At the end of the transfer window, Crystal Palace and Lille were both involved in a myriad of stories about deadline deals collapsing.
For Palace there was Ibrahim Amadou and his train trip, they reportedly offered £3.6m for Guaita, the same offer as had been rejected earlier in window, then offered the same £3.6m for Frederik Ronnow, who had experienced similar the previous transfer window.
The Eagles offered €20m for Dendoncker with a couple of hours to go, which could have got him a week ago, left Ozan Tufan waiting at an airport in Turkey, and paid perhaps 50% more for Alexander Sorloth than the asking price had been a few days days earlier.
Amadou was the biggest drama played out in the English media, largely because he’d turned up via Eurostar and, according to Jim White’s repeated screams on Sky, was begging Lille via telephone to let him join Crystal Palace.
On Lille’s side, French newspaper L’Equipe has published an article suggesting the club, in financial difficulties, fabricated some offers for their players towards the end of the window and leaked it to the media. Why? So that investors are encouraged to give the club more money, believing there’s several valuable assets who will be in demand come the summer.
Crystal Palace are said to have offered €14m for Amadou, but Lille wanted €20m and even enlisted British agent Willy McKay, who works a lot with French clubs, to help them. That’s why West Ham, who McKay has contacts with, were brought into the picture.
Lille then changed their mind back and forth about a sale, and L’Equipe say an offer from Crystal Palace was ‘verbally accepted’. That offer was for a €1m loan, with Palace then making it permanent if they avoid relegation.
Xeka would have had to return to Lille from his Dijon loan, but no real work had been done on that file, underlining the mess at the club.
In London, Amadou met with Steve Parish, but the club wasn’t able to get the deal sorted out and now eyes turn to the summer, when Lille are going to have to sell to help their accounts.