Arsenal have denied allegations that they exploited a loophole to sign Jeff Reine-Adelaide from Lens.
- Arsenal signed Jeff in 2015
- They paid €4m in total
- Reports claim part of this was paid before transfer window opened
- Spokesperson denies Arsenal acted outside of FIFA law
Lens had run into serious money issues and, with the Direction Nationale du Contrôle de Gestion (DNCG), who are responsible for monitoring accounts in French football, on their backs, they faced relegation.
They needed cash and they needed it quick.
It’s being reported that Lens agreed to sell Jeff to Arsenal before the transfer window opened with an ‘option’ on the then 17-year-old. All the Gunners had to go was pay €1.75 million within 10 days of reaching the agreement. They would then pay €2,193,750 in three installments, reaching €4m in total.
Arsenal’s general counsel Svenja Geissmar and Lens president Gervais Martel allegedly signed this deal on 19 May 2015. Well before the transfer window opened on 9 June.
Arsenal director of communications Mark Gonnella has denied the allegations, saying, “We don’t discuss the confidential terms of player transfers.
“However, I can assure you all our transfers are carried out in respect to the laws and rules.”
While Martel said, “Arsenal really wanted this player, and I wasn’t going to keep him for them without signing an agreement.”
Martel also revealed that Arsenal signed youth player Yassin Fortune in a similar fashion.
“I wouldn’t say Arsenal saved Lens,” said Martel.
“We didn’t need to make commitments to the DNCG, but given our financial difficulties, we needed to take the decision to transfer those players. And it was a good deal for us. I would have really liked to have kept them, but we had to let them go.”