By Nurudeen Obalola:
Nigerian scoring sensation Adeleke Akinyemi is involved in an ugly battle with his Latvian club FK Ventspils as he seeks a move away, Complete Sports has been exclusively informed.
Akinyemi, 19, has emerged as one of the top youngsters in Europe with 13 goals in 18 games, 11 goals in his last 10, including six in two UEFA Europa League clashes with Albania’s Luftetari and one against Bordeaux in the same competition.
The youngster’s form has understandably attracted the interest of a slew of more prosperous clubs in Europe, but Ventspils are unwilling to let him go.
The club have been accused of being behind reports in Latvia claiming Akinyemi has disappeared because of a desire to force a move.
The club also claim that Akinyemi has four more years in his contract, but the teenage striker’s representatives are claiming that it is the club that is playing dirty.
“They are writing rubbish about Akinyemi,” one of the youngster’s representatives told Complete Sports. “But the true situation is that the boy has a €300,000 release clause in the contract he signed early this year. Few days ago, they wanted to force him to sign a new contract with the same terms as the old one, but with the release clause removed.”
The representative, who does not want to be named for now because the matter could go to litigation, claims up to 15 clubs have offered to activate the release clause and buy Akinyemi.
“They are threatening the boy to sign the contract. But there are clubs like Bordeaux, Young Boys, Trabzonspor, Maccabi Netanya, Brondby, IK Start all ready to pay the value of the release clause.
“But Ventspils are now demanding €1.5m, which is five times his release clause. They have now embarked on a campaign to tarnish Akinyemi’s image. They declared him missing but he is hiding because of their threat.
“We have given them conditions for him to return. We have insisted that they should sign an undertaking that nothing harmful will happen to Akinyemi if he returns to them. They don’t want to sign this undertaking.”
Akinyemi’s case is similar to that of Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi who was involved in an ugly transfer tussle between Norwegian club Lyn Oslo, Chelsea and Manchester United.
Mikel eventually joined Chelsea after having been unveiled by Manchester United. He missed almost a full season of football before the issue was resolved.