Tottenham hindered by third-party ownership of Moutinho

Porto playmaker Joao MoutinhoTottenham Hotspur have revealed that they had submitted an agreed deal to sign Porto’s Joao Moutinho before the 11pm deadline, but could not process the transfer due to third-party ownership of the player, according to The Guardian.

The failure to sign Moutinho before the end of the transfer window came as a massive frustration to Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas who had pinned his hopes on the Portuguese midfielder arriving at the club following the departures of Luka Modric to Real Madrid and Rafeal van der Vaart to Hamburg.

If the transfer had have been completed, Moutinho would have become Tottenham’s record signing after a £20 million fee had been agreed between the clubs. According to reports, Moutinho was also very disappointed not to have joined the North London club as he was desperate to be reunited with his former Porto manager, Villas-Boas.

However, the transfer could not arise as there were complications with third-party ownership of the player. A third-party owner holds 15% of the economic rights of Moutinho.

After a deal had been agreed between Tottenham and Porto, it was then up to Porto to buy out the third party ownership of the player, as Premier League rules state that players within England’s elite division cannot be owned by a third party.

Because an agreed deal sheet had been submitted to the Premier League by 11pm, the Premier League allowed Spurs an extension to complete the deal by midnight. However, the third party owners of Moutinho were reluctant to sell their share of the player and therefore, to the frustration of Tottenham and Moutinho, the 25-year-old remains a Porto player for the time being.

Reportedly, in order to add to what was an already complex transfer, Porto had then gone back on the initial agreed fee for the player and demanded Spurs to pay more for their star player.

This is not the first time that a third party ownership has restricted a Premier League club from signing an international player. Chelsea had agreed a fee with Porto to sign Hulk from the Portuguese club. However, complications with third-party ownership on that occasion meant that Hulk remained a Porto player.

Subsequently, Hulk signed for the Russian Champions Zenit St. Petersburg for €40 million yesterday as the Russian transfer window was still open.

The cases of Hulk and Moutinho perhaps open up a debate within the Premier League as to whether they should come to terms with the fact that third party ownerships are a part of the modern game and in order for the best players to come to the Premier League this may be something the Football Association could relax the rules on.

Third-party ownership does open up unnecessary complications however. This is the reason why the Premier League outlawed third-party ownership at the beginning of the 2008/09 season following the controversial Carlos Tevez affair which saw West Ham United fined a record £5.5 million pounds for technically fielding an ineligible player.