Tag Adem Ljajić

Tag Adem Ljajić

Confirmed: United paid Ljajić

December 11, 2009 Tags: Shorts No comments

Manchester United paid Serbian teenager at least £100,000 even though the prospective player was under contract to Partizan Belgrade, according to reports in The Telegraph today. Ljajić’s proposed £10 million move to United collapsed in acrimonious circumstances when the club failed to obtain a work permit for the 18-year-old.

“It is true that I was on the payroll of Manchester United and that I received a payment from them this year. It was a pre-contract [payment], but I will not to go into it. My father and manager take care of the details of the contract,” said Ljajić, who is still likely to be sold by Partizan in the upcoming transfer window.

Initially, United claimed that Ljajić had not progressed while at Partizan this season but was then forced to backtrack and admit the failure to gain a work-permit was the route cause.

“Stories about stagnation in my football development are nonsense,” Ljajic said this week.

“If Manchester United were really not satisfied with how much I’ve progressed in this year, I would not have been with [Sir Alex] Ferguson two months ago at the end of my last cycle of mandatory training at the club before moving to England.

“The reason for the transfer not happening is that I couldn’t get a business licence [work permit]. Who knows what I will do next? I have heard already that clubs are interested and that Partizan want to sell me. We’ll see.”

United: Ljajić deal killed over work permit

December 4, 2009 Tags: Shorts 2 comments

Manchester United ended interest in Serbian teenage attacking midfielder Adem Ljajić because the Home Office refused to issue a work permit, according to club sources today. United yesterday confirmed that the proposed €10 million option on Ljajić, 18, would not be taken up despite the player due to join up with the squad in January.

Confusion over United’s withdrawal from the deal circulated yesterday, with a club statement initially suggesting that Sir Alex Ferguson had second thoughts about bringing the player in after monitoring his progress. However, Ljajić’s club Partizan Belgrade claimed that the deal ended over “United’s financial crisis,” with debts now spiraling to more than £700 million.

Faced with that charge the club was keen to clarify the situation, with Mike Phelan taking over for Ferguson in the morning press briefing.

“The situation with Adem was we went down the road of trying to obtain a work permit,” said United’s assistant manager.

“We made a tentative approach to getting him a work permit and what we got back from the home office or the people you deal with was that we couldn’t get that through in time for when we had to make a decision on Adem in January.

“The point was then do you lay out for only Adem knowing there is a possibility that you could or couldn’t get a work permit, so we decided that we wouldn’t.”

The club was not ready to make a €10 million gamble on Ljajić, with the player uncertain of being able to take up his job, a spokesperson confirmed to Rant this morning. The terms of the deal with Partizan apparently forcing United into a decision on Ljajić this January.

“When his progress was then set against the developments of other young players such as Tom Cleverley and Darron Gibson it was a deal we weren’t prepared to do,” a United spokesperson told Rant.

“We’re not saying he’s a bad player – just that when all things in his particular case are considered, it’s not the deal for us.”

Work permit regulations stipulate that a player must have represented his country at senior level in at least 75 per cent of matches over the previous two years. Ljajić, an under-21 international, does not qualify. However, special provisions for ‘exceptional talent’ exist, which United invoked to bring Anderson to the club in the summer of 2007.

“The advice we got was that those provisions have been abused a little in recent cases and, with the tougher work permit rules in other areas there is likely to be greater focus on proper examination of what constitutes “exceptional,” Rant was told.

While Phelan did not rule out pursuing Ljajić in the future, the deal for the highly talented teenager is essentially now dead.

Essential reading:

United’s reputation for youth under threat

December 3, 2009 Tags: , Opinion 10 comments

Manchester United’s reputation for youth development stretches back as far as the Busy Babes. Indeed, the club’s devotion to nurturing its own talent has not only reaped ample rewards on the pitch but on the balance sheet too. In these days of hyper-inflated transfer fees, oil-rich owners and millionaire teenagers it’s a policy that makes sense.

What then should United fans make of the club’s decision to ditch a deal for talented Serbian midfielder Adem Ljajić just days before his expected arrival at Old Trafford? Ljajić, ostensibly brought to United in a £16.5 million joint deal with Zoran Tošić last January, will now not join the club after officials announced the deal was off this morning. Sir Alex Ferguson, having evaluated the player more closely in several visits to United’s training complex at Carrington, decided that Ljajić, 18,  is no better than young prospects already at the club.

