Chapter 744: A Pair of Forest Wingers
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The World Cup was over. The matter of other people’s reactions was not something Twain should care about. He had to think about how to maximize the club’s transfer budget of fifty million pounds.
Bentley’s performance at the World Cup was far less brilliant than that of George Wood but Twain was basically positive about his strength and form. He had already commissioned the club to ask Tottenham Hotspur for a price while the World Cup was still going on.
Tottenham Hotspur initially did not agree to sell the England starting right back, so Twain took time out during the World Cup to go meet Bentley’s agent and got in touch with Bentley through the agent. Bentley has told Twain that he wanted to join Nottingham Forest because the Forest team could play in next season’s UEFA Champions League while Tottenham Hotspur was only qualified for the UEFA Europa League.
Consequently, Twain wanted Bentley to put pressure on Tottenham Hotspur himself and lay his card on the table for Levy.
Bentley promised to do it after the World Cup. Now he just wanted to play well in the World Cup.
After the World Cup, he once again urged Bentley to lay his cards on the table with Tottenham Hotspur through his agent.
Firstly, Tony Twain publicly declared his appreciation for Bentley—he used his work to build momentum for the matter during the World Cup broadcast.
Then Bentley went along with the flow to respond. In an interview with the reporters, he said he was delighted with Manager Tony Twain’s appreciation of him. He thought Tony Twain was the best English manager now because he could lead the team to the championship title. Pierce Brosnan who interviewed him, went along and said, “What if you play for him?” Bentley smiled in reply, “I think it must be great!”
Well, now that both parties were willing, it was up to Tottenham Hotspur’s say-so.
After the World Cup, Bentley had a private discussion with the Tottenham Hotspur manager, Redknapp. During the meeting, Bentley made it clear to Redknapp that he wanted to leave Tottenham Hotspur and go to Nottingham Forest in pursuit of his desire for championship titles and honors. He hoped the team could support his personal pursuits, which had nothing to do with his salary.
In fact, after the incident with Berbatov, Tottenham Hotspur should have made one thing clear—that as long as the player himself wanted to leave, it would not help to force to detain.
If Levy was smart, he should not have continued to rebuff Nottingham Forest’s “good faith.” Instead, he should seriously consider how much money Bentley can be sold for.
Tottenham Hotspur agreed to Bentley’s departure after two days of consideration. The rest of the matter was simple. It was just a question of how much money was appropriate.
Tottenham bought Bentley for fifteen million pounds. With the onset of the world financial crisis, the clubs spent more wisely in the transfer market, and the value of the players generally fell. Bentley was no exception. It was considered good to be able to sell fifteen million. In fact, Tottenham Hotspur had quoted the Forest team a price of fifteen million pounds. They hoped to at least not sustain a loss.
Whereas Allan Adams insisted that the Forest team could only offer eleven million pounds.
The talks were deadlocked for a week, and the two sides eventually met each other halfway. The deal was made for thirteen and a half million pounds. The Forest team made a down payment of eleven million pounds. When Bentley made a full thirty appearances for the Forest team, they would give Tottenham Hotspur another two and a half million pounds.
The individual package contract was long negotiated.
Less than two weeks after the World Cup, Nottingham Forest and Tottenham Hotspur jointly announced that England’s “new Beckham”, David Bentley had officially transferred to the Forest from Tottenham Hotspur for a transfer fee of thirteen and a half million pounds.
After Twain handed over the negotiations to Allan, he was busy looking for the left winger for the team.
After a repeated screening process, he set his sights on La Liga’s Villarreal’s left midfielder, Matías Fernández.
On the one hand, Fernández had the desire to leave The Yellow Submarine. While Villarreal could safely guarantee that they could participate in the Champions League in recent seasons, to win the title was amount to nothing more than a pipe dream. Whereas, Nottingham Forest had just defended the championship title for the tournament two seasons ago. A discerning eye could tell the difference between Villarreal and Nottingham Forest at a glance.
