2015 Summer Transfer Window

Martial transfer fee from Manchester United trickles down to French lower tier team

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A semi-professional French team that runs on a shoestring has hit the lottery when Anthony Martial transferred to Manchester United thanks to FIFA rules about the development of youth players.

The 19-year-old moved from Monaco to Old Trafford on Deadline Day this summer, becoming the most expensive teenager in European soccer history in the process.

CO Les Ulis, a team that plays in the sixth tier of French soccer, developed Martial between the ages of six and 14, earning them a total of five years of FIFA developmental pay that amounts to 0.75% of his $55 million transfer fee, or about $410,000.

“It will cover up to four or five years of our budget,” coach Mamadou Niakate told The Associated Press. “We are always struggling to make ends meet. This money will help us secure existing jobs and renew our equipment. At the football school, we’ve been using the same footballs and training shirts over the past four years.”

Founded in 1977, this isn’t the first time Les Ulis has seen a player go on to do big things. The French club also boasts the names of Thierry Henry and Patrice Evra as alumni, but with transfer fees having absolutely exploded in recent history, this is sure to be an injection of funds unlike any they’ve seen in the past. Niakate confirmed that Evra brought them about $43,000, nowhere near what they just received.

Payments like this are vastly important to keeping lower tier clubs going, and they are essential to the development of countless players around the world when they are first beginning their careers at a young age. In fact, Martial’s older brother Dorian is currently learning under Niakate at a higher level.

“Anthony was really above the rest,” Niakate said. “On the very first day he registered with us, I could tell he had something special. But that’s still a long way from saying he would one day join United for 80 million euros.”

Dortmund’s Kevin Grosskreutz will move to Galatasaray immediately despite transfer mishap


Borussia Dortmund winger Kevin Grosskreutz has gone to Istanbul and will train with Galatasaray, despite the fact he is technically still a Dortmund player and cannot join the Turkish club until the January transfer window.

The failed transfer of David de Gea to Real Madrid due to late documents gained much publicity, but Grosskreutz had the same thing happen, as Galatasaray reportedly submitted the transfer documents to FIFA 48 seconds past the deadline. FIFA then declined a request for an exemption.

Galatasaray announced Grosskreutz’s signing in a tweet that has not been deleted, and for all intents and purposes he is a Galatasaray player, but cannot play until he officially changes teams.

The 27-year-old German had spent spent six seasons with Dortmund, making 236 appearances across all competitions, scoring 27 goals and assisting 37 more. Thanks to preseason injuries and a public falling out with new Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel, Grosskreutz was sent to train and play with Dortmund’s reserve squad.

The situation is obviously a delicate one, but Dortmund confirmed both sides still wish to complete the transfer “at the next available opportunity and under the already agreed conditions.” The details of the transfer were not disclosed by either side, but reports claim Grosskreutz was sold in a $7.4 million deal.

It’s likely that Galatasaray will keep strict rules about what Grosskreutz can do in and out of training, as an injury to the player could throw this entire situation into flux. However, at the moment, it seems a foregone conclusion.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic confirms he turned down AC Milan this summer


Iconic PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic confirmed to reporters in Paris that AC Milan made a major effort to bring the Swede back to the San Siro this summer.

The Italian club had been very public all summer about wanting Zlatan to return, but according to the player himself, he was always going to stay in France.

“It was concrete from their side,” the 33-year-old striker told the Daily Mail of AC Milan’s interest. “A lot of interest but I said from the beginning that I will stay with PSG. I like it, we have a good team, my family feel good and it’s just positive with Paris and PSG. But they wanted, they wanted much.”

“I take it as a compliment that there is still interest in me. It means I’m still performing. I take it as positive.”

According to Ibrahimovic, who has moved teams eight times in his career, the desire to bring him back to Milan five years after he left for Barcelona was high.

“It is [agent] Mino [Raiola] who takes care of the pieces,” Ibrahimovic said. “When I give notice that I want something to happen I get involved. But this summer I have been resting up, I enjoyed the holiday, but I know that Milan were a bit desperate.”

Zlatan also touched on rumors that he was in talks with Arsenal, but he strongly denied that was the case. “Any interest that existed, I have not committed myself to,” Ibrahimovic said. The Gunners did not sign an outfield player during this summer window.

Ibra’s contract has just a year left, allowing him to sign for other teams on a free transfer starting in January.

Ex-Manchester United striker Berbatov spurned Aston Villa for Greek club


34-year-old striker Dimitar Berbatov, a free agent after being released from his Monaco contract this summer, has signed for Greek club PAOK Thessaloniki.

Multiple reports across England suggested that Aston Villa was heavily pursuing the former Manchester United, Tottenham, and Fulham striker, even flying him into Birmingham on Deadline Day and sending former Villa player and Bulgarian international Stylian Petrov to pick him up, but the two parties never came close to agreeing to personal terms.

Instead, Berbatov chose a club that has finished top three in the Greek top flight four times in the past six seasons, but has not won a league title since 1985. PAOK did not release details of the contract, but according to Transfermarkt, Berbatov signed a one-year contract.

Berbatov has proven to be productive despite his age, scoring seven times in 26 Ligue 1 appearances last season with Monaco, although he faded down the stretch, scoring just twice after Christmas in 14 appearances, managing just three full 90 minutes over that span.

PAOK will unveil Berbatov to Toumba Stadium on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa had a very quiet Deadline Day, signing just a pair of central defenders in Jolean Lescott and Liverpool loanee Tiago Ilori. The club did most of its business prior to the final day of the window, nabbing French forward Jordan Ayew and Barcelona winger Adama Traore among others.

No Arsenal big Deadline buy? Wenger says price for Martial “sums it up all the way”

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“What happened last night with Martial with Monaco… Martial has scored 11 goals in the French Championship. That sums it up all the way.”

So begins Arsene Wenger’s explanation of why Arsenal didn’t buy a striker, or any first team outfield player, in this summer’s transfer window. The Arsenal boss says there wasn’t a player available that could strengthen his squad.

In fact, the Gunners are the only team in the top flight of any of Europe’s top five leagues that failed to make an aforementioned purchase, and Wenger is on the defensive after the Arsenal Supporters Trust questioned his logic.

[ PL Playback: It’s time to change the rules of the transfer window ]

On the defensive doesn’t mean he isn’t calm. In an interview with Bein Sports, Wenger coolly explains that his quality of player wasn’t available for any sort of reasonable price (citing Manchester United’s big-money buy of Anthony Martial as his prime example).

Was there not a player that could strengthen his squad, or would he not meet the price? Would Kevin De Bruyne have upgraded his wings? Was

source: Getty Images
Wenger didn’t see an upgrade for Olivier Giroud, or any of his players, on the market (Getty Images)

Christian Benteke not an upgrade over Olivier Giroud? Nicolas Otamendi not a younger, better version of either of his main center backs (or at least critical depth for Europe)?

In any event, Wenger also makes some salient points about FIFA’s relaxing of the Financial Fair Play rules, guideline changes that aided previous abusers Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain in their quest to add players this season.

“The Financial Fair Play today is too complicated to be efficient,” Wenger said. “There’s a need to simplify the process.”

He’s right, of course. But being the sane voice is a universally-insane transfer world makes you the outlier. And if Arsenal wants to compete for European glory, having more money in the bank isn’t going to be something supporters tattoo on their arms.