Football Leaks whipped up another storm on Friday, releasing the contract details behind British football's biggest ever transfer deal. For those of you who have misremembered, that deal saw Manchester United purchase Angel di Maria from Real Madrid for a mammoth £59.7million in 2014.
It is, of course, easy to forget such a transfer ever took place. Di Maria is no longer at Old Trafford having kicked up a fuss and forced his way to Paris Saint-Germain last summer. All things considered, it was a disaster of a deal for the Red Devils.
So Ed Woodward is probably furious that Football Leaks have thrown the transfer back into the limelight. Football Leaks have released the documents involved in that huge transfer and it reveals some pretty spectacular clauses.
The highlight of the document is undoubtedly a clause that pretty much prevents Manchester United ever selling Di Maria to Real Madrid's bitter La Liga rivals Barcelona. As is clearly stated, United would be legally obliged to pay Los Blancos €50m if they sold Di Maria to Barcelona at any point in 2015. The fine drops to €40m for 2016 and €30m for 2017.
There was a similar clause in place for all other Spanish clubs, although Manchester United would have escaped any payment in the 2017 transfer period if the club in question was not Barcelona. Basically, Real Madrid made sure Di Maria would never play for another La Liga club again.
The Football Leaks story
Currently shrouded in as much mystery as hype, the people behind Football Leaks have rattled some serious cages in European football since they launched in the latter parts of 2015. Their mission is to expose the "dodgy deals" behind some of Europe's biggest football clubs.
It describes itself as "a newly-formed organisation in pursuit of the truth" that "believes that only through public pressure in high volumes a difference can be made."
Famously, they exposed a deal between Doyen Sports Investment and Dutch club FC Twente, which saw the former purchase the commercial rights of several of their players in exchange for a multi-million euro loan. It led to Twente's expulsion from European competition for the next three years. They have also leaked details behind some of Europe's biggest transfer deals including Arsenal's Mesut Ozil and United's Anthony Martial.
Known only as John, the person behind Football Leaks spoke to the New York Times in December and let his grand plans be known to the world.
“This kind of secrecy about contracts and secret clauses is killing this sport,” John said, before claiming to have 300 gigabytes of data. Be afraid, football agents. Be very afraid.
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