On the other hand, Villarreal also needed money. As a small club, its budget had always been tight. They could only make money by selling their star players. If Forest wanted to buy Fernández, the club would not be a barrier.
When Twain purchased players, he still employed a two-step strategy—one step was to the contact the club and the other step was to approach the player. Before he contacted the club, he would approach the player in private to see what he had to say. If he wanted to come, then he would tackle the club. If he did not want to come, he would take care of the player first. He would change the target if he could not manage it.
This time, Fernández did want to leave. He longed for a bigger arena and a new challenge. He could not do that in Villarreal. In fact, if Real Madrid, Barça and other clubs were interested in him, that would be the best result. But these big clubs were currently not that interested in him. Only a few mid-tier clubs were. The examples included Italy’s Roma and Fiorentina, Bundesliga’s Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen, English Premier League’s Everton and Aston Villa, and La Liga’s Deportivo de La Coruña and Valencia.
By comparison, he thought it would be more worthwhile to choose Nottingham Forest. No matter what, the Forest team was also a team that had just won the UEFA Champions League for two years in a row. Despite some setbacks over the past two seasons, as long as their manager, who pursued victories and championship titles was still around, the team’s confidence would still be there.
Matías Fernández comprehended this: the pillar of a Premier League team was the manager, so as long as the manager was still there, the team was not finished.
His understanding was very much in line with the current situation of the vast majority of Premier League teams.
Twain assured him that playing for the Forest team would be more promising than playing for Villarreal—“because we are a team with a tradition for championship titles.”
Fernández had assured Twain that if Nottingham Forest could meet Villarreal’s transfer fee and conditions, he would consider signing for the Forest team first.
Following which, Nottingham Forest made a bid to Villarreal for twelve million euros for Fernández.
Villarreal did not rebuff the Forest team right off the bat but gave another quote: the amount was still twelve million, but for them to change from the euro to “pounds.”
Twain did not hesitate and nodded in agreement to the other side’s quote.
The following procedure was to compete with several other clubs to see who could get the “rose” that Matías Fernández threw.”
Since an agreement had been reached in private, Fernández eventually opted for a contract with Nottingham Forest.
In this way, Tony Twain spent a total cost of twenty-five and a half million pounds and got the left and right wingers he wanted. Bentley was on the right, and Fernández was on the left.
With half of the transfer budget left, how should he spend it?
“What do you think of Adriano?” Twain suddenly said to the busy Dunn around him as they prepared for the upcoming training at the Wilford training base.
“If you’re interested in him, I’m going to say nothing great about him.” Dunn replied Twain without looking up and continued to do his work.
“Well…” Twain did not refute. He just rubbed his chin and pondered.
“You’re right, there’s really nothing great about him” Twain spoke up after a moment of contemplation, “I’m just thinking about it casually…”
The two new wingers were just introduced to their teammates, the fans and the media a day ago, and the Nottingham Forest king was worrying about the candidate for the striker.
Žigić’s performance in the second season was much better than his first season and his contribution to the team’s tactics was remarkable. However, it seemed that because he always needed to be a bridgehead in the tactics, his scoring rate was on the decline. His assists went up and he was very helpful in the forward line, but his own goal scoring numbers could not go up. Twain had decided to give up the idea of purely using Žigić as a striker. He found that Žigić did a good job in the tactical center forward position. He could hardly pick out any faults except that he scored fewer goals.
Agbonlahor was very fast, extremely fast. But his shooting skills was a bit rougher, and he preferred to be active on the sides—because there was enough room for him to break through there. He was more useful than anyone during counterattacks, but the Forest team could not always counterattack. This set of routine had long been thoroughly studied by their opponents.
Eastwood’s form was stable provided that he was not injured. The Forest team would have to play in at least two tournaments this season, and Twain could not expect Eastwood to play all the games in the season alone.
Millán and Moses were too young to be counted on to take on the big responsibility.
Therefore, the Forest team still needed to strengthen the force of the forward line.
To make room for a new striker, Twain decided to put Moses and Millán out on loan to train them. These two young guys were in high demand due to their excellent performances last season. Twain did not need to worry about their positions.
