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An American “moneyball” executive is holding up this player’s dream move to Tottenham

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Vincent Janssen continues to blast AZ Alkmaar as reports emerge that MLB exec Billy Beane recommended the club reject Spurs’ last bid.

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What’s holding up the transfer of AZ Alkmaar striker Vincent Janssen to Tottenham Hotspur? According to the Telegraph, it’s “moneyball.” Matt Law writes that, strangely enough, the transfer agreement is being held up by none other than Billy Beane, American Major League Baseball executive and developer of the so-called “moneyball” theory of team development.

Beane, whom AZ hired as a consultant, advised Huiberts to reject Spurs’ last offer, saying that Janssen is worth £16.5m (~€20m).

The Telegraph also notes, ironically, that Beane is “an avid Tottenham Hotspur supporter” who is friends with Damien Comolli.

Meanwhile, one day after blasting his current club for impeding a move to Spurs, Janssen has doubled down in his remarks to the media. In quotes reported in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. Janssen continued to vent his frustration with AZ and its chairman, Max Huiberts over AZ blocking a move to the Premier League.

"Ik wil niets liever dan door de voordeur naar buiten, met iedereen handenschuddend, want ik heb hier een fantastisch jaar gehad en me onder John van den Brom uitstekend kunnen ontwikkelen. Het mooiste is als Tottenham, AZ én Vincent Janssen tevreden zijn. Dat zou in mijn ogen nu al zo zijn, maar AZ blokkeert mijn droomtransfer en dat stelt me ongelooflijk teleur.”

"Maar dat was onbespreekbaar. Kennelijk heeft AZ een veel hoger bedrag in gedachte. AZ weigert zelfs de prijs te noemen, waarvoor ik weg mag. Dat vind ik frustrerend, want het gaat ook om mij.”

"Ik heb Max vele keren gevraagd waarom hij niet het gewenste transferbedrag noemt. Die reden leek hij zelf ook niet te weten. Hij zei alleen dat hij me meer waard vindt dan tot nu toe is geboden”

"Maar vergeet niet dat mijn medespelers en ik samen resultaten hebben geboekt, waarvan AZ óók financieel de vruchten heeft geplukt. Het bedrag weigeren dat Spurs nu heeft geboden, is daarom belachelijk.. Zij kennen de markt uitstekend.”

I don’t speak Dutch, but between my grad school reading experience and Google Translate, here’s a (very) rough translation of Janssen’s quotes:

"I want nothing more than to leave through the front door, with everyone shaking hands, because I have had a fantastic year and have developed well under John van den Brom. It is best if Tottenham, AZ and Vincent Janssen are all satisfied. That’s already true in my eyes, but AZ is blocking my dream transfer and that’s incredibly disappointing to me.

"Apparently AZ has a much higher amount in mind [than what Tottenham offered]. AZ refuses even to mention the sale price. I find that frustrating."

"I've asked Max [Huiberts] many times why he did not mention the required transfer fee. That’s because he doesn’t know himself. He only said that I’m worth more to him than the fee that has been offered."

"But remember that my teammates and I have achieved great results together, and AZ financially reaped the benefits. To refuse the amount that Spurs offered is ridiculous... [Spurs and Wolfsburg] know the market well."

If we thought yesterday’s comments were pointed, these blow the doors open. It’s pretty uncommon to see a player come out and air grievances over a transfer directly to the media in the way that Janssen has, and assuredly he’s doing this on the advice of his agent and because Janssen feels as though he has no other recourse than to take his frustration public.

“Moneyball” has been an effective strategy for professional sports executives on the American side of the Atlantic for years now, and it’s not surprising that professional football clubs in Europe are wanting to tap into some of this knowledge. While it’s unclear by what metric Beane values Janssen, Huiberts clearly values his opinion.

On one hand, football clubs shouldn’t necessarily roll over financially just because a player wants to switch clubs, but on the other it’s becoming apparent that if AZ and Tottenham don’t come to an agreement soon, AZ will have a very disgruntled star player on their hands. Just ask Jeremy Peace, Tony Pulis, and Saido Berahino how well that worked out.

Janssen goes on to say that he was hoping for a deal to be done by the start of preseason because he wants as much time with his new club as possible in order to be ready for the start of the new season. Premier League clubs start their preseason work today.

"AZ wilde me er vorig jaar vanaf dag één van de voorbereiding bij hebben, omdat dit belangrijk is voor een speler die een stap omhoog zet. Dat heeft me ook heel erg geholpen en dat wil ik bij Tottenham ook. De directie weet dat dit fijn voor mij is. Maar kennelijk is Vincent Janssen nu even niet belangrijk. Ik reken erop dat AZ in elk geval met Spurs in gesprek gaat. Mocht AZ dat ondanks de geboden bedragen niet doen en de Spurs afhaken, dan is dat een dreun voor me. Ik ben niet iemand die snel oorlog maakt, maar hoe ik dan reageer, weet ik niet. Daarom ga ik er van uit dat AZ snel inziet dat een transfer voor iedereen het beste is.”

“AZ wanted me there from day one to start preparing for the season, because it’s important for a player in order to improve. This helped me a lot and I want to do the same at Tottenham. The management knows that this fine is for me. But clearly Vincent Janssen isn’t important. I trust that AZ will talk with Spurs. If AZ refuses Spurs’ offer and they drop out, then that is a blow to me. I'm not one to fight, but I don’t know how I’ll react. I hope AZ realizes that a quick transfer is best for everyone."