By Manuel Veth –
The young Brazilian striker Malcom remains one of the hottest Brazilian properties in this summer’s transfer window. In April, a move of the advanced playmaker from Corinthians São Paulo to the Red Bull owned RasenBallsport Leipzig seemed a certainty. But Corinthians wanted at least €9 million plus future bonus payments for the player, which would have seen the cost of the transfer rise to €11 million.
Malcom – The Centre of Transfer Speculations
Leipzig’s manager Ragnick is known for buying young talented players in order to sell them for a profit later. At Ragnick’s former club Hoffenheim, players like Carlos Eduardo who was sold for €20 million to the Russian club Rubin Kazan, Luiz Gustavo who was sold for €17 million to Bayern Munich, and Roberto Firmino who was sold for €41 million to FC Liverpool, had all been brought in by Ragnick.
Ragnick considered €11 million for Malcom as too great a risk, and as it also turned out, Malcom’s agency Mondial Sport Management & Consulting Sarl used the German club as a negotiation weapon in order that Malcom get a contract for higher pay at Corinthians. Last December Malcom had asked for a 900% wage increase, money that Corinthians allegedly was unable to pay. Yet Maclom extended his contract at Corinthians until December 2019, shortly after his deal with Leipzig fell through, and it appeared that Malcom would stay in São Paulo for at least another season.
But Malcom remained at the centre of transfer speculations with Leipzig, Chelsea, and FC Barcelona, who are all reportedly interested in signing the player. Lately Malcom has also been solidly linked with a move to Shakhtar Donetsk where he is rumoured to be a candidate to replace Douglas Costa who was recently transferred to Bayern Munich.
Shakhtar also has ties with Malcom’s agency Mondial Sport, which represents Douglas Costa, and former Shakhtar midfielder Fernandinho, who now plays for Manchester City. Another trail leads to Sporting Braga, which has recently experienced a major financial windfall by selling strikers Éder to Swansea City for €7 million, and Zé Luíz to Spartak Moscow for €6.5 million.
Fernando Garcia – The Secret King of Corinthians
According to one report, Braga has offered €8 million for Malcom, but the player has, in his contract, an exit clause worth around €20 million, and Corinthians has been adamant that any club wanting to purchase the player would have to pay the full amount of his exit clause. At the same time, however, Corinthians only owns 30% of Malcom’s contract—the businessman Fernando Garcia owns the remaining 70%.
Here is where Malcom’s contract becomes interesting, as Garcia also sits on the council of the Corinthians. The Brazilian football expert Paulo Freitas has told FutebolCidade that, while this technically shouldn’t be allowed, it is also quite common in Brazil. Furthermore, Corinthians owes R$ 6.5 million to Garcia. Regarding the R$ 6.5 million, Garcia has said “I’m sure I’ll get my money from Corinthians. I have come into contact with the Emerson Piovezzan [director of finance at Corinthians] and with absolute certainty it will solve all the financial problems the club this year.”
Another twist is the fact that Malcom’s mother Flavia de Oliveira, a die-hard Corinthians fan, announced today that her son will stay with Corinthian: “He does not want to leave no. I want him to continue at Corinthians and he also wants to stay here.” But with Garcia in the driver’s seat it now appears that Malcom’s exit is imminent. Garcia told Meu Timão: “Who will decide whether or not he will work at Corinthians is of course Malcolm. But [Braga is offering] a good deal for both, since Malcolm will have a much higher salary and Corinthians, facing problems because of money.”
Hence, while Corinthians are reluctant to sell the player at the moment for anything below the €20 million exit clause, their financial obligations to Fernando Garcia, who as a council member of the club also has decision making powers, may result in Corinthians selling the player sooner rather than later.
In fact, Malcom is not the only player involved in this transfer saga, as another Corinthians player, the 17-year-old playmaker Matheus Pareira, is also engaged in talks regarding a move from Corinthians to Sporting Braga. Here Fernando Garcia holds 95% of the player’s rights, which would mean that Corinthians would only receive 5% (or R$875,000) of the R$ 17.5 million that Sporting Braga have offered for the transfer of Pareira.
Malcom – Braga or Donetsk?
In both cases Garcia has been adamant that the final decision regarding the transfer of the players will have to come from the club, and that Braga has been unable to meet the exit clauses that are written into the contracts of the players. At the same time with Garcia’s influential position on the club’s council, he will be involved in the club’s decision making process, and with the club owing the businessman money, it is likely that Garcia will attempt to sway the council toward selling both Matheus Pareira, and Malcom.
A transfer of the two young prospects to Sporting Braga would be a logical choice, because Sporting Braga is known as a club that allows third-parties to participate in possible future transfers. This leaves open the possibility that Garcia could benefit financially from future deals. The Portuguese Primeira Liga is also an excellent destination for young Brazilians who want to prove their talent to the European market. For the same reason Shakhtar Donetsk also seems to be a candidate, for the club, in the past, has had huge successes in developing Brazilian talent for the European market.
The potential Malcom and Matheus Pareira transfers are emblematic of one facet of Brazilian football, in that it is not the club which has nurtured their talent that will benefit financially but rather their agent, and the European club that will end up purchasing them.
Manuel Veth is a PhD candidate at the University of London King’s College, London. Originally from Munich, his thesis is entitled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States”. Follow Manuel on Twitter @homosovieticus.