Kewell off to Turkey – maybe

Former Liverpool player Harry Kewell has found a new club, after becoming a free agent at the end of June when his five-year Liverpool contract ended. After being linked with a number of clubs, he has chosen to go to Turkish side Galatasaray on a three-year deal.

Or so it seemed.

Kewell - where next?The announcement was made on the Istanbul side’s official website, but now Kewell’s agent, Bernie Mandic, claims there is still some thinking to do. He told the Australian FourFourTwo that a decision should be announced tomorrow: “We have not finalised a deal for Harry and it’s down to two possibilities. People will be notified if and when Harry decides on one of the options which may be around noon on Saturday European time. We will not make any other comments until then.”

Kewell’s £60,000-a-week deal with Liverpool began when he moved from Leeds to Anfield in July 2003 in a deal brokered by Mandic. The transfer fee Liverpool paid was £5m, but the then-Leeds board were angered in that they had assumed they would be receiving that full £5m – instead they had to pay a £2m cut to Kewell’s “representatives”, according to their statement at the time. It was a controversial exit from a club he’d joined as a teenager, and as much as that angered Leeds fans his next choice of club – if it is Galatasaray – is also likely to cause some anger amongst Leeds fans. They remember their club’s last trip to Galatasaray for the wrong reasons.

In 2000 Leeds played Galatasaray in the semi-final of the UEFA Cup, but the game was marred by the murders of two Leeds supporters the night before. Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight were stabbed to death by Turkish supporters. The game went ahead despite the tragic events, Kewell playing in the 2-0 defeat.

His 2003 move to Anfield was announced in a statement by Leeds: “Leeds United confirms that it has accepted an offer from Liverpool Football Club for the transfer of Harry Kewell for £5m in cash. In order to effect the transfer, Leeds United has had to agree to pay a fee to representatives of Kewell in the sum of £2m.”

Various claims were made about how negotiations had been carried out, with Leeds hinting that they had expected £5m to be paid to them, with the £2m to be paid to Kewell’s representatives coming also from Anfield, costing Liverpool a total of £7m. However in a tight financial situation they had to accept that £3m was better than nothing, with Kewell a year away from becoming a free agent: “The board, having taken appropriate professional advice, felt that it had no option but to accept these terms given the context of Kewell’s current contract. Kewell currently has only one year remaining of his contract with Leeds United. As such he would be in a position to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club in January 2004 and leave Leeds United at the end of the 2003/4 season without any transfer fee being payable.” Continue reading Kewell off to Turkey – maybe