Two transfer signings involving Spanish clubs have also involved Argentines today, with one rather more polemic than the other. Jonás Gutiérrez, having impressed at Real Mallorca and broken into the selección, has followed compatriots Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano and Julio Arca (among others) to England, where he signs for Newcastle United. Recreativo Huelva, meanwhile, are infuriating Boca Juniors president Pedro Pompilio by claiming to have signed a player under contract to the Xeneize until 2012.
Gutiérrez, whose arrival at St. James’s Park is illustrated on Newcastle’s official site, bizarrely, by a picture of Kevin Keegan celebrating one of his side’s goals, has moved from Mallorca for an undisclosed fee. For a promising player to move to one of Keegan’s sides may not seem an immediately obvious move to make, but perhaps recent rumours of former Chelsea and Leeds chairman Ken Bates’s interest in the Spanish island club have encouraged him to leave. Gutiérrez, 25 this weekend, was part of the young Vélez Sársfield side which won the Primera A title in the 2005 Clausura, before moving to Mallorca where he’s scored five times in 94 matches.
Recreativo de Huelva, Spain’s oldest football club, who avoided relegation from the Spanish first division on the last day of last season, have signed Boca Juniors youngster Sebastián Nayar amid a lot of angry posturing from Boca. Nayar was regarded at the Casa Amarilla (‘yellow house’), Boca’s training complex, as a promising prospect for the future if, at the age of 20, there was no expectations of him reaching the level of the greats. With just one first team match under his belt for Boca, Nayar travelled to Spain on Tuesday on a one-way ticket, and has signed a four-year contract with Recre which will see him paid around €400,000 per annum.
Nayar’s declarations on TyCSports’ Estudio Fútbol on Wednesday were scathing towards Boca: ‘I’ve left because I didn’t feel valued… I turned down other offers… and when my agent went to negotiate my new contract, they offered me AR$3,000 per month [about US$1,000]. And I’m fed up of it.’
That last point is where the controversy lies. Nayar’s Boca contract ran out on the 30th June, leaving him free to talk to other clubs. On the same day, however, Boca presented to the AFA what they claimed was a newly-signed contract extension tying Nayar to the club until 2012, on a monthly wage of AR$6,000. Nayar and his agent claim the document is in fact a pre-contract, not binding either according to FIFA regulations or to legal regulations*, and that the player was indeed free to move. Boca, though, will appeal in an attempt to get compensation. Watch this space, because this one could run and run…
* Not that I’d ever try to suggest the two were other than totally compatible, of course.