The transfer window bingo card hasn't yet been updated for this summer, but already we have a new box to add: negotiations involving multiple parties and unclear contracts. What fans might have hoped was a one off with Henrikh Mkhitaryan last summer looks to be happening again this summer with Emre Can, albeit with a slightly different set of issues and thankfully minus the involvement of Mino Raiola.
The confusion surrounding the Can transfer revolves around Bayern Munich's buy-back clause that could put a dent in Liverpool's attempts to woo the player to Anfield. It was previously reported that the clause was applicable only in Germany, but new information suggests this is not the case and that the true issue is Leverkusen finding the two relevant contracts to be in conflict with one another.
Can: situation complicated. He has a release clause. But Bayern also have an option to buy him back. Leverkusen with a huge legal problem(1)— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) May 19, 2014
Release clause should not have been inserted. So far, no contact between Leverkusen and Bayern. Deal hangs in the balance (2)— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) May 19, 2014
Bayern option is active throughout, irrespective of other interest. (But staggered buy-back fee) (3)— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) May 19, 2014
Last Can tweet: very curious scenario. Two conflicting contracts. One between player and Leverkusen, other one between Bayern and Leverkusen— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) May 19, 2014
Evidently it was too much to hope that a club's highly paid lawyers could craft a contract between the player and Leverkusen that would not be in conflict with the existing contract between Leverkusen and Bayern. The insertion of the €12m release clause into the Leverkusen/Can contract evidently runs afoul of a stipulation in the Leverkusen/Bayern contract stating that Bayern must approve the sale of Can to another club.
Honigstein's understanding is that this renders the release clause null and void, regardless of whether or not Liverpool are willing to pay the amount in the clause. According to Leverkusen executives, though, Liverpool haven't even made a formal bid yet, which makes this all rather moot. They're also not terribly eager to sell even if a bid does come in.
"We will do everything we can to keep Emre," said Michael Reschke, Leverkusen's director. "Because we are convinced that another year would be right for his sporting development with us."
It's unclear what the next step might be. Liverpool could make a formal bid and press the issue, letting Leverkusen and Bayern sort things out on their end. There's also the optimistic possibility that although they get to approve Can's next destination, Bayern would be perfectly happy with him going to Liverpool as opposed to another domestic club or a perpetual European foe like Real Madrid or Arsenal.
Regardless, it's early enough in the transfer window that Liverpool can afford to deal with annoying complications that are less helpful in a short January window. This won't be the last we hear of the Can negotiations, but it would be preferable if going forward there were no additional twists and turns as all the relevant contracts get picked over with a fine toothed comb.