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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Digging deeper on the Calleri situation

Jonathan Calleri has never actually visited the club in Uruguay who hold his registration and there are fans suggesting they don't want him as they have never heard of him. Many of the same fans had never heard of Dele Alli. These are the people I refer to as designer label fans.

More about Calleri
Can Calleri see his future at Tottenham?

Calleri is playing for Sao Paulo, one of the top four clubs in South America. Any fee we have negotiated would be well above the US$12m (£8.27m - 10.72m) the investment company that owns him bought him for. This all may sound strange to UK readers but in South America, investment companies buy part or the whole of young players they think will make them money in future transfer sales. The player is an asset, an investment. The economy in South America is such that families need this money to gain a standard of living. Football is a means to support not just yourself but your family. It is a route out of poverty for many.

This happens in other sports and is quite legal in many parts of Europe, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy where these clubs will often only buy a percentage of a player with the investment company retaining ownership of the remaining part.

In the Premier League this isn't possible, no third-party ownership is allowed to prevent there being any outside influence that may conceivably affect a result. To prevent any possibility it is banned and FIFA wants to ban it worldwide. Clubs who use the system say it helps them compete against richer teams and are against changing the rules.

Usually, when buying a South American player, therefore, you have not only to deal with the club he plays for but his representatives, who are often his family and his co-owners, who are in it for the money they can get out of it.

That all makes for a rather complicated negotiating situation. With so many people to negotiate with, if just one decides he doesn't want a move to happen, he can scupper it. Think of all the South American players we have been linked with and think of Leandro Damiao, that went on for years!

Investors use clubs in Uruguay to legally circumvent FIFA regulations. Deportivo Maldonado is owned by a group of investors, including a British racehorse owner. They play in the Uruguayan second tier.

It is used as a method to avoid paying tax and has netted £7.65 million (€10m - US$11.71m). It is a practice that has been going on since the 1990's and FIFA wants to stop it by insisting clubs must have a sporting interest in a player to transfer him.

The current practice is perfectly  legal under Uruguayan Football Federation and FIFA rules. It's a loophole in the wording which they are effectively using. In 2015, FIFA fined four Argentinian clubs for transferring six players through Uruguay in this way. Clearly one has to be careful, but it is perfectly possible to use the system, clubs in Spain pick up South American players this way.

If we have bought Calleri I'll be delighted, not that I know a huge amount about him yet, but it does mean that we will have conducted our negotiations with the investment company that owns him and they will have course made a healthy profit. Given his prominence, you would expect them to have at least doubled their money. That would place his fee around then £15m to £20m (€19-26m - US$22-/29m) mark.

Calleri is said to be staying until the end of the 2016 Copa Libertadores de América, of which he is the joint top scorer with 8 goals in 10 matches including four in one game.There were some crucial goals, an away goal to get them int the group stages, two goals against River Plate and an equalizer in another away game. Fellow Argentinian Marco Ruben of Rosario Central (Argentina) is the other joint top scorer.

The Copa Libertadores takes place between 2 February and 27 July and consists of 38 teams from 11 associations.

  • Argentina 6 sides
  • Bolivia 3 sides
  • Brazil 5 sides (including Sao Paulo)
  • Chile 3 sides
  • Colombia 3 sides
  • Ecuador 3 sides
  • Mexico 3 sides
  • Paraguay 3 sides
  • Peru 3 sides
  • Uruguay 3 sides
  • Venezuela 3 sides


The first stage is a knock-out stage like the Champions league play-off games (it is the South American version of the Champions League), held over two legs. There are six games in this stage with the winners joining the 26 direct entrants into the group stages. Sao Paulo won their first stage against Universidad César Vallejo of Peru 2-1.

There are then eight groups of four teams with the top two going through to the knockout stages.Sap Paulo finished second to River Plate of Argentina in their group drawing all three of their away games 1-1 in the process. That made them one of the unseeded teams in the next phase (16 teams).

In the Round of 16, they beat  Toluca of Mexico 5-3 on aggregate. In the quarter-final, they beat fellow Brazilian side Atlético Mineiro on away goals after drawing 2-2 over both legs.

Sau Paulo has to play Atlético Nacional of Columbia in the semi-final while Boca Juniors from Argentina (his old club) will play either  Independiente del Valle of Ecuador or UNAM of Mexico. That deciding game took place on 24 May.

The semi-finals take place on 6 July and 13 July, then the two-legged final is held on 20 July and 27 July.

All that means that Calleri will be with Sao Paulo until at least 13 July. His contract with Sao Paulo automatically renews if they win the semi-finals unless his investment company owners have sold him elsewhere, namely to Tottenham Hotspur in the case. The Brazilian press seems to be as in the dark as we are, everything is all on what his father has said.

These third party issued are what prevented a move to Inter Milan and Chelsea were reportedly chasing him for the winter transfer window in November last year. West Ham are mentioned but are in the position we were in and will struggle to attract the vast majority of players they are being linked with, especially without guaranteed UEFA Europa League football. Players like to wait to see if they get through the qualifying round before they consider signing as we well know.

We may well have to wait until the end of July before whether we know this has legs unless we can read something into our other transfer activity.



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