Thursday, October 15, 2015


Portuguese paper Record's report
Eliaquim Mangala's transfer from FC Porto to Manchester City in the summer of 2014 was a thing of strange and unnatural beauty, taking most of the close season to unravel, dress up properly and bring to a proper conclusion.

The powerful French central defender had been touted as a City target for several weeks, before news finally filtered through that the transfer was officially on. However, it took the rest of the holiday period to untangle the clogged web of investors and funds, who all purported to represent chunks of the player.

The main negotiation for the player had taken place directly between the two clubs, an old fashioned way of doing business sometimes forgotten in football's rush to be spectacularly complicated.

This was backed up by the statement given by a spokesperson for Doyen Sports, the investment fund in the middle of the current search for clarity, who said: "There was no intervention whatsoever on the part of Doyen during the negotiation. The deal in its entirety was worked through between the two clubs."

At the time Porto announced that an agreement had been reached with City and a transfer fee of €30.5 million would be paid for his move to the Premier League. It represented a rapid rise for Mangala, a defender who had only been at Porto three seasons, after arriving as the lesser known part of a double transfer from Standard Liege with the coveted midfielder Steven Defour.

At first his appearances were restricted owing to the heavyweights Rolando, Maicon and future City team mate Nicolas Otamendi ahead of him in the pecking order. Becoming a regular only in his second season, he was part of the Porto side that won a third successive title, with Mangala even scoring a vital goal against Benfica along the way. In his third and final season at Porto, he grew into a regular feature at the heart of the Dragons' defence.

Having been brought up in Belgium, Mangala could have joined current City team mates Vincent Kompany and Kevin de Bruyne playing for the Rode Duivels, but did not possess a passport at the time and his chance passed by. This was perhaps the first administrative glitch in a career that has proved to be a touch light on the relevant paperwork at the right moment.

Paperwork, or the lack of it, is now the problem affecting his situation at City. FIFA have announced an interest in looking at the details of the transfer.

Porto's valuation of €30.5 million for the sale to City was supposedly to cover the 56.67% of Mangala that the Portuguese club then owned. At this point it had become clear that there were several other elements in the picture, among them Doyen Sports and another investment fund Robi Plus. This kind of arrangement is relatively common in Portuguese football, as it is one of the only ways the clubs can afford to bring in decent talent, especially from South America, where Benfica and Porto in particular have built a reputation for unearthing jewels.

At the time of the transfer, the English press widely reported a fee of €57 million for the player, with City having bought out all parties, as FIFA regulations prohibit third party participation in transfers. City's rivals Manchester United had experienced the complications of such a set-up when attempting to lever Carlos Tevez from West Ham. The Argentinean and compatriot Javier Mascherano had landed in East London via a dubious cycle of interested parties and co-owners.

This morning's Record newspaper in Portugal insists that, according to its sources, all events during the transfer followed "normal parametres". City themselves are clear that no payments were made to any other entity than FC Porto themselves. Despite this, that well renowned house of good governance FIFA, has said that it is looking into the documentation of the deal. A formal investigation would only be necessary, however, if FIFA deemed there to be sufficient doubt from their initial consultations. According to both clubs and Doyen, this will not be the case.

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