Fair enough. After all, the £10 million fee due on Ljajić is no small change, especially in times of global downturn and huge corporate debt.Many fans will also look favorably on Sir Alex Ferguson’s support for home-grown talent.

Yet, perhaps the most shocking aspect of the collapsed deal is the timing. Indeed, reports in the past week – clearly inaccurate – suggested that United was preparing room in the squad for the teenager by shipping out his compatriot Tošić on loan.

What of the past 12 months. The player has progressed from the Serbian under-19 squad to the under-21 team, appearing eight times over the past year. At his club, Partizan Belgrade, the player has reportedly been a star-turn this season, scoring five times and earning rave-reviews for his performances in the Europa League.

Not good enough, or just a little too expensive? Time will tell.

Moreover, there’s something slightly sullied about United’s dealings with the player, aside from the public relations disaster that it has provoked. The club’s choice of faceless statement to announce the death of the transfer was clearly news to the player’s agent. Presumably to the player himself. Until this morning that is.

Ljajić isn’t the first teenager offered the dream of playing for United. Over the past few years the club has embarked on a consistent policy of acquiring the best young talent from abroad. The reserve and youth teams at United contain no fewer than 12 players brought in from outside the British Isles who are 18 or below. Some of them may become stars at the club. Others will no doubt find themselves released to find their own way in an increasingly cynical industry.

Federico Macheda has already hit the headlines; Joshua King made his United début against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Carling Cup and Daniel Petrucci is a star of the Academy side. At this time, their futures at United look rosy.

It’s a policy not without controversy though. When United signed Paul Pogba from Le Harve this summer, the French outfit threatened to take the club to FIFA in search of a transfer ban, similar to that handed out to Chelsea. There were further claims from Fiorentina over Michele Fornasier and by Empoli in the case of Alberto Massacci and Manuel Pucciarelli.

Cast the mind back a little further and neither Barcelona nor Parma were acquiescent when United captured Gerard Piqué and Giuseppe Rossi.

Perhaps even more emphatic was former Brazil manager Carlos Alberto, who accused the club of “raping” Brazilian football after the transfers of Rafael and Favio da Silva.

In this context, the Ljajić saga is simply another piece of evidence that points to United’s view of the youth transfer market as little more than commoditised. Ship them in, ship them out. After all, the 12 aforementioned overseas teenagers on United’s books cost little more than one percent of Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer fee. One success in 100 is all it takes for the economics to stack up.

Meanwhile, Ljajić faces an uncertain future. At the time of the youngster’s signature – or more accurately, an option to sign – Ljajić was reportedly coveted by Real Madrid and Chelsea no less. He could yet move to one of Europe’s heavyweights. And if he does more evidence will stack up to support the theory that United is playing a tawdry game of economics with Europe’s youth.

In the meantime United’s management, with a proud youth development record from the Busy Babes, to Fergie’s Fledglings and the ‘class of ’92’ to protect, would do well to take a step back and ask themselves just how much of a player meat-market they will tolerate.

Essential reading:

United’s “financial crisis” as Ljajić deal called off

December 3, 2009 Tags: , Opinion 14 comments

Manchester United is to cancel the deal for Partizan Belgrade’s Adem Ljajić, according to a reports late last night. United had an option to buy Ljajic, 18, in a proposed £16.5 million double deal with Zoran Tošić sealed last January. But having monitored the right-sided midfielder’s progress the club the club’s hierarchy has executed their option to end the deal.

Confusion surrounded the deal Thursday morning, with Ljajić’s agent claiming that United’s inability to obtain a work permit for the talented midfielder was the only factor affecting the deal. Indeed, reports last month suggested the club is prepared to move Tošić out on loan to make way for Ljajić in the first team squad.

“We had an option to buy the player but, having closely monitored his development over the past 12 months, and taken into consideration the young players emerging through the ranks at the club, we have not chosen to pursue the transfer,” confirmed a United spokesperson in a statement this morning.

