Castro stays, Ratinho and Cavenaghi go – Transfer Round-Up
Serra Ferrer said at a news conference that he had never seen anything like it in 35 years as a professional. The deal which everyone thought was done and dusted, collapsed. Anthony Ujah is not a Real Mallorca player.
It was a very strange day indeed – and a very busy one too. And, all in all, not very positive whatsoever. The good news is that we managed to keep hold of Iván Ramis despite the interest of Everton – losing Ramis would’ve been catastrophic. We also kept Gonzalo Castro, quite amazingly. Although that perhaps did more harm than good as we missed out on Leandro Damião due to the non-EU place Chori Castro was taking up. Enrique Corrales’ complete refusal to take even a Euro less than his current contract stipulates is the reason his move to Real Valladolid fell through at the last second. And Fernando Cavenaghi’s traumatic time on the island has come to a quick end.
The first move of the day was the deal for Anthony Ujah. At around 3:56pm, it was revealed Gonzalo Castro had rejected a move to an unnamed Russian side and would therefore be remaining in Palma for the rest of the season atleast. This meant a no non-EU places were available, so the move for Ujah was perfect as the Nigerian would not take up a non-EU place due to the Cotonou Agreement. Soon after, a deal had been agreed in principal with Lillestrøm and the player and just required the approval of the administrators. Deal done for £1m.
At 5:30pm came a dramatic piece of news. The club confirmed that right-back Ratinho had been unregistered from the first team so new signing Akihiro Ienaga could take his non-EU place all but ending the Brazilian’s stay on the island and severely weakening the defensive line. An outrageous decision considering we have numerous players who can play in Aki’s role on the left wing but only Ratinho and Cendrós who can play at right back. It is thought that Ratinho will move to Sao Paulo of Brazil on loan where the transfer market is still currently open.
But neither Castro staying or Ratinho going was to be the big news of the day.
The administrators had approved both the £1m fee with Lillestrøm and Ujah’s contract, but with minutes of the transfer window left to spare and all parties happy, Lillestrøm demanded more money for Ujah. With literally no time to arrange deals for the available Iván Alonso, Henok Goitom or Edu - Mallorca were forced to withdraw with no players whatsoever.
The Norwegians have been keen to get across their point of view, with Lillestrøm saying that Ujah decided the move was not right for him at this time. And Ujah’s agent, Atta Aneke, has denied Spanish claims that Lillestrøm attempted to blackmail Mallorca by saying ‘LSK’s behaviour has been exemplary. In the end, it was Anthony’s own choice that he wanted to continue with LSK, and that Real Mallorca was unlikely to be the right choice for him at the moment.’
He went on to say, ‘even if he would have made more money in Spain, he got the feeling that the club had economical problems. He is enjoying his life in LSK and decided that a new season in Norway would be the right choice.’ He also said he understood Lillestrøm’s economic doubts about the transfer stating ‘when you don’t have a bank guarantee, it’s a reason to doubt’.
But this won’t sit well with the Spanish side who will wonder why more money so close to the end of the window would get rid of ones doubts. And Spanish journalist Tomeu Maura doesn’t agree with the Norwegian tale of events.
Maura said, ‘when Ujah traveled to Spain, the only question that remained was whether Mallorca’s insolvency administrators would give the nod to the transfer. When they did, at 4pm, no one doubted that the transfer would be a fact. However, the parties started the drawbacks. At first they were just [minor] details. Then they changed the terms of the payment. In the end, everyone wanted more money. The administrators present at the negotiations could not believe what they heard.’
‘Sole responsibility lies with Laudrup’
Maura was heavily critical of Danish coach Michael Laudrup. He stated that the squad is ‘much weaker now than it was a week ago and it will face a much tougher second round against teams which have been strengthened’. His dim outlook suggests that the club should be focusing on securing 15 points to avoid relegation and nothing more.
‘Sole responsibility lies with Michael Laudrup. After all, everything that has happened in this winter market has come from his decisions. The absurd marginalisation of Ratinho and Cavenaghi. Both players should have held undisputed first team roles, especially in home games.’
And Maura had a point. We wouldn’t have needed to even go for Ujah if he hadn’t even ridiculously favoured Sergi Enrich over Fernando Cavenaghi.
Laudrup, himself, refused to criticise Lillestrøm outright but did leave cryptic messages in his press conference. He stated that ‘it’s like going on holiday and coming back on the day you need to go to work to find your car damaged. Then you cannot go to work. If you arrive two days before you need to go to work, you have time to fix it.’
He also went on to say, ‘if I knew what was going to happen, I may not have authorised the departure of Cavenaghi. Although I’m not sure exactly what mood he would’ve come back in if we had said he couldn’t go to Brazil.’
Out: Fernando Cavenaghi (to Internacional), Ratinho (pending)
Staying: Akihiro Ienaga, Gonzalo Castro, Enrique Corrales, Iván Ramis