Jota was spotted at Fulham’s training ground at Motspur Park training ground yesterday – sparking rumours that an offer was winging its way over to Griffin Park imminently.
And, with a deal of £6.5m (with add-ons) being touted, it is feared that this may be enough to tip the edge, and for him to cross London and sign for our South London rivals.
Beesotted received a call from one of our South London sources late last night (contrary to popular belief, we have lots of sources … Chinese Gary has been off duty the past few days) telling us that Fulham are going full steam ahead with the deal and they expected it to happen within the next 24 hours.
Normally we sit on such news when we get it until it is much further down the line as it very often falls through.
The nature of transfer dealings is such. The agent normally touts a player around to many clubs. More often than not it comes to nothing. He then leaks the news to the press to get traction.
Just because the agent and the club have had a conversation, that doesn’t necessarily mean the player and the buying club are talking.
And it certainly doesn’t imply that a deal has been drafted, accepted or that a sale is imminent.
That all comes down the line and can break down at any stage.
Hence we decided to sleep on this one overnight. Was this yet another bit of meaningless transfer gossip? Or did it have real legs?
Latest news we heard (yesterday) was there had been no offers in for Jota from the South. The only offers to date were from Hull (£1.6m) and Boro (an initial £4.5m deal). Our Northern sources say that there has also been a subsequent £6m deal that was rejected, but we haven’t been able to ratify this as yet.
Jota’s agent had promised him a move to the Premier League from the opening day of the transfer window but, so far, that has failed to materialise which has left his agent red-faced.
Jota had also indicated that he, like Scott Hogan, would only leave Brentford for a Premier League club – with him allegedly willing to actually take a lower wage for the glory of playing in the Premier League.
With that background knowledge, we have treated all this Championship club activity around Jota with much scepticism.
But then things changed with Jota’s appearance at Motspur Park yesterday.
And, with Fulham’s senior scout being Miguel Rios, who was head of recruitment at the Brentford academy and left allegedly under a bit of a cloud – nabbing Jota from under our noses would prove to be a big scalp.
It is normal protocol for the player only be allowed to talk to the buying team if permission has been given by the selling team to do so.
That’s what made us think this deal has now got proper legs.
Whether the £6.5m deal has actually landed on the Brentford fax machine is the question everyone will now be asking. Things move very fast in the transfer window and one can only assume, the fact that he was seen at Motspur Park means a deal has gone in. Not necessarily accepted. But received.
West Ham have been sniffing around Jota all window without putting in a deal in. Now their opponent’s cards are laid firmly on the table.
However, before assuming this is a done deal, lets look at a few things.
Fulham’s £6.5m deal is still £1.5m below Brentford’s valuation. So there is room for manoeuvre.
Jota is desperate to play in the Premier League. Maybe I missed something here but Fulham are not (yet) in the Premier League.
Fulham are supposedly offering Jota £35k a week – more than three times what Brentford are ever able to pay him – but he would presumably take £25k or £30k to play for West Ham.
Jota’s agent promised him Premier League football. So are Fulham just the set-up guys.? Yesterday he conveniently appeared in the most public of places. Today the footballing world will be asking whether Jota will be signing for Fulham or not.
West Ham are still in the game if they decide to stop dicking around.
Boro are still in the game with their parachute payments and could match Fulham’s fee AND wages. But would Jota want to live in the North East (and this is no disrespect to Boro – as you all know we love our trips to Boro)? With his wife spending much of her life in Spain, one would have thought the South would have been easier access.
With 24 hours of the window to go, this one will run and run.
Have Fulham sealed the deal? Or is there still time for West Ham, Boro or another Premier League team to come in and snatch the bottle out of the baby’s mouth?
Or Jota could do the honourable thing – in the last minute – and take a bit more money from Brentford, ask for an contract extension with a get-out clause at the end of the season and see how this season pans out for both of us.
As the clock ticks down towards the transfer deadline, that final option looks increasingly unlikely.
Watch this space.
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