United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

Adem Ljajić – Deal off?

Posted by nickogs20 on December 3, 2009

Seemingly out of the blue, reports in the English media this evening have surfaced stating that United’s signing of Serbian teenager Adem Ljajić from Partizan Belgrade – thought to have been a done deal since January – has been cancelled.

The picture is more than a little confusing – we’ll attempt to put over the ‘facts’ as they stand:

– The signing of Ljajić was announced back in January at the same time as that of Zoran Tošić, with the official site confirming the deal and displaying pictures of the Serbian duo being ‘paraded’ at Old Trafford alongside Sir Alex Ferguson and a United shirt. Ljajić has always been spoken about as a United player and has himself stated his pride at being a United player.

– Today, the English media are saying the deal is off, with the Daily Telegraph most notably quoting ‘a United spokesman’ as saying “We had an option to buy the player but, having closely monitored his development over the past 12 months, and taken into consideration the young players emerging through the ranks at the club, we have chosen not to pursue the transfer”. This statement was seemingly in response to a comment from Partizan president Dragan Djuric which hinted at the plug having been pulled due to a ‘financial crisis’ at United.

– The Serbian media are saying that the reports in the English media of the deal being off are false. They carry quotes from Ljajić’s agent saying the deal’s still on as far as he’s concerned (barring the acquisition of a work permit), and more extensive quotes from Djuric saying they have heard nothing from United about calling the deal off. Djuric’s comment about a ‘financial crisis’ seem to refer to the rumours about the deal being called off, not any official communication with MUFC.

Many things about this developing story don’t quite add up. The quotes from a United spokesman in the Telegraph would suggest the deal is indeed off, and yet those quotes aren’t reproduced on the club’s official website or any other media outlet, nor is the spokesman identified. It would seem unlikely that United would unilaterally decree that the deal is off, so the statements of Partizan’s president and Ljajić’s agent that the deal is still on to their knowledge tend to suggest that if there are question marks over the transfer, they aren’t unresolvable ones as far as the Belgrade club are concerned.

Further to that, the apparent statement from the United spokesman that the deal is essentially off because the club have come to the conclusion over the last twelve months that Ljajić isn’t the player they thought he was or would be seems very strange in the light of the following comments from Sir Alex less than a month ago, at a time when he confirmed the club were applying for a work permit for the 18 year-old:

“Given all the talk about him and the fact he plays for Serbia’s Under 21s even though he’s only 18, we hope we will be granted the permit. I am looking forward to seeing him in January.”

Bearing in mind those comments were made about three weeks ago, would the manager say that, and apply for a work permit, if he had decided the player wasn’t up to scratch? Is it likely that he’s changed his mind about the player in those three weeks, a period in which the player continued to perform well for Partizan, as he has all season? I wouldn’t dream of second-guessing the manager, but both scenarios seem extremely unlikely.

That would lead me to two possible conclusions – either the media reports in this country are false and the deal is still on (or perhaps there are minor problems with it that need ironing out), or the president of Partizan was correct in implicating that the transfer had been shelved due to financial concerns brought about by the sizeable debt that United are currently struggling to service. Hopefully that first conclusion will come to pass, and with regard to that, we can only hope United clarify matters as soon as possible. If the deal is indeed off, while this isn’t really the place to go into detail on issues surrounding the club’s financial status, you can be sure that conclusion two will be explored in-depth elsewhere.

We’ll endeavour to update the story tomorrow as things develop, hopefully with some concrete information either way. Keep an eye on our twitter feed (@manunitedyouth, or check the top of the right sidebar), we’ll try to pass along any dribs and drabs of info that may emerge.

