Marquinhos to Arsenal. Is it really true that Arsenal could face a transfer ban?

By Tony Attwood

In one sense the tale of Arsenal facing a transfer ban is of course true, in that Arsenal, like any other club COULD face a transfer ban, but the question that is much more realistic is, “are Arsenal likely to face a transfer ban?”  

To give the background, the comment “Arsenal could face transfer ban if legal battle over Marquinhos swoop turns sour” turned up in the Daily Mirror, and it was a story they were so keen on promoting that they went for it twice within a few hours, the other headline reading, “Wolves seeking legal action over Arsenal’s controversial Marquinhos transfer.”

Indeed Reach plc (who own the Mirror) didn’t stop there as they also rushed out the story on Football.London “Arsenal have first signing guarantee as Wolves take ‘legal action’ on Edu transfer after medical”

The story initially was given a big push on

OK that one gets a bit boring after a few seconds, as it becomes very obvious that this is not the official Arsenal TV channel that it proclaims.   So you might care to look at some actual video of the player…

So are Arsenal pushing ahead with a transfer that is going to get them into a legal battle?

Such a story has not taken hold elsewhere as yet.  The Express has it but none of the slightly more believable sites are touching it… although one can understand why the Mirror has it, because it fits in with their constant narrative of Arsenal a club always in total chaos.

And, just to clarify, the Express, the other paper running the “Arsenal to be sued” story is, like www.Football.London and the Mirror, owned by Reach plc.

So here is the horror story as covered by a growing number of bits of the media owned by Reach plc:

“Arsenal could potentially face a transfer ban as their pursuit of Brazilian wonderkid Marquinhos threatens to turn into a lengthy legal battle.”

The optimum words here are “could potentially” – and you’ll notice the redundancy there – in that sentence “could” and “potentially” mean the same thing which is basically “might”.

The piece was written by David Orme who is described on Linked In as a “Trainee Writer with Football.London.”   Which maybe explains how he got this story.  If it ever were to blow up in the Mirror’s face, the paper could sacrifice the innocent lamb and claim it was just an office junior not writing properly.

We also almost get a “spotted at the airport” fantasy with “the 19-year-old having said to have travelled to London to complete a medical and agreed to a deal.”

According to Yahoo Sports in Brazil, Wolverhampton W are seeking advice from a legal firm in Brazil to take action against the player.

So let’s try and work this out.

Sao Paulo is the third most popular club in Brazil, for whom Marquinhos plays, and the club claim that they had agreed a five-year contract with the young man (whom the Mirror rename “the talent” in the course of their article).   However a FIFA ruling means the deal will expire this summer and he’s free to sign for another club – which is set to be Arsenal.   

But here’s the problem (which the Mirror and other “sources”) really don’t touch on at all.

Marquinhos signed a five year contract with Sao Paulo, which is perfectly legal in Brazil.  And that is a good deal for both sides because it means that no other Brazilian club can come along and poach the player during that period.

But (and this is the bit that most of the media in England are not quite getting) Fifa only recognises contracts of up to three years for junior players.   Which means that on 1 June this year Marquinhos can leave on a free if he wants to go outside Brazil.

However it would be conventional for Arsenal to pay something to Sao Paulo in order to maintain good relations with the club for the future, and this is expected to happen when the player signs on or soon after 1 June.

All of which means that any agreement Wolverhampton had with the player and/or Sao Paulo could only be a gentleman’s agreement.  Sao Paulo are quite likely looking to get a bit more money out of the deal by playing one club against the other, but Arsenal have three key cards they can play.

First, Martinelli is at Arsenal, and aside from being a fellow Brazilian, he has been a sensation this season, and Arsenal have shown their willingness to play him.  Wolverhampton have Marcal but he is 33 and not an international, so is less of an attraction for Marquinhos.

Second, they are a bit name club, and third they are playing in the Europa League which will give Marquinhos a chance to get the occasional game

But let’s go back to the precedent that is being quoted as the grounds for Wolverhampton’s legal action in regard to the player.  On 29 April 2020, it was revealed that Gueye had agreed to join Watford when his contract with Le Havre expired on 1 July 2020 and Gueye signed a pre-contract agreement.  Subsequently, Gueye changed his agent, who then took him out of that arranged deal, transferring him to Marseille instead.   Marseille were then banned from making transfers for a year, but the case is now the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and the ban has been postponed.

