Melgarejo – Caught Between Spartak and Lokomotiv

Melgarejo – Caught Between Spartak and Lokomotiv

Lorenzo Melgarejo’s move away from Kuban Krasnodar appears to be turning into a soap opera. On January 6, it seemed almost certain that the Paraguayan striker would move from Kuban Krasnodar to Spartak Moscow.

Melgarejo, when speaking to the Paraguayan news source Cardinal Deportivo regarding the transfer to Spartak Moscow, even said “[It] is 90% [done]. Either this week or next week the matter will be resolved.” He was later forced to retract the statement, as both clubs had so far failed to agree on a fee.

In fact, the transfer dragged out out through January, and when the Russian transfer window opened on January 28, a deal that seemed imminent was still in the negotiation stages, as it appeared that Spartak was not willing to pay enough to Melgarejo’s agent.

Then, on February 1, Spartak’s effort to sign Melgarejo was greatly complicated by the fact that city rivals Lokomotiv Moscow had sold their star striker Baye Oumar Niasse to the Liverpool based club Everton FC for £13.5 million, and   suddenly needed to secure another striker.

As the negotiations for Melgarejo between Kuban and Spartak hit a road block, Lokomotiv was suddenly in the driver’s seat to land the Paraguayan striker. Indeed, Melgarejo seemed to be the perfect replacement for Niasse as the Paraguayan striker has already adapted to playing in the Russian Football Premier League. Furthermore, both Melgarejo and Niasse have actually scored the same number of goals this season (eight), and therefore bringing in Melgarejo for Niasse seemed to be a good business transaction for Lokomotiv.

Indeed, both clubs were quickly able to negotiate a €9 million deal for the striker. But as Lokomotiv Moscow specialist, and Futbolgrad writer, Stefano Conforti wrote on Twitter, the deal eventually fell through because of Lokomotiv. Initially Kuban had asked for €9.5 million while Lokomotiv offered €8 million. After Niasse was sold, Lokomotiv increased their offer to €9 million, which was accepted by Kuban. Kuban, however, also asked that the money that the club still owed Lokomotiv for Sergey Tkachev be forgiven, at which point Lokomotiv ended the negotiations.

Then it was reported that Kuban Krasnodar was asking between €10 million and €12 million for Lorenzo Melgarejo. Sovetskii Sport meanwhile reported that Melgarejo had travelled to Moscow, and was awaiting the outcome of the negotiations in a hotel in the centre of the city.

Then, late on February 2, reports surfaced that Lokomotiv will not sign Melgarejo, as Olga Smorodskaya had told Sport-Express that the deal is unlikely: “We agreed on everything with the player and the club. By the way, the €9 million reported on the internet has been greatly exaggerated. The actual sum was about €4 million to €5 million. Furthermore, taking into account the debt that Kuban still owed for Sergey Tkachev, which was about one million, it would have been a good transfer deal. Moreover, Melgarejo had already successfully passed the medical examination at Lokomotiv.”

The fact that Kuban was not willing to pay the debt still owed to Lokomotiv from the Tkachev deal means that Lokomotiv is now effectively out of the Melgarejo race. When asked whether Spartak will sign Melgarejo, Smorodskaya answered, “I think yes. And I wish, Spartak to carry out this deal, because I feel sorry for the football player. But I hope that Spartak won’t overpay.”

Hence, Spartak Moscow are now once again the most likely candidate to complete the transfer for Melgarejo, yet we have been here before…

By Manuel Veth –