Some fascinating claims have arrived from Sporting Lisbon president Bruno de Carvalho today, who admits that a deal for Ruben Semedo to sign for Newcastle looked all set to take place – only for NUFC officials to not return with a formal offer to seal a €14 million deal that was all but agreed.
It was widely reported in Portugal that Rafa Benitez was making moves to sign the Portuguese star, however a deal that once looked very likely didn’t happen, with Semedo signing for Villareal and us ending up signing Florian Lejeune in an £8.7m deal from Eibar instead.
As Carvalho explains here, it appears we had met his agent and agreed to a €14 million deal for Semedo in priciple, however a transfer that looked all but agreed never happened – with Newcastle officials failing to return with the formal offer that Sporting Lisbon fully anticipated.
Here’s what the Lisbon President had to say about it all today:
“There was in fact a meeting in which agent Joao Pinheiro and an English agent were present.
They said they could bring a proposal from Newcastle of 14 million and, following the meeting, a document was drawn up in which they reported the same confirming the availability of Sporting CP to make the sale for that amount.
“But the truth is that the proposal was no more than intentions and never came. And it’s only by ignorance or bad faith that it’s ignored that the athlete transferred for 14 million to Villarreal of Spain, without any interference of the agent João Pinheiro.”
A funny one, this, and some unprofessional approach on our part if true.
It sounds to me like a deal was there to be done, but for reasons we do not know, we turned our intentions away from Semedo and instead sealed a deal for fellow centre-back Florian Lejeune.
Synics will say that Ashley preferred to do the cheaper deal for Lejeune (who was £5m cheaper than Semedo), and whilst this is a possible theory, it does seem strange that we would suddenly pull out of a deal that was there to be done.
It was confirmed that Rafa was an admirer of Semedo, so perhaps this was one of several scenarios that Benitez was left frustrated about over the summer?
A case of what could have been, with Semedo now at 5th place La Liga side Villareal, however it can’t be seen as one we’ll live to regret to any great extent, with Lejeune looking the part since arriving over the summer.