It's the oldest sports story in the book. You work out an agreement for a good young player at a reasonable price, and then the other club's criminal bigot of an owner throws a temper tantrum from his jail cell and the deal is off. Romanian news outlets reported yesterday that Vlad Chiriches would instead stay with Steaua Bucuresti through at least the first half of the season. Gigi Becali, likewise, will remain both in jail and a hate-filled jerk.
Now this morning the Metro is running with a story that Chiriches to Tottenham is back on:
The deal appeared to have collapsed last night when jailed Steaua owner Gigi Becali wanted to cancel the move because the White Hart Lane club were trying to rush it through.
But Chiriches’ agent Ioan Becali claims Tottenham have now succeeded with their bid and it is just down to a medical being passed and personal terms being agreed.
He said: ‘[Roma] have not raised their offer of £5.7m. Tottenham, however, are now up to £7m and have taken the player. It is at 99 per cent certain – it only lacks the signature of the boy, who will arrive soon.’
Great news, right? Not so fast. The quotes from Chiriches' agent are not new. They come from an interview published yesterday in the Italian paper Il Sussidiario. The Il Sussidiario interview makes no mention of Gigi Becali or the hydrophobic felon's squashing of the deal. It clearly dates from the initial period when the transfer seemed on. The quotes are not news.
Now, is it possible that the Metro has gotten a scoop and Chiriches to Spurs is back on? Certainly it could happen. The folks running Steaua were clearly all kinds of angry with their boss yesterday—one would guess that is a common occurrence for Steaua employees—and maybe they found a way to work through the incarcerated racist's childish outburst.
But if that were the case, why would it be a day-old quote? And so far, there don't appear to be any reports from Romanian sources of a rejuvenation of the transfer. It seems most likely that the Metro screwed this one up and there is actually no news of any sort of relay.
Romanian news sources have a ton of information about Chirches today, none confirming the Metro's story, but all of it adding detail to the narrative. Steaua's coach is worried that the failed transfer will affect Chiriches' mindset. Manager Victor Piturca also reveals that Chiriches would have been in line to make €100,000 a month (€25k per week) at Tottenham. Romanian legend Gheorge Hagi criticized Becali's decision not to let Chiriches leave by saying:
"Nu poţi să îngheţi un asemenea transfer, pentru că fotbalistul are şansa lui şi trebuie să ţii cont de jucător. Un transfer la asemenea nivel, la o asemenea sumă, era o reclamă extrem de importantă pentru tot fotbalul românesc. La suma asta, puteai să găseşti un alt jucător de valoare care să-l înlocuiască pe Chiricheş."
Basically, Hagi is expressing that the club cannot freeze a transfer like that. The move of Chiriches to Tottenham Hotspur would have been a great advertisement for Romanian football and a great profit for Steaua. At the rumored price Hagi believes Steaua easily could have secured a replacement.