As we heard yesterday, Chelsea seem to have become the ultimate beneficiary of a contract dispute between young attacking midfielder Nathan and his soon-to-be-former club Atlético Paranaense. With a transfer fee supposedly agreed, Nathan is now set for a medical in London "in the coming days" before putting pen to paper on a contract.
[Atlético-PR] accepted an offer from Chelsea and the young player travels in the coming days to London for a medical examination and sign a contract.
The transfer is mediated by businessman Giuliano Bertolucci. The representative and father of the athlete, José Carlos de Andrade, did not deny the correctness [...] before hanging up the phone.
-source: ESPN Brazil via Google Translate
The background for this deal is pretty fascinating, though perhaps not out of the ordinary when it comes to Brazil. The dispute, as far as I can tell, had been dragging on since last year and was started by an automatic contract extension (without a raise?) that Atlético-PR's management tried to enforce after claiming that Nathan had agreed to it. Nathan signed his initial professional three-year deal (as per FIFA regulations) in 2012. The player denied any such extension agreement and wanted out.
The club of course were having none of that, though they did start paying him more at the end of last year, perhaps in an effort to smooth things over. It was too little too late. Nathan's contract had a domestic release clause of R$2.4m, and things got to the point where the player's representatives and family decided to pay that fee (or penalty for breaking the contract, as I've seen it called in a few places) and set Nathan free. The family sold a beach house and liquidated the father's business to finance all of that. This is where São Paulo come in as a potential interested party, though they deny any such involvement.
Meanwhile, Atlético-PR were none too pleased and decided to fight the family's maneuvering in court, claiming that the R$2.4m clause isn't meant for such a purpose. This then dragged on for at least a few weeks and there was a final hearing (after at least one judge was thrown out after one side claimed impartiality) set for April 10. At some point, Chelsea popped up.
Chelsea's name had not been been mentioned at all in the build-up -- apparently the player's father or representatives had feelers out to all the usual suspects: PSG, Monaco, Real Madrid, Manchester City, etc. -- but the kid's contract also had a foreign release clause of R$100m (€30m; £22.25m). Using another Brazilian club (say, São Paulo, who again deny any involvement) as a "bridge" club could work, but the player would have to stay there for at least six months if not longer.
It was that man, Giuliano Bertolucci, who got involved once again -- he's the guy behind the Kenedy deal, if we're to believe those reports, as well as the agent to Oscar, Ramires, and Willian -- and greased the wheels for an agreement between Atlético-PR and Chelsea at the eleventh hour. We can safely assume that the final price is well south of the €30m foreign clause. At least one source puts it at R$23m (€5m), which seems like a pretty good deal.
So much drama!