Now the tune is different; How times change!!!
Following the final game of the Olympics football tournament where Porto`s Hulk featured prominently scoring the Selecao`s only goal, some interesting comments credited to the 3 main actors in the ongoing soap opera starring the resident superhero of Porto were of particular interest to me. The actors of course are the Brown hulk himself (those of you Marvel comic fans will appreciate the play on colors as there are already green and red hulks on the books), his agent and the inimitable president of Porto; Pinto Da Costa.
Now prior to all this early in the transfer window soon after we got Eden Hazard rumors were rife that Hulk had been secured with a reported agreed fee of ~ 38m pounds. At this time Hulk himself was reportedly even exchanging tweets with some Chelsea fans and this seemed like a fait accompli till the issue of a 3rd party clause of reportedly ~ 8m pounds came up and Chelsea was reportedly told we needed to pay this in addition. More irksome, it quickly became apparent that this 3rd party fee was to be paid to some nameless Uruguayan team that Hulk never actually played for raising serious questions that this additional fee may well be a well constructed front to further line the pockets of Hulk and his verbose agent. With this development our interest cooled of to frigid ice and with this Pinto came out to deny that there was ever any agreement or even an offer?only the good Lord knows when this guy ever tells the truth. Be that what it is several observers of the drama then noted that if in fact the stumbling block was the 3rd party fee then Hulk should have taken the initiative to either offer to reduce his proposed Chelsea wages or offer some other sort of cost sharing with his prospective new employees as a show of good faith and actual interest in making this move ala what Fabregas did to ensure his move from the Gunners to Barca. No such thing happened, in fact Hulk was noteably silent on the issue and his only comments were to reiterate his position as captain of the Porto Dragons and the fact that he was entirely happy to remain there for the full duration of his contract.
Now fast forward to immediately after final of the Olympics football tournament and this is what Hulk is now reportedly saying;
‘This could be the time for me to move,’ ‘I would feel comfortable with moving clubs and the English league is one that appeals to me.’
Boy..how times change!!! I wonder what has made the incredible one change his tune?
Pinta Da Costa on the other hand doing his best impersonation of Daniel Levy continues to insist that Hulk is going no where unless and until the full amount of his ludricous buy out clause; 100million euros (£78m) is fully paid (let us not even mention the remaining ~ 6m 3rd party fee ). His exact reported words;
‘I didn’t meet Hulk’s agent. Hulk is a player with a buyout fee and if any club want him, they just need to pay that, they don’t need to come here,’
As for Hulks talkative agent Teodoro Fonseca he reportedly had this to say;
‘We sometimes want a player to stay, but the conditions aren’t the best. Sometimes clubs have to give up a right, a player, or a person to keep their structure. People come and go, but the clubs stay. Everything is possible in the world of football.’
A lot of words with no clarity as to exactly what he is saying..not be tacky but this kind of verbosity reminds me so much of ol AVB.
Anyway note that all this change of tune from the 3 actors in this saga/melodrama (depending on how you look at it) only began after two things..the completion of the Olympics tournament and the reported/alleged 40m bid tabled by Zenit St Petersburg. The truth is that despite Hulks agents protestations and claims to the contrary there has been no evidence of any single credible offer from any team throughout this transfer window other than us and maybe Zenit.
So why the change of tone from Hulk and his agent you may ask? We may never know the full details but here is my theory.. With the Selecao losing out in the Olympics Hulk sees that there will be major changes to the Selecao set up..Meneses may get the boot..even if he does not he will have to make major changes to this present set up as he now starts to prep for the 2014 world cup..his only competitive tourney before then will be the Confederations cup..if Meneses survives till then he knows if he does not win that he will get the boot. With the pressure for change, virtually every one on this present team who is not called Neymar and possibly Oscar and Damiao are at risk.
For every Brazilian international being on the Selecao national team at the world cup is the zenith of their national careers..to be able to do that in Brazil itself is a once in a life time opportunity. Hulk has now come to the realization that he has less than 2 yrs to ensure his place on that squad and it has now occurred to him that with major change coming to the Selecao his staying at Porto may not place him in the best position to secure a place in that squad. He also knows that moving from Porto to Zenit is at best a lateral move and can more likely be seen as step down..that wont help his chances ..it will likely actually diminish them. Previously with Mano Meneses comfortable in his position and the Selecao deemed virtual guarantees for the Olympic gold medal and so making history Hulk must have felt totally secure that his place on the squad was virtually iron clad and so his primary motivation then was money. Now his priorities have changed..now it is a battle to ensure he is on the Selecao squad come 2014 and now it has suddenly dawned on him and his agent that moving to Chelsea or some other “big” club in a big European league is his best shot. Problem is that really there are no takers remotely interested in him at the price Da Costa continues to dream about and insist on.
With this remarkable change in dynamics I fully expect a modric esque twist to this whole drama. Don`t be at all surprised to see this same Hulk who was previously so “happy” at Porto now begin to say more to the media about wanting a move..it would not surprise me if this even got to the level of handing in a transfer request..this whole thing may become modric version 2.0. The one thing I hope is that we stay well clear of this drama having hopefully learnt our lessons from the melodrama called modric version 1.0.
How do I think it will end? I think Daniel Levy and Pinto Da Costa are very similar personalities..they love the power that controlling their players lives gives them. They also absolutely hate to lose in financial duels?They are not pragmatists ..for them everything is win or lose..nothing in between and for them losing is absolutely not an option. It must be their way or the highway. They strike me as men that would rather fall on their swords then be seen to lose a financial duel even if it makes little to no business sense in the long term so I fully expect both Luka Modric and Hulk to remain at their present clubs at the end of August 31. Both men (Luka and Hulk) will be forced to pay the full price of not being wiser in picking agents who would negotiate sensible contracts that would allow their clients a reasonable chance of professional growth and opportunity to move up the ladder as far as where they could play. Both men signed senseless contracts seeing only the here and now at the time of signing and they are stuck..by the time they escape those contracts their best playing years and football peaks would have long passed..young players should study these two cases closely and learn from their mistakes.