2014] Gardoș joined Southampton, the Bucharest Court of Appeal handed down the final sentence, and this saw Becali spend time in prison.
Speaking to Romanian journalist Ovidiu Ioanițoaia, as relayed by Sport.ro, the representative provided details on how he helped Gardoș join Southampton.
“From the prison in Slobozia, I made a transfer of €6.8m. I talked to Dragos, my collaborator, he told me that Southampton appointed Koeman,” Becali explained.
“I told him to tell Koeman I would call him from the prison. I called him and I talked to him. Ronald told me he had read what had happened to me and he was sorry about it. ‘Leave it’, I told him.
“I have an interesting player for you, called Gardoș. I spoke to Pochettino before and proposed to him. Koeman said to me: ‘Tomorrow at the same time, I’ll give you an answer, call me!’
“The transfer was done for €6.8m. Gardoș took €4m, had 4 years of contract and €1m salary.”
Florin Gardoș’ last club was CS Universitatea Craiova, and the 31 year old is now a free agent, having been released this summer.