Tottenham Hotspur were keen on adding FC Twente striker Luc Castaignos to their club during the January transfer window. And for a moment, it looked like they might — or so they thought. With suspicions arising from the unusual negotiation over the player, the Spurs called the Eredivisie club to iron out some wrinkles. It was then revealed that the player was never for sale and that a rogue squad had approached the Spurs with a Croatian negotiator making the 21-year-old Netherlands striker available in transfer.
The Dutch club claim chairman Joop Munsterman’s signature had been forged on a falsified document to approve the transfer of the player. “It is correct that the signature of the club chairman was forged and the matter is now in the hands of the Dutch federation and FIFA,” said a representative of Twente to the Daily Telegraph. The Spurs had recently signed former Twente player Nacer Chadli and are in reportedly good relations with the Eredivisie club. So a subsequent move for Castaignos seemed plausible, in Tottenham’s defense.
Gert-Jan Nijweide, Twente’s finance and control manager said, “We were recently informed about this scam via an English club and subsequently contacted the FBO. The people who have been using this falsified document have been sent a letter ordering them to stop immediately.” According to Serge Rossmeisl, head of the Dutch football employers’ organization (FBO), the group “has written a letter to these guys letting them know that they are using a forged document and demanding that they cease to do so immediately.” Rossmeisl remarked, as well, that “[i]t’s a very unusual case. I’ve worked here for 12 years without coming across anything like this.”
Unusual indeed and not likely to happen again. But it’s one of just several obstacles that have occurred during January’s transfer window. There was the Arsène Wenger/José Mourinho confrontation over the questionable transfer of Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata to Manchester United. The feud between the two Premier League managers went several rounds with Wenger kicking it off by questioning Mourinho’s motive for the move. And presently at the center of the transfer news is the mishandling of Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona over the summer and the eventual resignation last week of Barcelona president Sandro Rosell over the move. According to reports, Rosell had misrepresented the costs (reportedly by using false documents for Neymar’s contract) involved with bringing in the supremely talented 21-year-old Brazilian and is now facing a lawsuit filed by club member Jordi Cases.
While none of these situations are likely to present any real long-term problems for these clubs, they certainly have derailed or distracted each of them at a time when competitions are entering their final and most important stretches. Arsenal may face a decreased chance of winning the Premier League thanks to a new and improved Manchester United club; Tottenham may or may not have spent several important transfer day’s focused on signing a player that was never possible to obtain; and Barcelona are in the midst of replacing Rosell — an issue that may not figure itself out until the summer.
Transfer windows are always expected to bring a certain amount of buzz with them. But incidents like this and the attendant media hum are exceptions to the old rule that there’s no such thing as bad press.