Helsingborg and GAIS engage in tug-of-war over Brazilian star Alvaro Santos
Swedish Allsvenskan Notebook:
Helsingborg and AIK, first and third in the standings, saw important players leave, sort of, and join their sides, almost, in the days leading up to and immediately after Round 20 of the 2011 Allsvenskan.
Helsingborg certainly, definitely said goodbye to teen star Alexander Gerndt, who joined FC Utrecht in Holland in a team-record 35-million kronor ($5.7 million) deal. To replace Gerndt – maybe – Helsingborg snatched up GAIS striker Alvaro Santos.
Or did it?
Santos played for Helsingborg in 2000, helping to lead HIF to the title. He then left to play overseas in Denmark, France and Saudi Arabia before returning to Sweden last year to play for Orgryte, the team with which he made his debut. He joined GAIS on loan over the winter.
Helsingborg, then, bought Santos from Örgryte, which is in the Superettan. Club president Jesper Jansson held a press conference Aug. 9 to re-introduce Santos to local media. The twist came when reporters tried to learn the amount of the transfer fee Helsingborg paid to Örgryte. When media contacted GAIS about the move, that club first denied a transfer took place, then said it wouldn’t release Santos until it found a replace for the striker, who happens to lead the club in scoring this season.
On Aug. 10, GAIS somewhat reluctantly said it would allow Santos to leave immediately, provided it received the entire transfer fee, not Örgryte. GAIS wants to use any transfer fee to try to lure Zambian striker Amadou Jawo to Goteborg away from Elfsborg. Örgryte, however, quickly moved to quash any notions its crosstown neighbors could do so.
Örgryte dropped down to the Superettan two years ago when it could not pay its bills. The club filed for bankruptcy in January. Örgryte attorney Christian Andersech said his organization still holds Santos’ rights and it would decide how to divide the transfer fee.
On Aug. 12, GAIS announced it would let Santos join Helsingborg immediately. Jansson, the HIF president, said he never had any doubts.
“The deal with GAIS is clear and Alvaro will play with us,” he said.
AIK had a slightly different problem after it sold leading scorer Ibrahim Teteh Bangura to Bursapor. The Turkish club ponied up 30 million kronor for the 21-year-old striker and agreed to a 20 percent resale clause, meaning AIK would receive one-fifth of any fee Bursapor receives if and when it sells the Sierra Leone to a bigger club.
The teams agreed to terms on Aug. 8. Bangura was set to leave for Turey on Aug. 10, but at the last minute told his cab driver to go to AIK’s training ground of Karlberg instead of Arlanda airport. When he arrived, it surprised AIK officials to no end. Bangura said he simply wanted to thank his fans.
“AIK will always be special to me,” he said. “I owe this club everything.”
by Chipp Reid
Brazilian striker Alvaro Santos makes his debut Aug. 21 for Helsingborg against Trelleborg. Bildbyrån photo