French Ligue 2 side Lens are furious over the transfer of 18-year-old midfielder Ange-Freddy Plumain, and could potentially take Fulham to court over the move.
Fulham confirmed the free transfer of Plumain on Thursday, but Lens claim in a statement on their official website that the Paris-born midfielder was still under contract and therefore could not be sold on a free.
According to Lens, Plumain was under contract, and had been absent from the club since July 8, therefore in violation of the contract. They also said he had not received permission to speak with any other clubs.
The official statement from the club reads:
English club Fulham recently reported the signing of Ange-Freddy Plumain. Racing Club de Lens is surprised to hear the information to the extent that the player still under contract, and had no authorization on a possible engagement. The player has been absent from his place of work since July 8, without a valid reason. A procedure has been initiated against the various parties concerned.
This situation bears eerily similar basic pretenses as the spat Lens had with Chelsea in 2007 over the transfer of striker Gael Kakuta.
Kakuta, then with Lens in Ligue 1, signed with Chelsea against his former club’s wishes, who then complained to FIFA. The world governing body imposed an immediate and shocking 2-year transfer embargo on Chelsea. Kakuta was suspended from play for four months, as FIFA declared both player and club were “jointly and severely liable.”
Chelsea appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who then ruled Kakuta’s contract with Lens was not valid and therefore could not be breached, lifting the embargo in the process. Chelsea also came to an agreement with the French side, compensating Lens about £100,000 for the player.
It would be hard to imagine, having already gone through the process once, that Lens would be putting a wrong foot here.
This could be a devastating situation for Fulham if a transfer embargo were to be placed on the club, and would serve as a serious blow to new owner Shahid Khan. Many fans are expecting Khan to inject new money into the club to be used in the transfer market this summer.