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Clubs negotiate down to the wire

  • Bloomberg, Tuesday, February 8, 2011 12:44 AM

Teams spent $320 million on transfers involving 2,451 foreign-based players regulated by FIFA during the January window, and 70 more deals were blocked because teams missed the deadline to register them on its new online registration system.

“They’re haggling until the last moment,” Mark Goddard, general manager of FIFA’s Transfer Matching System. “They can all watch the countdown clock now and decide at what point they want to pull themselves out of a nosedive like some Japanese kamikaze plane and get it through. If they don’t, it’s self-inflicted.”

He added that “half of the football planet was open for business,” as 115 member associations were involved in the deals. They don't include internal transfers such the megaspending that took place in the English Premier League.

The largest deal involving teams from different leagues was Chelsea's signing of Brazilian defender David Luiz from Benfica for $33.8 million in a deal concluded with two minutes to spare. “That was probably the largest one I was most concerned about,” Goddard said. “I went home and thought, ‘There’s no way that’s going to get through’ and I woke up the next morning and our Portuguese staff member said, ‘Gee, they pulled it off.’”

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