It sounds like Tottenham Hotspur organizing a charity friendly for Shakhtar Donestk isn’t enough to resolve the remaining issues surrounding Manor Solomon. The Athletic (£) has an article out today with direct quotes from Shakhtar CEO Sergei Palkin that suggest that Tottenham’s free-agent signing of Solomon, which could go through as soon as tomorrow, is not water under the bridge.
In fact, Palkin is very upset about how FIFA allowed Solomon, as well as other foreign nationals playing in the Ukrainian league, to essentially void their contracts and sign with other clubs for free.
“Tottenham is an established, respected club with a big history and a huge number of fans around the globe. We are sure Tottenham executives understand that Shakhtar invested significant money in the Solomon transfer, investment that Ukrainian club’s in our difficult position, simply cannot afford to lose.
“We hope we will have a meeting with Tottenham representatives on the eve of our friendly match and in good faith we will find a solution to the Manor Solomon issue. The solution should satisfy both sides.”
In Solomon’s case, the FIFA decision allowed him to leave on loan with Fulham last season, and a further decision suspended his contract fully, allowing him to to sign with Spurs as a free agent. However, if the war in Ukraine had not happened, his contract with Shakhtar would expire on December 31, 2023, making this a bit of a tricky thing to navigate.
In a surprise addition, Spurs announced last week that they would play a preseason friendly against Shakhtar, with a donation and all ticket proceeds benefitting Shakhtar’s club charity. It didn’t take much reaching to surmise that this friendly was scheduled in part as a good-faith gesture towards the Ukrainian club and to mollify any hurt feelings over Spurs signing Solomon.
Palkin is on record a few weeks ago as threatening to sue Tottenham over Solomon’s free agent signing; the rhetoric he uses above is much less bombastic, but still makes it clear that he doesn’t consider the situation resolved. There are no indications that Tottenham is ready or willing to enter into talks with Palkin; they are, in point of fact, following edicts put forth by the governing body of world football and surely do not believe the club is doing anything wrong.
But that doesn’t mean that they won’t end up agreeing to further compensation to Shakhtar anyway. I’m curious now what the “opportunity cost” of signing a young player like Solomon is based on Palkin’s most recent comments. One of the rationales for signing Manor, according to supporters of this deal, is that he is free. But if Palkin is able to extract any additional concessions from Spurs, apart from what it costs to host a charity friendly, you have to wonder how much of bargain it really is.