Anthony Limbombe. The man of failed transfers to Yorkshire.
Once upon a time, the Belgian was thought to be on the verge of a transfer to Leeds United. A move to Elland Road had been heavily rumoured but the Championship club couldn’t agree a fee, and it all collapsed.
Then, a couple of summers later in the 2018 window, the footballer travelled to Leeds, house-hunting ahead of a much rumoured transfer to Huddersfield Town, rather than being on the verge of joining Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
A transfer was considered a matter of time.
On July 18th it was reported in Belgium that Huddersfield had reached an agreement with Club Brugge (rumoured to be worth as much as €15m), and then a week later it was claimed they couldn’t find the same with the player.
The English window closed, and Limbombe ended up signing for Nantes in Ligue 1.
There’s a lengthy article in today’s L’Equipe which seems to explain why.
Belgium football was rocked at he beginning of October when police stormed several clubs and arrested people including agent Mogi Bayat, who was taken into custody and kept there until December.
The case, related to payments made to agents and a whole host of other things, continues.
Shortly before moving to Nantes, Limbombe dropped his long term agent and had his transfer arranged by Mogi Bayat.
The €8m Nantes was originally said to have paid for Limbombe, has been disputed by the courts, who believe it was actually around €10m. A €3m signing on fee had been negotiated for the player, but the destination of half of this is under question.
In November, L’Equipe report the player was taken into custody by French police, and questioned. The allegations are that half the money secretly went to Bayat, allowing the agent to swerve the commission limits in French football.
Huddersfield had been the ‘priority track’, explain L’Equipe.
The player’s former agent, Christian Negouai, who is taken his own legal action for a cut of the transfer, is quoted as saying: “Anthony was interested and Huddersfield’s coach told him how he was going to play him. FC Brugge could sell him for €15m. In view of his recent results, Anthony wanted to get the biggest salary of the team to be respected in the dressing room. I started the negotiations on June 3rd but a few days later, Huddersfield was not responding too much… I had a solution: I know the company Base Soccer (one of the largest UK player agencies) and I talked to one of their representatives, Zouhair Essikal. We negotiated for almost three weeks. But without knowing that Anthony had signed an international mandate with another agent, Dirk De Vriese.”
De Vriese wouldn’t comment to L’Equipe.
Huddersfield pulled out, Bayat got the Nantes deal, and the mess continues.
As for Limbombe, he’s managed a single assist and no goals in Ligue 1 so far, and is no longer a guaranteed starter.