So, the only question now was—which striker should he buy?
Twain’s current transfer fund was still worth up to thirty million pounds—after he bought Bentley and Fernández, Allan Adams added in another five million pounds to the transfer budget for Twain. It looked like the Forest team really wanted to make a big splash in the new season.
Who could he buy with thirty million? The players he could actually buy were a lot, but in fact they were also very few players whom he could buy.
The financial crisis had led to a decline in the value of the players. The star players who used to readily have sky-high prices were now down to ordinary levels. In a classic example, Real Madrid announced the acquisition of Benzema this summer. The haggling over prices went on for the entire World Cup, which eventually ended with a total of thirty million euros. What did Aulas say two years ago? “Benzema is worth one hundred million euros!” At that time, the actual price would not be less than fifty million.
Ibrahimović, Eto’o, Villa, Tevez, Berbatov…..These men were currently available for a transfer fee of thirty million pounds, but not one of them could be bought by the Forest team.
On the one hand, the Forest team was a lot worse as compared to those real powerhouse names. On the other hand, even if they could buy these superstars, they might not be able to afford to pay their salaries. One must know that Ibrahimović enjoyed an annual salary of twelve million euros after tax at Inter Milan. Italy imposed a one hundred per cent tax on football. An annual salary of twelve million after tax implied that Inter Milan pay twenty-four million euros a year for just Ibrahimović’s salary alone…
Even if England did not impose such a heavy tax on the football industry, the figure of twelve million was beyond what Nottingham Forest could afford.
As a result, Twain could only look at two categories of players: one category was a world-class striker who had long proved his place in the football world but was currently in poor form. The other was the less famous, capable and about to become a first-class striker.
The former’s best candidate was in fact Adriano, who was soured by the loss of his hopes at Inter Milan.
Twain had seriously considered the possibility of the Brazilian joining the team before. First of all, although he and Mourinho were at loggerheads, he believed that Mourinho would not be difficult in the matter of Adriano’s transfer. Inter Milan also wanted to get rid of the burden, Adriano as soon as possible. Moreover, they would never allow Adriano to be sold to an Italian team, so the foreign teams were the Brazilian’s only option. Meanwhile, Adriano and his agent would not agree to return to Brazil, so an English team was the best option.
But the core issue that left Twain indecisive was Adriano himself. This was a player who was technically fine but questionable attitude-wise. Late to the training, the absences, the late-night jaunts to the nightclubs that lasted to the next morning, the prostitutes, his self-confessed big-shot attitude that he was not willing to correct, face-to-face confrontation with the team’s manager, questioning authority …
None of these problems was something Twain did not hate.
He had a similar temper as Mourinho. If Mourinho could not tolerate Adriano, then Twain most likely could not.
Maybe he could keep Adriano honest for a season by all means, but Twain was well aware that it was not going to be easy to turn around a character like Adriano. Once he was flushed with success again, it would the endless off-field scandals that awaited Twain. Could he change such a self-sabotaging genius?
Twain and Dunn had discussed it several times. Dunn’s conclusion was always the same—perhaps he would do before his father’s passing but after his father died, he was completely hopeless.
He also advised Twain, “If the club thinks you’ve spent tens of millions of pounds on him to only play well for the team for one season, I’m not sure what the chairman will do to you. Adriano is too risky, and we have many ways to avoid the risk. I don’t think bringing in Adriano is a good deal.”
Twain agonized for days. After studying Adriano’s performance in the recent years and his off-field gossip, he officially announced that he had given up on him this morning.
The Brazilian was a hopeless case, and Tony Twain was not an omnipotent God. Although he felt deep down that it was a shame for this once talented striker, the reality was very cruel. He did not have to use tens of millions to do charity and save a young man who was neither a relative nor a friend and had taken a wrong turn in life.
So, the problem was here again.
“Hey, Dunn. Can you recommend a few more to me? The ones whom you previously recommended always had some areas that I was not satisfied with. You know I’m a perfectionist…”