The deal for the Serbian pair, normally composed of an initial down-payment followed by further money based on appearances and success at the club, has turned cold though. Tošić has made just five appearances for the club – all from the substitutes bench – in nearly a year at the club. The left-sided Serbian is, seemingly, just not built for the rigours of Premier League football.

Official word emerged from the club Thursday morning, with Darron Gibson and Tom Cleverly – on loan at Watford – now thought of as better options in midfield. United’s deal for Ljajić – which was on a “first refusal to speak” basis – ended after the teenager join the club at Carrington for a number of training sessions over the past year, a United spokesperson told Rant.

The club had sought out a work permit for the teenager but had word that it would likely be declined, even under the ‘exceptional talent’ provisions. A spokesperson told Rant that this provision had been abused in a number of recent high-profile cases.

Even so, United’s withdrawal still represents a major surprise with the teenager often ranked among the very bst European talents in his age group. Dubbed the ‘Serbian Kaka’, Ljajić has become a YouTube sensation since the deal with United cam to light close to 12 months ago. Indeed, Ferguson has been on record praising the special talents of the player as recently as October.

However, Ferguson is clearly pleased with the talent emerging at the club and the rapid progressed made this season by Gabriel Obertan, Antonio Valencia and Darron Gibson.

Ljajić’s agent, Mladen Furtala, added to the confusion in the Serbian press by claiming that the deal could yet be resurrected.

“As far as I know, the only problem is the work permit,” said Furtala.

“Manchester can solve this quickly. Journalists called me, asking what was happening, but I am confident that everything will be OK at best and that from January Ljajic will be officially a Manchester United player.”

Perhaps the last word on the deal comes from Partizan president Dragan Djuric, who claims that United’s crippling £700 million debt is the real reason that the club is pulling out of the deal at this stage. Indeed, with Carlos Tevez moving to Manchester City and Cristiano Ronaldo sold, United’s transfer kitty is a theoretical £100 million. But United has spent little of that money.

“I read the news in our media about the possibility that Adem Ljajić will not go to Manchester,” Djuric told the Serbian media.

“All this is in the field of speculation. The truth is that Manchester United has not yet arranged a work permit to our players, but so far none of them refused.

“Maybe the news came because Manchester United is in financial crisis, but believe me we did not get anything official.”

Essential reading:

Park back, Tošić stays, Ljajić joins

November 27, 2009 Tags: , , Shorts 4 comments

Ji-Sung Park made a long awaited return in Manchester United’s defeat to Besiktas on Wednesday night. Following a two-month spell on the sidelines with a knee injury the South Korea’s return is a welcome sight for Sir Alex Ferguson and supporters alike. Unsuprisingly, the winger was delighted to make a first Old Trafford appearance since the derby in September.

“It’s good to be back, my knee is 100% OK now and I feel fully fit,” Park told manutd.com.

“We lost against Besiktas, which was a shame. But, for me, I was ready to play after playing twice for the national team.”

“We had many good chances but failed to score. The young players showed great potential. They will be much stronger now because of this experience, and hopefully next time out against Wolfsburg we will be able to confirm ourselves as winners of the group.”

Park, who made 40 appearances for United last season including a starting role in the Champions League final, will now battle it out for a place on the wing with Antonio Valencia, Gabriel Obertan, Ryan Giggs and Nani.

Indeed, Obertan’s eye-catching performance at Old Trafford, and Antonio Valencia’s growing confidence, has placed pressure on the South Korean to hit the ground running.

“Obertan and Valencia are good players,” Park agreed. “But I think I can also put in good performances.”

And while Nani’s form has been so sporadic Ferguson left the Portguguese winger out of matches againast Everton and Besiktas, Zoran Tošić has signalled his intention to stay at Old Trafford. Linked with a loan move to Steve McClaren’s FC Twente in Holland, the Serbian’s agent confirmed that Tošić will fight for his place. The winger scored twice as United’s reserves beat Hull City 2-1 on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Old Trafford insiders are believed to be ready to bring the multi-talented Serbian midfielder Adem Ljajić, 17, to the club in January. Signed with Tosic at the begining of the year, Ljajić was loaned back to Partizan Belgrade to gain experience. But a series of stand-out performances in the Europa League and a run in the Serbian under-21 side means that Ferguson will try for a work permit ahead of a January Old Trafford debut.