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Sporting wanted €25m for Carvalho - so we offered 20

Filed: Friday, 8th December 2017
By: Staff Writer

David Sullivan has been speaking about the botched move to sign Sporting midfielder William Carvalho.

Sullivan was talking to The Guardian's Jacob Steinberg in the same week that the Board confirmed they would not be following through with a threat to sue Sporting - and claimed that he thought a deal had been done, before the Portuguese moved the goalposts.

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"We’re not liars and we did make an offer," he insisted, in response to Sporting director Nuno Saraiva's September charge.

"The manager came to me and said he had an agent working on this who assures me if we give the player 70 or 80 grand a week and pay €25m to Sporting Lisbon, they will take the deal. I’ve gone in with a €20m offer. They said no.

"I told Slaven that I was going back in with €25m. They said 'we want €35m guaranteed plus another €15m of achievable add-ons'. I told Slaven that all we had was €25m and even that’s a stretch.

"I did what Slaven wanted and his agent couldn’t deliver. If he had said at the start it was €35m plus €15m of achievable add-ons, I would have said that I couldn’t do it."

Whilst the co-chairman steadfastly refused to accept any responsibility for the Carvalho saga, he admitted that certain mistakes had been made with the club's transfer policy since moving to Stratford in the summer of 2016 - on Slaven Bilic's watch.

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"I feel I haven’t done well enough," he said. "Nobody’s done well enough. I work my socks off, but sometimes it’s not good enough. "Tony [Henry] is frustrated because we’ve signed who the manager wants. We’ve put names up to the manager and he’s said he won’t take a chance on people straight from South America.

"In the first year [of Bilic's tenure] I was more involved and the next two years I was less involved. We’ve let the manager pick who he wants. He had a policy of wanting older, proven Premier League players. That gives you an old squad and players who you’ve seen the best of.

"Maybe going forward we won’t. We have to take a look at the age of the players we’re signing. We will have to bring in two or three in January. They won’t be old journeymen, they will be young players. They won’t be 32."

And according to Sullivan, that could be with the assistance of a recognised Director of Football, which many fans have been requesting for some considerable time. "There’s one very good one in the Premier League," he added.

"I would seriously think about taking him on in due course and I know he would come because he’s approached me."

* You may read the interview with Sullivan in full on The Guardian's website.

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