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Al-Thani: "A lot of clubs are trying to profit from our situation"

Stock photo of Sheikh Al-Thani attending a home game.
Stock photo of Sheikh Al-Thani attending a home game. / Ñito Salas
  • The Malaga president this week granted a rare interview to Marca, saying that sales would be completed soon to raise "around 20 million euros"

The new Segunda campaign gets under way for Malaga this Saturday and yet the squad is no nearer to completion.

At the time of going to print, Malaga have been the least active side in the division in the transfer market, signing just one player, Shinji Okazaki on a free transfer from Leicester City.

However, the problem lies much deeper than a lack of new players. Two weeks ago, La Liga announced in a statement to agents that Malaga were unable to register any new players, having surpassed the league wage cap. As it stands, Okazaki still cannot be registered and the club is facing a race against the clock to get its affairs in order before the close of the transfer window at the end of the month.

Club president Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani is conscious of the growing unease around the club with fans directing their anger at him for his inactivity, refusing to sign off on the departures of several players which would have eased the paralysis around the club. As SUR in English reported last week, Al-Thani went on the charm offensive on Twitter (and later in a club statement) assuring those connected to the club that "everything will be resolved soon".

However, this week, he took it one step further, granting a rare interview to Spanish football newspaper Marca.

"I want to make it clear to everyone that Malaga CF is my family, my blood, and that I'm not here to make money and sell the club to the highest bidder. Malaga CF is not a toy for me. I have other businesses but I'm working 24 hours a day - my phone is never off," he said.

When questioned over his reluctance to sign off on big-money departs for Jony (to Lazio), Javi Ontiveros (to Villarreal) and Federico Ricca (to Bruges), the sheikh's response was: "There are a lot of agents pressuring me to sign off immediately but I'm always looking for better conditions."

However, Al-Thani promised that there would be movement imminently: "It's true that there have been a lot of delays but in the next two days we will complete the first sales and loans.

"There are a lot of clubs out there looking to profit from our situation and are making insulting offers for some of our players. [...] But I believe that from two or three [upcoming] sales, we can bring in around 20 million euros."

In the case of Jony's long-awaited move to Lazio, Al-Thani's lawyers have been looking into the terms of his contract and believe that the Roman side must pay the player's 12-million-euro release clause if he is to leave. This is because despite him having a clause that allows him to join a top-division side on a free loan while Malaga are in the second tier, his contract with the Blue and Whites will come to an end at the end of the loan deal, therefore allowing him to join Lazio on a free transfer.

This approach yielded results in the case of the Ricca move to Bruges. The deal only went through on Tuesday after the Belgian side paid a three-million-euro transfer fee.

As for Ontiveros, Al-Thani continues to insist he has received an offer from an overseas club for the winger. He hopes that this interest can help the club to receive a higher fee for who last season was their best player.