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Transfer stories: when everything does not go as smooth as expected

Angelo PalmeriComment

Cover picture is the work of Old School Panini: 


The typical stereotype of the transfer window is happy faces of players at the club's presentation. A warm handshake in front of the club logo. Few words in a presser and the ritual picture with the club jersey while the player gives a 32-teeth smile out to the cameras.

However, not everything goes as smooth as usual. Sometimes setbacks, mishaps and misunderstanding get in the way and prevent the club X to sign the player A.

It didn't happen (www.oldschoolpanini.com)

It didn't happen (www.oldschoolpanini.com)

Sandro Mazzola, former Italian international and Internazionale star player of the 60's-70', adores to remind the incredible anedocte concerning UEFA president Michel Platini. Scouted by Mazzola himself, Platini signed a contract prepared by Mazzola himself for 6 years. You would obviously read at this perplexed considering 'Le Roi' never wore the Inter jersey let alone played with the 'Nerazzurri', becoming instead an inconic star of the arch-rivals Juventus. The story was explained by Mazzola himself few years ago: 'when I signed him, we agreed he was going to play abroad until the customs for foreign footballers would have been re-opened' reminded Mazzola of a time when the frontiers were closed by the Italian FA to protect the local talent 'the cost was 80 million liras - about 40 million euros of today - which was Nancy's contact and the expenses.' Why 'Le Roi' never landed in Milano? 'We carried on this way for 6 months' explained 'Sandrino' to la Settimana Sportiva some years ago 'however, after that, Inter's president told me it was enough to pay and I should have got the money back.' Platini is still mocking the old maestro as it seems he's still asking for the remaining 50 million euros left to pay.

However, it is not the only anedocte around the present-day UEFA chairman.
Later on, Inter tried to make up to its mistake and snatch Michel from St.Etienne (his second club in France after Nancy). An Inter member of board, Giancarlo Beltrami, was sent to France to close the deal with the white-greens. However, a lost in translation, prevented Platini to wear Inter's jersey once and again. Beltrami met Platini before a game and fixed him to meet after: 'nous nous voyons...apres la gare.' What was wrong with this sentence? The intention was to say: we will meet after the game, however the word 'gare' does not mean 'game' in French but station, precisely railway station. In a broken French, Beltrami translated 'gara' (Italian for game, match) into 'gare'. Platini went to the railway station, but he never met Beltrami. Few weeks later, he signed for Juventus, winning everything he could win inside and outside the boot country.

Modern-day transfer stories are probably less romantic. Agents and clubs officials move fastily via plane, they speak at least two languages and with the help of internet can always control the situations and be in touch with each other with little room for misunderstanding.

How do you say, f-word in Serbian? (www.fkvoijvodina.rs)

How do you say, f-word in Serbian? (www.fkvoijvodina.rs)

However, some mishaps still happen.
It's the case of Srdjan Babic, promising Serbian defender of Vojvodina. The name will not tell you much, however he's been up in the news in the past days for similar case of misunderstanding if not complete neglect from the club (US Sampdoria).

The Serbian player had the eyes of Partizan and Red Star Belgrade before being signed by the 'Blucerchiati'. With Serbian Sinisa Mihajlovic as a coach, the young player was pushed to choose Italy rather than one club of the Serbian capital. 

The completion of the signing was delayed to the end of the window as Sampdoria was trying to hold the non-EU spot left free for another defender that would have come from Argentina (Eder Balant, River Plate - who in the end was not signed).

Other than that, everything was set: tag price (1.5 million euros) and salary (120,000€ per season).

31st of August 2014, deadline day is close.
Babic travels to Genova with his agent in order to sign the contract.
Remember the smiling faces, the pictures and the warm handshakes? Well, forget about it: no one shows up at the airport to welcome Babic. 
The player reaches the hotel. Even there, no one is waiting for him. The day after, they reach the club's headquarters where they meet Marco Ferrero, the club's new owner.

Why the agreement was not signed, it's a dispute. The club says some extra fees were asked and compelled Sampdoria to delay the transfer to the winter (January). Apparently, Babic had broken in tiers in Ferrero's office once he apprehended he was not going to wear Samp jersey any time soon. The Serbian version is different: Ferrero asked the player to reduce the salary demand.

What does Babic say? 'It was all set' he told to Goal.com 'but don't ask me why it didn't happen, all was set up... .' . Did Ferrero stumble in a lost-in-translation mishap?

D'Agostino last club before going to Serie D was defunct AC Siena

D'Agostino last club before going to Serie D was defunct AC Siena

Even more incredible is the story recounted by Gaetano D'Agostino to Panorama recently.
The Palermo-born midfielder, grown at US Palermo and later on moved to AS Roma youth, tells us that he was very close to sign for Real Madrid!
What went wrong here? 'I never told about that' revealed D'Agostino, a past also at AS Bari and 5 caps as international 'they offered me 5-year contract, 2 million euros per season. I just had to take a plane to Spain and sign, the deal was closed.' However... 'Udinese did not close the deal, they wanted two Real's promising players on top of the 20 million euros they were asking for me.' Xabi Alonso was his 'replacement'. 
D'Agostino will now ply his trade in Apulia region at Fidelis Andria, Serie D, (fifth tier of Italian football).

Apres la gare.