According to Voetbal International this morning, FC Twente have indicated that they are willing to work with clubs on the transfer of temperamental centre-half Doublas Franco Teixeira. Douglas was linked with a number of clubs over the summer, including Newcastle, who are also named in the recent report along with Internazionale and Reading FC.
The summer transfer broke down over price negotiations, but in contrast to some reports in the UK press, the issue was more complicated than NUFC refusing to match Chairman Munsterman’s valuation for his star player. There were two factors working against a summer transfer, but only one of them matters this transfer window.
The first problem was that Douglas wanted to achieve eligibility for the Dutch national side through a residence qualification, which meant that he could not sign a contract outside the Netherlands until later August. This meant that any contract signing had less than five days to be finalised and signed.
This would not have been an insurmountable problem had there not been an issue with agents, which only came to light later in the Autumn. According to VI sources, there were three third parties with an interest in any transfer of Douglas from FC Twente, including Douglas himself, but also two of his associates, reportedly a family member and old school friend.
All three – Douglas, the family member and friend – were all entitled to a substantial percentage of the fee paid by the purchasing club. When Douglas originally signed for FC Twente in 2007, he joined after a trial, and had a very low value, meaning that the percentage fees would be in the low tens of thousands of pounds.
However, with Newcastle tabling an offer reportedly above ten million, this meant that all three of these ‘agents’ were entitled to millions of pounds in fees, leaving FC Twente facing a very low final transfer fee, as well as less than a week to find a replacement for one of their first team regulars.
FC Twente’s demand to Douglas was waive these fees – i.e. let FC Twente take more of the transfer – or play out the last year of your contract. Douglas unsurprisingly refused and it is fair to assume that this personal gain he stood to make was important in his decision to stay put.
And FC Twente have been good to their word and are prepared to let him depart in the summer, which means he apparently loses this contractual right. They are now prepared to take a very small fee – presumably in the hope that he will waive his personal share of the transfer – in order to plan an orderly succession in their defence.
If Douglas is motivated by money, then he has two options. He can sign for a European top-club and seek a £100k per week contract immediately, or he can take a step-up, and put himself cheaply on show in the hope of making that step in a couple of years’ time. Now approaching 25, a good run in a middle ranking European club and for Oranje would give him the chance to sign a highly lucrative contract in 2015.
It is unlikely that Inter would take a punt on a defender untested at the highest level, particularly when he has not proven to have his impetuous nature well under control. And so that leaves Reading and NUFC in the frame as potential opportunities for Douglas to showcase his talent.
With the signs certainly better for a winter departure of Douglas from Twente than they were over the summer, hopefully all parties involved will now have a much better sense of the financial realities involved and be able to make the right deal happen.
On a personal note, I remain to be convinced that he is the centre-half that NUFC need: but with our perilous league position and limited options for strengthening, now certainly seems a good time for the manager to be taking a few informed gambles on untested players in the winter transfer market.