Chelsea target in contract dispute with Sporting Lisbon

Shaun Botterill

Could confusion over his contract allow Bruma to leave Sporting for free?

Meetings to sort out players' futures have been the flavour of the transfer season so far, so when Bruma after being promised face-to-face talks was denied one recently, it sparked some angry reactions from those around him.

Apparently, a meeting with Sporting President Bruno de Carvalho scheduled for Friday had to be called off, as the busy President just didn't have the time to acquiesce to the demands of only their most talented and precariously positioned* prospect, and give the youngster and his lawyer the confrontation they'd sought.

The snub didn't go down very well with Bruma's attorney, Babiano Gomes, who fumed all the way to the airport, before venting to A Bola when they caught up with him. Watch out!

"They called me in the morning asking for player's presence at the meeting. Bruma also told them that a lawyer has to deal with things and would not go to the meeting. They told us then that the president would travel next week and we talked.

I'll wait until next week for Sporting and see the president's position: the door is opened or [he] closes it. At this moment, the door is ajar. Bruma will not be at the meeting for sure, but Sporting is within their rights to do what they understand, just think they are playing with fire."

*Precariously positioned, because at this point, I'd like to imagine him with one foot out the door already

Not simply content to slate the Sporting President, he dropped another bomb on his way out.

"The player [Bruma] is ​​free at the end of this month,"

Why would he say that? The reason behind this are the standard FIFA regulations that stipulate players under the age of 18 are not allowed to sign contracts longer than three years. Apparently, Sporting signed Bruma to a contract the day he turned 16, which was set to run till the 2012/13 season.

On the same subject, A Bola had this to say:

"O Regulamento do Estatuto de Transferência dos Jogadores da FIFA tem uma norma que diz que jogadores com menos de 18 anos não podem assinar contratos superiores a três anos", explicou.

E é aqui que pode estar, de facto, o problema, uma vez que, no dia em que completou precisamente 16 anos, Bruma assinou dois contratos, um com a validade de três temporadas (2010/11, 2011/12 e 2012/13), que agora termina, e um outro válido por uma época (2013/14), com mais duas opções.
E surgem versões contraditórias. Fonte leonina diz que esse mesmo contrato foi novamente rubricado quando o atleta já tinha 17 anos, ficando com validade até 2013/14, mas fonte próxima do atleta garante a A BOLA que o contrato foi mesmo rubricado... mas que o atleta ainda tinha 16 anos, uma vez que o jogador assinou-o em agosto e só completava 17 anos em outubro."

Which Google translates to:

Nevertheless, source close to the process explained what is going on. 'Regulation Statute Transfer of Players FIFA has a rule that says players under 18 can not sign contracts longer than three years," he explained.

And it is here that may be in fact the problem, since that, on the day he completed just 16 years, Bruma has signed two contracts, one with the validity of three seasons (2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13), which is now ending, and another valid for one season (2013 / 14), with two more options. arise and conflicting versions. Source Leo says that contract was initialed again when the athlete had 17 years, getting valid until 2013/14, but a source close to the A Bola ensures that the contract was even signed ...but the athlete still had 16 years, since the player signed him in August and completed only 17 years in October.

Meaning that while the club may be operating under the understanding Bruma's contract is set to run through to the end of the 2013/14 season, it might just be that there exists a glitch in the plan, as, if A Bola is indeed correct, (and I assume that to be a possibility purely for the sake of discussion — not that a publication would know better than the club itself,) the contract being referred to wasn't signed in time for his 17th birthday, suggesting that when August rolls around, Bruma's contract at Sporting Lisbon might very well be set for expiry.

Even if the report turns out to be bogus, it's pretty clear the youngster is looking to move, and will by accounts, no longer be a Sporting player when the window slams shut. It also puts potential suitors, including Chelsea, in a somewhat tricky situation.

Should they wait for Bruma's contract to run down next month, before moving to open negotiations with the player's agent, and in doing so, risk seeing a rival club sneak ahead in the line in the interim, or should they move fast and try to thrash out a quick deal while also keeping it under wraps, failure to do which would alert fellow suitors and possibly trigger an unsavoury bidding war?

The traditional solution in these cases would be to approach the player and agent, agree terms, and possibly sign a brief pre-contract agreement. With the number of big clubs in for Bruma however, that'll be a rather unlikely occurrence, seeing as the player and his agent have basically unlimited leverage to negotiate simultaneously with multiple parties, and in doing so, drive up their salary and fee respectively.

In any case, Sporting don't seem like they'll be able to hold out for a very large sum, so whichever club ends up acquiring him will likely have paid peanuts, or nothing at all. The matter of concern now is the negotiations, chiefly one question: whose hand is most loaded?

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