Manchester City are delighted to announce the signing of Benjani Mwaruwari from Portsmouth for £3.87million.
The Zimbabwe striker joins the Blues on a two and a half year deal after passing a medical yesterday and agreeing personal terms.
Further payments could be made if the player makes up to 75 senior starts.
The Premier League and Football Association have approved the transfer, and the 12-goal hitman will go straight into Sven-Goran Eriksson’s squad, taking the number 27 shirt.
So the deal is concluded, and everyone goes home a winner. Right?
At first glance, the concensus was we pulled off a bit of a steal on Portsmouth by only paying half of the original agreed fee, before the plug was pulled on the original deal at virtually the last minute as the deadline drew near.
All of which resulted in the deal finally being concluded, with £3.87 up front and the remaining £3.87 to be paid in installments after 25, 50 and 75 games - which on paper looks a far better deal from our end given the age of the player, and by signing only a two and a half year deal it may be that the 75 game payment is never triggered, leading to high praise from Alistair Mackintosh and Peter Storrie justifying the deal for Portsmouth by the fact that they would still receive the full transfer amount.
Now, obviously the deal is good one from our perspective and those of us who were on the fence with the transfer initially are probably in the 'good deal' camp now, but what I cannot understand (and nothing I have read has convinced me otherwise) is how this transfer was ultimately sanctioned by the Premier League - who Mackintosh thanked for their 'hard work and pragmatism', and has led to criticism from Paul Jewell, who was unable to replace Danny Mills following his season ending injury not long after his loan spell from ourselves began.
To me, the midnight deadline is their for a reason. There could be extenuating circumstances to sanction a transfer if it was proven that there was intent all round to conclude the deal, but from what we know, Benjani arrived late to the club which led to a last minute medical which clearly highlighted a concern over his knee.
If at that point, we wanted to re-negotiate the terms of the deal, then this is a change to the original transfer terms (and that which was previously agreed by the clubs), meaning the deal as agreed is null and void, so if a new, revised agreement is not reached by the midnight deadline then surely time is up and it cannot be concluded?
Or is that too simple a point?
Throughout the whole issue, the Premier League have remained silent, something that isn't a surprise given their previous less than tough stances on issues over the years, leading you to conclude that the clubs are very much in control of matters whereas it should surely be the Premier League who arbitrate and lead the way when it comes to decision making.
Whilst Benjani will undoubtedly add something to our squad, and is likely to go straight into the starting line up on Sunday in the derby, it doesn't seem that the deal was enitrely completed 'by the book', and I can see how the manner it was concluded has caused problems within the Premier League