Third party ownership - Dier & Musacchio

With third party partnership rearing it's ugly head again after it was banned in the Premier League following West Ham United using it to avoid relegation even though the rules prevented it.

Third party ownership - Dier & Musacchio


The club who went down instead, Sheffield United, have never recovered so the pittance (£5.5m - €6.92m) West Ham were fined in 2007 over Tevez and Mascherano, when they should have been relegated themselves, has shown itself to be a totally unjust penalty.

Europe operates differently. If a Spanish league club for instance can't get a bank loan, which now they have to actually pay them back is somewhat more difficult, or raise money for purchases they buy a percentage of players instead.

In South America particularly companies buy a percentage of a player as an investment when they are young so if that player increases in value they make a significant return on their investment. A player is just a commodity, something to trade.

Villarreal have therefore only paid for a 35% stake of the player, yet now they want 76% of his transfer fee and expect us to pay way over the top so they can get that figure. It simply isn't going to happen. You see South American players all over Europe but when they come to the Premier League the club has to own them 100%. Any third parties have to be bought out.

That was the issue with João Moutinho, we had agreed a fee with Porto but the third party then changed their mind and in the end they didn't sign the papers so the deal didn't go through. We tried several times to buy Leandro Damião but third party ownership made a deal fraught with difficulty.

I'm all for buying South American players, especially strikers when they are young and they don't end up with these inflated fees. Maybe Tottenham need an investment company to operate a percentage ownership business overseas, specifically with South American players.

Quality Football Ireland Ltd (QFI) is an investment fund run by Hollywood talent firm Creative Artists Agency Inc (CAA). They buy percentages of footballers just like South American firms and profit when a player increases in value and is sold.

They owned a percentage of Eric Dier when he was at Sporting, formerly known as Sporting Lisbon. Sporting sold a 50% stake to them in 2010. Two years later in 2012 they bought that 50% back and sold 50% of Filipe Chaby instead.

They had hoped to make a killing with Dier by inserting a £35.78 million (€45m) release clause into a new contract but Dier simply refused to sign it for 2 years and left for the £3.98 million (€5m) clause in his existing contract. Sporting are furious and it explains why they were so angry when he left, why the chairman saw him at the training ground and didn't wish him well for the future. He was simply an investment that they hoped to make a substantial amount for their business from.

We however knew his contract situation and simply waited until the time was right for us to buy. Doubt we'll be buying any players from Sporting in the near future!

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Mateo Musacchio has a £39.75 million (€50m) release clause in his contract. You can see what their intention is but the player simply hasn't reached that value and nobody else is interested in him. These clubs don't just buy one player this way, in the 2010/11 season Sporting had 7 first-team regulars part owned by third parties, nearly three quarters of a side they had only partly paid for.

If the real owners are hidden behind investment companies how do you know who actually owns the player and with match fixing a problem how do you know players are not being influenced as a result of who owns them to ensure the right result is reached for a gambling syndicate?

His former club River Plate own 35%, his agent owns 30% and Villarreal own 35% so it is a fairly straight forward arrangement in this case. All parties want a resolution so I've no doubt there will be one and it won't involve Daniel Levy paying over the top for the player.

It's a game of chicken really, but when you have to sell you are not in a strong position, which is why we don't buy before we sell, but try to arrange the two to coincide.

The Mateo Musacchio signing could well go all the way to deadline day so don't hold your breath.




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