So the only similarity there seems to be is in the fact that both players are Brazillian.  The contractual arrangements are completely different, but that doesn’t stop the media claiming that “Wolves are reportedly considering legal action against Arsenal.”

14 Replies to “Marquinhos to Arsenal. Is it really true that Arsenal could face a transfer ban?”

  1. sorry, but i’m not a lawyer nor a legal expert so don’t really know what’s right or wrong about player agreement and contract. on other hand, when you embedded that 1st video here, not only you promoting a fake content and misinformation video but also increasing that video views revenue

  2. this Marquinhos kid playing styles is quite similar to Vini Jr. and Rodrygo. could be future gems and with low fee transfer it can turn out to be shrewd business. Wolves could atleast offer couple of millions to Sao Paulo as compensation and no wonder Sao Paulo choose the club that offer them couple of mills

  3. **** wolves. Why would he want to go from one Favela in Brazil to another in England?

  4. Not quite sure when you say that it could only be a gentleman’s agreement is correct. If the 5 year contract is not recognised then from January surely he was able to enter negotiations along the lines of Bosman ?

    Even then if there was indeed a written agreement that is worthless unless it details terms and conditions ?

    But what I don’t get if he is a free agent in just a few weeks why would Arsenal agree to pay a fee ?

  5. I’ve not seen a mention of Arsenal potentially facing a transfer ban in the 2 articles attached. I’ve seen articles elsewhere on the player having a pre-contract agreement with Wolves but it’s here that I’ve seen mentions of potential transfer ban for Arsenal. Untold even made it the headline.

    To make it the headline and push it as part of Untold’s continued assault on negative press coverage of Arsenal when it’s not even a ongoing narrative in the media is purely disingenuous. It’s tapping into readers perceived unfair treatment of Arsenal by the press for the sake of manufacturing or sustaining rage. It can sustain readership now that there is very little football going on but I think untold can do better.

  6. @Jack,

    Wh don’t you deploy your ‘rage’ against Untold and Tony somewhere else ?!?!
    Over 15 + years, I can’t remember often that what he wrote was wrong. Starting from there, your instincts ought to tell you to be more prudent when accusing him of fabricating false news. Odds are in massively in his favour. And if he has been proven wrong, he’s always been gentlemanly about it.

    And why in the world, may I ask, are you reading untold who manufactures and sustains rage ?!? Better read some of the outlets you’ll find as they don’t do this but propagate lies, half-truths and fantasy along a total incompetence in all matters football.

  7. @West Stand Lower,

    If I understood it right, Marquinhos plays in Sao Paulo. This seems like out of range for Bosman. So probably the rule of law in Brazil is the issue.
    Added to that, no one asks any question about UK immigration. he is 19, so there are some limitations. Maybe he’ll have to be loaned out to a european club a couple of years until he gets some international call-ups ? Maybe a refresher course on Untold on the rules would be selcome… ;=)

    Talking about Bosman, now that England is not part of Europe anymore, wonder how that would play out in front of a court ? How is the situation in England about contract personnel for a limited period of time ? because this is what footballers are.

  8. Jack, given that (as far as I know) we have never met, how can you possibly know what my motives were in writing the piece? What evidence do you have that it was written “for the sake of manufacturing or sustaining rage”?

    I can tell you, since I have a fairly decent grip on what is going on in my mind, that it wasn’t. So how can you be so sure that I have no idea what I am actually thinking?

  9. Essentially what he is saying is an agreement would be needed from club as under Brazilian rules he was contracted. In the article it said they were going to Brazilian court to have it enforced but as wolves had no agreement with the club there’s nothing to enforce because the Brazilian system considers him under contract. Arsenal wasn’t trying to be snide and made an offer to the club who then can release player to Arsenal. Seems to me wolves were trying get player over here and then negotiate terms to legitimise what they were doing I suspect without possession of the player they have very few grounds to complain.

  10. I shall keep a sharp eye out in future for Mr David Orme, who I’ve never seen a picture of but for some reason I imagine him to look around 14 years old with a face full of acne. I can see a big future for him somewhere in the journalistic field, a potential Peter Batt or Harry Harris in the making?

  11. I think he’s 24 years old. He seems to be a “Trainee Football Trends Writer” and is a “First-class honours Football Journalism graduate”. He also seems to be a Leicester City supporter.

  12. seems like this deal is a green light, taking into account if this article ‘Sao Paulo chief hails Arsenal director Edu over Marquinhos deal’ from 101 great goals has any truth in it

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