Where did the Bébé money go?

Reports that 30 per cent of the transfer fee Manchester United paid for Bébé – Tiago Manuel Dias Correia – went to agent Jorge Mendes raises further questions about the intriguing deal. United reportedly paid €9 million for the 20-year old when he joined from Vitória de Guimarães in August, with €5.5 million going to the Portuguese outfit.

Mendes’ agency Gestifute received the remaining €3.5 million for its share in Bébé, reports Portuguese sports paper O Jogo. United told the Telegraph on Thursday that the club had not directly paid Gestifute any money for its role in the deal.

Still, the report once again raises the spectre of third-party player ownership, with the practice now outlawed in the Premier League following Carlos Tevez’ controversial transfer to West Ham United in 2006. Quite how Gestifute came to ‘own’ a third of Bébé’s registration is as yet unexplained.

The O Jogo article also caused widespread media confusion in the UK, with both Talksport and Sport.co.uk incorrectly reporting United had picked up a £4.8 million “bargain” in Bébé.

The Gestifute agency has become a powerhouse in Portuguese football and now represents some of the leading figures in or from the country, including Nani, Anderson, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho. Indeed, Vitória offered glowing praise of the agency on completion of the Bébé deal earlier this year. No wonder, as Vitória effectively flipped Bébé, signing the forward on a free transfer in June and then selling him on for a fee without a competitive game played.

The €9 million fee – £7.9 million at today’s exchange rate, although widely reported as £7.4 million – was roughly confirmed in notes to United’s end-of-year accounts. The audited annual figures show a post-balance sheet transaction of £8.3 million was paid in respect of player registrations after 30 June, 2010.

Bébé was United’s sole transfer window acquisition post the 30 June accounting deadline for the 2009/10 financial year, although Dutch youngster Gyliano van Velzen also joined the club. No fee has yet been agreed between United and van Velzen’s former club Ajax while a dispute over his international clearance continues.

If the distinction between the £8.3 million figure reported in United’s accounts and the widely reported £7.4 million fee is as yet unexplained – United’s press office could not confirm the fee at time of going to press – then more details may yet emerge when Vitória President Emilio Macedo addresses the club’s annual General Assembly on Friday.

Some costs are known however. Signing on bonuses paid to the player are included in United’s salary not acquisition costs within the accounts, with Bébé believed to earn just £90,000 per year. Should the player perform to expectations the Portuguese will see his salary rise sharply.

Meanwhile, no clarification of how Gestifute distributed its profits on the deal has yet been made. The role or profit of other agents or Bébé’s former club Estrela da Amadora may yet become clearer in time.

Whatever the true figures, Bébé’s transfer remains controversial despite the player’s promising full début against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Carling Cup on Tuesday. The 20-year-old was deployed in a wide right role and scored, albeit with a heavy deflection, in United’s 3-2 win.

There is, of course, a long way to go before a promising performance against a much changed Wolves side justifies the £7.4 – £8.3 million United apparently spent on bringing the player to Old Trafford. In the annals of United’s history Bébé’s remains one of the strangest; that Sir Alex Ferguson has not previously seen the player, the high fee for effectively a third division player, and the role of Gestifute in the deal.

No suggestion of financial impropriety is made of course but in an era of apparent austerity for United, with £720 million debt on the club or parent company’s books, Bébé remains an extravagance. This sentiment is all the more stark given other transfers this summer – the £8 million paid by Tottenham Hotspur for Rafael van der Vaart and £12.4 million paid to Werder Bremen by Real Madrid for Mesut Özil, for example.

And in media terms it’s the story that keeps on giving. One suspects that this week’s revelations over the transfer fee are not the last in Bébé’s time at Old Trafford.

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Comments

  1. herbie simms says

    I like Bebe’s comments in the Daily Mail. I like his attitude. He has got that drive and desire to be the best. It can only benefit United down the road

  2. fat maradona says

    Herbie, don’t let Sid know you’re a Daily Mail reader…

    As for Bebe, he has the makings of another Bellion if you ask me…

  3. Bill says

    I think he would benefit from a loan spell to build confidence and game time.

    If him and Obertan can progress we have the wings covered for the next 5-10 years, with Valencia and Nani only in their mid 20s.

  4. sheesh says

    Compared to other Premier League clubs, United rank rather well in terms of the sums paid out to agents.

    I saw a league table somewhere. Someone on here might be arsed to root it out.

  5. herbie simms says

    I read all the papers, no problem with that! Comments made by Bebe are in other papers also. I see Sneijder has now signed a new contract so that rules him out of coming to United.

    • mongoletsi says

      In the same way that Rooney won’t be moving to Real now that he’s signed a new contract? I mean, there’s no precedent for that eh? ;o)

  6. says

    I have to disagree about Bebe turning into another Bellion. My problem with Bellion always was that he had zero end product. He didn’t get his head up. It was always pick up the ball and drive it forward… Run out of ideas… Nothing.

    Bebe seems to have an instinct to whip the ball into the box. 3 or 4 times during the game he did just what, and the balls were good as well. One bounced a yard in front of the six yard box, at the back post. If you’re a striker, you love balls just like that. Nani apart, we have few flair players at United, who can create something out of nothing, be that a cross, go past a man and produce something. Bebe might just have that, and we need it.

    Obertan and him need games to prove they can do it at the top level. For me, they need deep ending as much as possible throughout the season with constructive support from Fergie and the team to help them develop.

  7. herbie simms says

    Yes, and in the game coming up against Spurs, SAF would needd to play NANI and BEBE on the wings to push those Spurs defenders back. They have the pace and Bebe has that killer instinct. No sense playing Park on the wing as some fans were saying.

    • mongoletsi says

      Fuck it Mr Simms, I’m gonna go with you on this….

      ——-Chico–Berba——-

      Nani-Fletcher-Whoever-Bebe

      Evra—Vidic—Rio—Brown

      Why Brown? If Bebe is played, we need some assurance at right back. Nev is off the pace, and Rafael is out of position too much. So it’s between Brown and O’Pie for me.

      “Whoever”? Well, I just don’t care. Carrick/Anderson/Park/Gibson – what difference does it make? Is Hargreaves really, ever going to make a return? Fneh.

      If Scholes is played, I would think Bebe would be benched.

      Bring it on.

  8. herbie simms says

    As I see it, Rednapp is expecting United to field its strongest team, the same team that has been struggling to even get a draw against the small clubs. He has his game plan and stradegy already in place. Now to throw his game plan off, you play the two pacey wingers Nani and Bebe to back up his defence and get those crosses to Berbatov and Hernandez. Rednapp and Spurs are not familiar with Bebe or his pace and they will have to try and change their game plan while the game is being played. But that only puts their defence in more panic and next thing you know it, United are two goals up. Its all about stradegy. If United don’t put attacking players out there, they will pay the price. Don’t uder estimate Bebe, he can get the job done. He has that killer instinct. You need something different to beat Spurs.

    • mongoletsi says

      // Don’t uder estimate Bebe, he can get the job done. He has that killer instinct. //

      This based on 80 minutes against Wolves and 10 minutes against Scunthorpe, plus a shit reserve game, and some videos you’ve seen?

      Just saying…

      But yeah. Give him a shot. I don’t see any more attractive options.

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