You know how sometimes on deadline day we post something thinking it’s true and then it turns out to be not quite as true as we thought? Well, that seems to be happening with the transfer rumor connecting Paulo Dybala with Tottenham.
Earlier, we wrote that, based on reports out of Italy, Dybala had rejected Tottenham’s interest due to demanding wages that were beyond what Spurs were willing to pay. That doesn’t seem to be the case. According to the Independent, Spurs have agreed both personal terms with Dybala and a transfer fee with Juventus, but the sticking point are the rights to his image, which are owned by a third party company and which could scupper the whole deal.
First some background — most players own their own image rights. However, that’s not always the case, especially with young players in South America. Ten years ago, Dybala apparently sold the rights to his image to a Maltese company when he was a teenager, and it appears it could be a major issue.
Here’s Carty Free founder Kim McCauley, who explains it on Twitter better than I can.
Most players own their own image rights (their cut for their likeness being used in advertising, video games, etc) but some sell them to a third party, usually when they’re young and don’t know if they’re going to become millionaires.— Kim McCauley (@lgbtqfc) August 7, 2019
His new club doesn’t have to own them, they have to make a deal for how much money the rights owner is paid per promotional use. Would be a massive pain in the dick to edit him out of every pic or video they ever use.— Kim McCauley (@lgbtqfc) August 7, 2019
The issue is apparently super complicated and I’m not sure there any easy answers here. Maybe there’s a way to streamline the rights issue before tomorrow, and maybe not — previous reporting had suggested that the Maltese company that owns Dybala’s rights were willing to deal. But it does add an additional cost what is already a super expensive transfer. The Independent reports it would be “less than £40m” but that’s still a LOT, whatever that number turns out to be.
Don’t hate on Dybala too much — he was young, and was probably taken advantage of when he was a young player. He probably didn’t know any better and used this as a hedge in case he didn’t make it in football. But it’s unfortunate that this could be what ultimately prevents Dybala from becoming a Tottenham Hotspur player.
Or it might not matter! We’ll have to wait and see.
UPDATE (6:30PM ET): Well this is interesting. Luis Restrepo, who is a correspondent in the UK on DirecTV and apparently has some sources (grain of salt) is saying Spurs are going to get the deal done with the company that holds Dybala’s rights:
Paulo Dybala está muy cerca de llegar al Tottenham. Se espera que para mañana se desenrede el último obstáculo para su fichaje: los derechos de imagen. Poch cerca de contar con el delantero argentino que rechazó al United.— Luis Fdo Restrepo (@luisferpo) August 7, 2019
UPDATE #2 (6:55PM ET): We’re starting to get additional reports out of South America (or England-based South American media) that’s saying that the Dybala deal may be going through after all. Hold onto your butts!