The Premier League arbitration tribunal formed to decided the immediate future of Gabriel Heinze has handed down its decision and the Argentinian will not be making a move to Liverpool.
The panel backed United’s stance that they had made it explicitly clear the defender would not be allowed to join any of their rivals.
For those of you that are fluent in legalese, the League’s statement reads like this:
The hearing concluded that nature and intention of the disputed 13 June 2007 letter, especially when taken in context of verbal discussions and Manchester United FC’s transfer policy, was unambiguous in that it envisages only an international transfer.
Furthermore the hearing finds the letter constitutes an ‘agreement to agree’, and did not create an obligation or binding agreement for the club to transfer the player to any particular club.
In other words the letter is evidence of an intention to negotiate, both between the parties and with potential buying clubs, and not evidence of any intention to create legal relations.
The 29-year old Heinze is able to appeal the decision, but it is unclear whether he actually will. I would imagine because United made it a point of expressing their wishes both in writing and orally, any appeal should prove futile and its probably in the best of all parties to go about their other business.
While I liked the idea of adding Gabriel to the backline, it’s a missed chance I can live with. Heinze has had his share of unfortunate injuries recently, which makes me worry about his body being on the decline. Adding upper echelon talent like his is important and certainly would be useful in a title race, but ideally, I’d like to see Rafa bring in players who are a few years younger, with more potential for growth and a longer shelf-life.
While he’d have slotted in nicely, Heinze appears to have options in Spain (and France with Lyon, but seriously…) as there are rumors of interest from Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Where does this leave Liverpool? Are we still in the market for another defender? Are we looking for another left-sided fullback, a centerback or a utilityman?
With the transfer window set to close in ten days, we’ll have our answers soon.