17 Responses to “Adem Ljajić – Deal off?”

  1. Sid said

    no official word yet

  2. Tone said

    This would be the oddest transfer saga I’ve ever come across if it turns out to be true. Like you say, it is unlikely that Ferguson has changed his mind about the player. Personally, I can’t believe that it’s about the debts either, because I simply can’t see Ferguson accepting giving up on someone he sees as a big talent just because he’s told to by the Glazer’s. Yet, I can’t believe the press would just make it up either. It really seems to come out of nowhere; there have been no rumours, nothing. Sure, it’ll sell well, but, when they boy arrives at the club, the papers who reported it will look so bad. This is just too weird, I can’t get my head around it!

    • Ole said

      Even stranger than the Mikel saga? :)

      He don’t look like a £100mill player to me, and the reasons the spokesperson gives seems plausible. But what a hit that would be to Adem if it’s right!

  3. […] […]

  4. Ben said

    If it’s true that we pulled out of the deal then we look like the biggest assholes in the world right now for doing that to a kid.

    I hope it’s not true.

  5. Stevie H said

    This is the best factual report i have read since the story broke.
    I am very concerned about these developments, if it has broken down then all of United fans should fear that we will never see anything close to 80 mil being used in transfer deals and i will question Fergie somewhat loyalty towards the Glasers by constantly insisting he is in control of all transfers. We may have similar problems to Liverpool but Fergie seem somehow to back the owners and cover their tracks, i personally will never trust Fergie again if 18 months from now the majority of that transfer remain unspent.

  6. Darren said

    It’s been confirmed by United so I guess that’s that.


  7. harts83 said

    The quotes on the official site say its because we have talent coming through.

    Now i bet any money that Cleverley’s progression has shocked even United.

    Why spend the money when we have talented coming through.

    • Ben said

      Now I thought that too, but by all accounts Ljajic is a fantastic talent, not just a star at Watford.

      Hopefully you’re right, though.

  8. Niall29 said

    I think its a disgusting thing to do to a kid so full of promise and potential. I hope in a couple of years this doesnt come back to bite us in the ass. It simply has to be money, even though the payment structure surely would have been based on appearences and sucess…unless Partizan did to us what we did to Madrid and were demanding full payment. I feel really sorry for the kid, he must be heart broken….SAF owes a proper explanation in light of his comments a few weeks ago.

  9. jjain said

    there might be some hopes as nothing has been communicated to the player agent..

  10. Jonathan said

    Very poorly handled by the club and, without being sure, I suspect yet another example of the negative presence of the Glazers at Old Trafford.

  11. Just a bit of information for future reference:

    When broadsheets quote a spokesperson of a club,you can be sure what they say is true.

    When tabloids quote an insider at a club,you can be sure what they say has been made up.

    So it’s no surprise that The Telegraph’s story turned out to be true.

    I may be being naive but at the moment,I believe that we haven’t signed him because Fergie didn’t want him.

    If,however,we don’t buy anyone in January and we don’t spend a net amount of at least £25 million in the Summer,I will have to believe the stories that we really are in a dire financial state and players will have to be sold and ticket prices will have to go up a lot.

  12. D said

    More likely the emerging talent of Petrucchi, Pogba, and even Tunnicliffe and Cole, not forgetting the likes of Hewson, Drinkwater, Cleverley and Possebon. Throw in the 1st team fringe players and there’s little or no room for another ‘expensive’ teenage midfielder. There’s plenty of good players already at the club. Who would Llajic replace anyway? He’s a 1st team player at Belgrade but would have likely had to play in the Reserves for the foreseeable.
    Good decision

  13. […] Adem Ljajić – Deal off? […]

  14. kunal said

    during the pre match conference b4 the tottenham game fergie was talking abt youth players stacking up at the club. he said they had to be given a chance at d top level and not just in d reserves. so even if we wud have signed ljalic now it was impossible to offer him a better playing oppurtunity than obertan,nani, tosic in d 1st team.2 of the b4 mentioned players also play regularly in the reserves.

  15. […] Adem Ljajić – Deal off? Seemingly out of the blue, reports in the English media this evening have surfaced stating that United’s signing […] […]

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