NEWS
Thursday July 26 2018
Pallotta on Malcom in full

Roma President James Pallotta slams Bordeaux, Barcelona and Malcom’s agent over the aborted transfer to Italy.

The winger was all-set to join the Giallorossi and was due to fly in for a medical, but Barça swooped in at the last moment to hijack the deal.

The Lupi President spoke on SiriusXM FC this morning about the situation, and his quotes were picked up around the world.

Now the American radio station has provided the full audio to Football Italia, with a complete transcript below.

“Let’s start from the beginning,” Pallotta said on SiriusXM FC.

“You wanna talk about Malcom? He’s a young man we’ve been following for about three years or so now.

“Originally some of the stuff came out of our analytics group and [we] liked him a lot. A couple of weeks ago we started some discussions with them and saw that he was available.

“He had been talking to a couple of other teams too, but he definitely wanted to go more for a team that was going to be in the Champions League.

“We had a deal with him. We were expecting him to get on a flight at 10 o’clock, or to arrive at 10 o’clock and a bunch of fans found out about it and were at the airport.

“As far as we were concerned, and the way every other deal has worked in football - or the vast majority of them - he was coming for his medical and then you finish the signing.

“Earlier in the day, in spite of us asking 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 with the agents that the deal was done.

“So we’re up at night and the kid doesn’t get on the plane, Bordeaux stop it and we find out that all of a sudden Barcelona have jumped into the mix, no question in my mind unethically and immorally.

“Then that night the agent said he’s gonna come to Roma in the morning. We got from Bordeaux that they were going to sign the revised offer: I threw in a couple more million and they said ‘yes, we’ll have it signed and he’s gonna be on a plane at two o’clock'.

“I didn’t sleep much at all, and about three in the morning I got up and started texting with Monchi and Baldini - Franco’s now also on our executive committee - and Monchi’s on video conference with the agent in the morning.

“The agent’s like ‘Monchi, look, look I’m wearing red, the kid is getting on the plane, it’s ok it’s done!’.

“Meanwhile we’re hearing that one of the agents - the Brazilian one of the four agents - is in Barcelona!

“So within a couple of hours he’s not getting on the plane and we don’t have the kid. If you just look at all the stuff that happened, the deal was done.

“My view is that Bordeaux were ridiculous, their actions, and we’ve already spoken to legal. I’m fairly certain that they’re going to be testifying on this and that there’ll be some litigation.

“It’s the same thing for the agents, or at least one of them, we’ve gotten legal advice and there’s going to be some issues there too.

“In terms of Barcelona it looks like a pattern of the last few years of doing things that just should not be done at a club with the reputation that Barcelona intends to have and to be.

“They knew that this was done, and in fact yesterday that apologised to us about their actions and how they did things.

“I don’t accept the apology at all, the only way I’ll accept it is either one of two things: send the player to us - and that’s not going to happen - but maybe as a goodwill gesture, at the very least they could send [Lionel] Messi to us.

“The player wanted to come to us, all of the teams you’re talking about were not having discussions with his agents.

“He was playing one year and had a great year, but at the end of the day there were only a few teams that were really talking to him.

“From what we know that was Everton and Leicester, from what we know the other clubs weren’t having any kind of formal talks.

“We’d also sent over [Federico] Balzaretti who you all know, who works with us, I’m pretty sure he was over there and had some discussions with the kid.

“The deal was completely done - we even had the buyout clauses that we agreed upon!

“I can tell you the buyout clause. We agreed on a $120m [€103m] buyout. The agents insisted that we put that in there, we were like ‘OK, $120m sounds fine to us!’.

“We might want that kid to stay for a long time, but if someone pops up in a couple of years with $120m for him then so be it.

“So this was soup-to-nuts agreed upon, and all of the others you’re talking about were not in there.

“By the way, this isn’t sour grapes at all because I have no problem if we’re battling it out for a player with Inter or Bayern or whoever and we’re all going through the process: fine. That’s the way it works.

“At the end of the day when a deal is done and completely agreed upon… some people say ‘oh it wasn’t formally signed’ but that’s *expletive*, we all know how it works, the kid comes in for the medical and then the signing is done.

“That signing and that agreement is done, other teams know not to come in and do what Barcelona did, Bordeaux should never have been doing that they did - I think that’s illegal never mind unethical and immoral.

“The reason I brought Monchi in is because I think he’s as good as anyone, if not the best, and he’s shown it to me in the first 15 months of cleaning up stuff.

“Before the Malcom piece - and we’re not finished yet - I think Monchi has had as good a transfer market as anyone has had so far.

“In June Radja [Nainggolan] goes to Inter and we get [Javier] Pastore, Marcheno, [Justin] Kluivert - which I think was another big coup - we got this young Croatian kid [Ante] Coric who looked good last night.

“I think if you look at the players we’re bringing in we’ve strengthened our team a lot.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence that Monchi has the ability to talk to players and to get people to want to come to Roma.

“As far as I know - and I don’t have all the details on the agents because I wasn’t dealing with them, Monchi was - there were four of the agents and three were Italian and one was Brazilian.

“One of them was the one who seemed to be the biggest issue. Bordeaux agreed, then they came back and were like: ‘we didn’t sign what we agreed’.

“They asked to put it on their website and to tweet it, that he was going to Rome. They’ve taken it off and deleted the tweet, but it was right there.

“We actually said we preferred not to do it and we’re not going to do something like that because we’re a public company.

“But they wanted to go ahead and do it. Did they do it because they though: ‘ok if we go ahead and put it out this way maybe Barcelona will know that they should do something immediately’?

“Was there collusion? I don’t know, it didn’t seem like that until after the fact.”

Pallotta was then asked if he felt the iconic win over the Blaugrana in last season's Champions League was part of the motivation for hijacking the Alisson deal.

"I think that was a once-in-a-generation type of win where you're 4-1 down and you play the perfect game and you win 3-0... I don't know...

"Look, I'm not done with Barcelona. They're a lot bigger than we are, but there'll be some interesting things over the years and maybe even sooner.

"They're a great club that doesn't need to do things like that. That just wasn't right.

"For whatever reason they did it, we're not happy about and think it's very unethical."

One question is whether Malcom will even play at Camp Nou...

"We just cannot believe that at this point in his career he's going there!" Pallotta agreed.

"I've heard talk of Messi going over to play on the right side, but even without that he wasn't going to go in and play.

"Was he just going to walk in and on our right side? Not even close, Under is a very talented kid who only had one year in the big leagues and is getting better and better.

"What we do like is having a couple of players that are strong in every position so they have to battle it out for the right to play.

"At the end of the day he's a young kid, you don't know if an agent has been beating him with this Barcelona thing, but we did say that if the kid is making a decision like that then maybe we're a little wrong on the kid.

"There are so many outside things that we can't say that [for certain], what's surprising and what doesn't make any sense - maybe the agent is just a moron - is that they had a $120m buyout clause with us!

"If the kid is that good, and he spends a few years with us, they just lost that. So I don't get that piece of it either. Barcelona's one of the clubs that could pay $120m. I don't get it."

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