On Thursday morning Roma president Jim Pallotta had his say on events that saw the Giallorossi controversially miss out on the signing of forward Malcom.
Pallotta joined Sirius XM FC's football show to discuss the extraordinary events that unfolded earlier this week - as the Giallorossi agreed a deal with Bordeaux for Brazilian winger Malcom, only for the player to eventually end up at Barcelona.
Here are the key comments from the president's interview...
GETTING THE DEAL DONE
“Malcom is a young man that we have been following for about three years now. Originally some of the stuff on him came out of our analytics group, and we liked him a lot. A couple of weeks ago we started some discussions with Bordeaux, and saw that he was available. He had been talking to a couple of other teams too but he definitely wanted to join a team that was going to be competing in the Champions League, and had been doing so regularly.
"We had a deal with him, there’s no question we had a deal with him. If you look back, a couple of days we were expecting him to get on a flight to arrive in Rome at 10pm, and a lot of fans had found out about it and were at the airport. As far as we were concerned, as every other deal has worked in football – or at least the vast majority of them – he was coming for a medical and then we’d finish the signing.”
THINGS GO WRONG
"Earlier in the day [on Tuesday], in spite of us asking them not to, Bordeaux tweeted out that he was going to Roma – and also put it on their website. We have a tremendous amount of emails and texts and even video conferences of conversations that we had with the agents in the deal saying that it was done. So we’re up at night and all of a sudden the kid doesn’t get on the plane. Bordeaux stops it, and we find out that all of a sudden Barcelona jumped into the mix – no question in my mind unethically and immorally.
“That night the agent said that he is going to come to Rome in the morning after we heard from Bordeaux that they were going to accept the revised offer. I actually threw in a couple more million and said, ‘Yes, we’ll have it signed, he’ll be on the plane at 2pm.’”
THE DEAL IS ALIVE AGAIN – AND THEN DEAD
“I did not sleep at all – I don’t sleep much usually anyway – so I think at about 3 in the morning I was up and texting with Monchi. Monchi was on a video conference in the morning with one of Malcom’s agents, and the agent was like, ‘Look, Monchi, I’m wearing red! The kid is getting on the plane! It’s okay, it’s done!’ Meanwhile, we are hearing that another of his agents is in Barcelona. So within a few hours he is not getting on the plane and we don’t have the kid.
"But the deal was done. My view is that Bordeaux’s actions were ridiculous, and we’ve already spoken to legal. We’ve got some legal advice and we’re pretty sure there’s going to be some issues.”
“In terms of Barcelona, it looks like a pattern for them over the last few years of doing things that just should not be done at a club with the reputation that Barcelona intends to have. In fact, yesterday they apologised for their actions and how they went about things. I don’t accept the apology. The only way I’ll accept it is on either one of two conditions: one, they give the player to us. That’s obviously not going to happen. Two, maybe as a goodwill gesture at the very least they could send us Messi!
“I think in this case the player wanted to come to us. I think a lot of clubs were interested in him, but did not want to bother him because maybe they did not think they had a shot at him in terms of the timing. We had a guy over their talking with the player in person. The deal was done.
MONCHI AND THE FUTURE
“Look, I have zero problem battling it out for a player with another big club, if we are all going through the same process trying to get him. That’s the way it works. But, at the end of the day, when the deal is done and completely agreed… we all know how it works, the kid comes in for a medical and then it is signed. Other teams know not to come in and do what Barcelona did. Bordeaux should never have done what they did – the legal side will come later, but it is immoral and unethical too.
“The reason I brought Monchi in is because he is as good as a football operations guy as anyone in the business. I think he has had as good a transfer market as anyone so far. We’ve got Pastore, Marcano and Kluivert. Ante Coric, a young Croatian kid, looked good last night. You look at the players we’re bringing in and I think we’ve strengthened our team more than we’ve done in recent years. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Monchi.”