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Journalism to the Gutter: How Clinton Njie’s Failed Sporting Move Had Media Guessing

The case of Clinton Njie’s failed transfer to Sporting Lisbon.

Transfers are planned with all details carefully worked out.

Cameroon’s skipper Clinton Njie’s proposed transfer to Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon before it became a juicy pill on back-pages, was no different.

Spoilt for choice in attack, with the caliber of Thauvin, Germain, Sari and even 30-year-old Mitroglou given priority pick in team selections, Olympique Marseille’s gaffer Rudi Garcia thought it best that Njie was peripheral in his plans for this campaign.

His overall contributions to the team –nine starts in 22 cameos – last season did not, in Garcia’s world, show the true reason for Marseille board’s gamble to part with £6.3m to acquire the Tottenham Hotspurs outcast twelve months ago.

In addition to the off-the-pitch attraction he’s garnered, a clearer case being the accusation he smuggled women while on national team duty, Garcia sees it even more paramount to ship the winger out on loan to whichever club that cares for his services.

Enter Sporting Lisbon into the scene. Fed up of finishing third best to champions Porto, the Academia Sporting Arena outfit have plans of stepping up their season, which translates into signing big names, even that requires breaking the bank to fuel this ambition.

Surprisingly, Clinton did not catch the Primera Liga side’s fancy, despite costing as little as a £1m on loan with an option of making it permanent.

Instead, 15-goal Malian striker Abdoulaye Diaby from Clube Brugges was their target.

But seemingly discouraged by Belgian First Division A side’s astronomical demands for the forward, Sporting gave their pursuit a break – a marketing strategy which sought to provoke Brugge to beat down their price tag.

Diaby’s statistics are impressive. 36 goals coalesced with 20 assists in 108 matches since joining from Lille 24 months ago hints of an attacker with a penchant for the back of the net. But putting the prepossessing individual figures aside, £70m for a striker who’d never played in any of Europe’s top five best leagues is considered way off the mark and hence, Lisbon’s decisions to balk at the Belgians asking sum.

clinton-njie2Considering Diaby is 27, the Portuguese felt even the more reason to dig their heels in the initial negotiations to sign Diaby. And being the only notable team on the African’s trail, playing the bluff card by turning their attention to Clinton for hype, they reckoned, would force Brugge to take a second look at their stance and budge.

Njie was by this time granted permission to leave Marseille. News of his arrival at Lisbon for a medical prompted Brugge’s president Bart Verhaeghe to wrap up Lisbon’s proposal for their star asset, bringing an end to this protracted saga.

As the dust in Diaby’s saga settled, it opened up a web of controversy at the other of end of things

Caught up in the awkward scenario, Clinton wasn’t even received by a Sporting Lisbon official at the airport.

Marseille quickly issued a statement saying their player’s move collapsed after failing to reach an agreement over the Cameroonian’s transfer fee.

By this time the press had already picked up the story guessing Njie might have failed his medical. More worrying, the story was carried by a major sports paper.

Journal du Cameroun published the article claiming the Indomitable Lion striker failed his medical test without making any specific mention of how it occurred, before reports in Portugal amplified it., including Mercator, all played along without quoting a source.

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