William Carvalho’s failed move from Sporting to West Ham has been hugely entertaining.
Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho has behaved like a fan, rather than a senior club official, and that was no surprise. Some West Ham fans may also say the behaviour of their leaders has been no surprise either, with both clubs throwing so much dirt they can’t see they’re mainly covering themselves in it.
Portuguese newspaper O Jogo on Friday cover some more comments from Bruno, in what they now call a ‘war’ over William.
“The West Ham people can say whatever they want. We have already said that we are going to file a complaint with FIFA. With West Ham you see the problem of clubs having owners (as opposed to sensible presidents?). For €25m we would not even send Umaró Baldé, much less William. They knocked on the wrong door.”
Bruno is right, in a way. West Ham certainly did pick the wrong club if they wanted to play silly transfer games, and five minutes spent on Google could have told them that.
It’s amazing that in 2017, in a transfer worth around £25m, West Ham were so ill prepared, or so arrogant, that they dealt with Sporting completely the wrong way.
A low offer, spread over 3 payments, with bonuses for West Ham CL qualification (even caveats placed on that), and a threat that if it wasn’t accepted quickly enough… they would loan a PSG player instead.
Interestingly, even the same page of Friday’s O Jogo gives a Sporting and Bruno drama which West Ham should have been aware of, and should have learned from.
UEFA are withholding €17m due to Sporting, because the Portuguese club have a debt with Doyen. The football investment company funded Marcos Rojo’s transfer from Spartak Moscow to Sporting in 2012, paying €4m.
Doyen were then due 75% of any future transfer fee, but when Rojo moved to Manchester United in 2014, in a deal worth around €25m, Bruno refused. The Sporting president accused Doyen of a whole list of things and refused to pay the money, so it ended up at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Unsurprisingly, Doyen won, and yet still the debt hasn’t been paid in full, hence UEFA withholding the money because it’s due via a CAS ruling.
Bruno de Carvalho must have known he had a poor case, or been blind to the inconvenient truth, and went ahead, spending a fortune on legal costs. This was very much in character, and there are endless examples to back that up, which West Ham should also have been aware of.
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Take Eric Dier, a player Bruno de Carvalho probably still has nightmares about. Dier left Sporting for less than £5m, due to a low clause in his contract and a refusal to accept a much higher one.
This infuriated Bruno, and negative stories about Dier were fed to the Portuguese media, some directly.
Dier hit back, with the then 20 year old explaining in 2014: “I disliked the statement. It’s odd to treat someone like that, who was at the club since the age of 8, who has always respected Sporting and always tried to do everything well. Then, at the time of departure, I see a statement like that? Honestly, it’s a little strange.
“People may think I’m lying, but the problem was never the money. The clauses that Sporting wanted to impose is what made negotiations difficult.
“They wanted to get unthinkable clauses. I am a defender and they wanted to put a clause on me of €45m with a salary that does not justify this price? No way… To me it makes no sense, but I respect my colleagues who accepted these conditions.
“I went to the Academy de Alcochete on Thursday morning to go get my things and say goodbye to everyone. The president was there, greeted me and said no word. Moved on. Not wished me good luck or anything, which is a bit strange… I’ve been 12 years at Sporting and leave without a word from the president? For me, it’s weird.”
The Tottenham player had been speaking to Portuguese newspaper Record, and William Carvalho came up. Dier said the West Ham summer target was the best player he’d shared a dressing room with.
William already had a €45m clause, despite earning €100k a year as long as he met bonuses. Sporting later increased that, but it still wasn’t matching to his clause.
If the high profile Rojo case, and the Dier drama, wasn’t enough to warn West Ham, there’s more.
Andre Carrillo was to be one of Bruno’s next targets, for failing to attract a big enough fee and then refusing to sign a renewal. In October 2015, the Sporting president said: “The only proposal that I received was that of Leicester. Is Carrillo good? If he’s good it only appears there was a proposal from Leicester, this colossus of world football?”
The Football Gods must have heard about bolshie Bruno by this stage so decided to guide Leicester City to the Premier League title. You may have thought it was down to a great team spirit, Claudio Ranieri having the managerial season of his life, but no, it was Bruno payback.
Carrillo didn’t renew, which led to Bruno saying the follow January: “If it had not been for Sporting in his life, he possibly wouldn’t play football, he could be playing in any street of Peru and perhaps not even known by anyone.
“We worked with him, Carrillo, four years ago, we grew him, educated him, dressed him, fed him… Because of that Carrillo now has a name, but when he arrived in 2011 he was a child.”
When Carrillo moved to Sporting he was already part of the Peru national squad and had been named the best young player in the country, hence Sporting paying €1.5m for him.
More warnings there which West Ham could have unearthed with not so much difficulty.
There was Marco Silva fired for not wearing a club suit and replaced by Jorge Jesus, as Sporting looked to avoid paying compensation. The now Watford manager, reunited with Carrillo, was then slandered by a Sporting director and subsequently won a court case over the matter.
And, and more recently, a huge drama in Portugal after Bruno was accused of spitting at Arouca’s president. Bruno has been banned for 6 months for the incident, his Arouca counterpart banned for 20 months after the tunnel altercation.
Sporting’s communications director denied Bruno spat at anyone, blaming vapour from an e-cigarette.
This is all without touching upon Bruno de Carvalho’s war with agents, war with other Portuguese clubs, mainly Benfica, his accusations of fraud, cheating, anything that can be thought up really.
West Ham should have known they were dealing with one of football’s most difficult men, and massaged his ego whilst laughing in the background. The Hammers could have built a deal which Bruno was able to present as a win, with bonuses making an impressive headline figure.
Of course, those bonuses wouldn’t have been related to Champions League qualification. Bruno may be bolshie, but he’s not a complete idiot.
Instead, West Ham went in, at least according to their leaked emails, thinking they could bully and threaten Sporting. They couldn’t have handled it worse.
‘Dildo Brothers’ snipes, threats of court action, dragging FIFA in, mutually mockery, it could all have been avoided.
Yep, Bruno is right. West Ham United, given their apparent lack of planning, knocked on the wrong door.