The beef between the two clubs has reached a boiling point today after West Ham’s offers for the midfielder were confirmed, with Lisbon now set to report the club to UEFA for illegal approaches to their play.
Emails have since apparently proved West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan’s approach for the player, negating Lisbon’s claims that no proposal had been made. The two clubs are now suing each other – Sporting taking legal action against West Ham for illegal approaches for Carvalho, while West Ham doing the same for derogatory comments made by Sporting’s Director of Communications towards Sullivan in which he branded him a “liar”.
But where did all the beef start?
Summer – August 31
West Ham had pursued midfielder Carvalho for most of the summer, Hammers boss Slaven Bilic even stating that he was “quite confident” about the deal, though negotiations stalled following an inability to agree on a fee. The two clubs were £5m apart in their valuation of the Portuguese international, with Bilic thinking that the latest offer of £32.5m for the player would suffice.
“It’s hard to be objective,” West Ham’s manager said at the time. “But I am quite confident.”
September 1, end of transfer window
The Hammers were unable to complete the deal before the end of the transfer window. After the window shut on September 1, Sullivan told the official website that Sporting had contacted him on Thursday morning to say that they were to accept a club-record bid for the midfielder, after they had rejected a previous one, though they were unable to complete the deal as it was too close to the deadline and there was to be no time for a medical had not been carried out.
“It is no secret that we made a club record bid for Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho but unfortunately that offer was rejected a couple of weeks ago,” said Sullivan to the club’s website.
“Late last night Sporting Lisbon made contact to accept the original offer, but unfortunately it was just too late in the day, and we simply did not have enough time to put the player through a medical.”
Following Sullivan’s comments, Sporting’s Director of Communications Nuno Saraiva, who oversees deals, took to Facebook to brand the West Ham co-Chairman a “liar” and a “parasite” over the Carvalho offer. Saraiva challenged him to produce written evidence that the club had ever made a move for Carvalho, accusing West Ham of making illegal approaches for the player.
Saraiva adamantly denied claims there was any approach for the midfielder in a scathing and lengthy Facebook post. Saraiva challenged Sullivan – who made his money in the adult film industry – to provide evidence of his claims.
“David Sullivan is lying,” Saraiva said in his Facebook post. “Sporting Club de Portugal, as its Chairman has already said, has received no offer for the player William Carvalho.
“The football business is a not an adult film set on which all obscenities are allowed. This intellectual pornography is not worthy of a head of a football club.
“David Sullivan has the duty of proving what he said. Sporting Club de Portugal is challenging him to publish the proposals that he said were made, as well as the proof that Sporting CP received them.
“One thing is clear: Sporting CP, as we have said, does not cut the legs off its players. But we have nothing to do with the behaviour of business men or family members who live off the players and who go around offering them from club to club at bargain basement prices, without any mandate, as if they were cheap supermarket produce. It devalues players, it devalues the Club, and it creates unfortunate situations like this one, which has forced Sporting Club to take drastic measures to defend itself from these characters who live off some players like parasites.”
Soon after Saraiva’s comments, David Sullivan’s son Dave Sullivan Jr took to Twitter to announce that West ham were to launch legal action over Lisbon’s “parasite” comments.
West Ham are commencing legal proceedings against the communications director of sporting Lisbon as a written offer for the player was made
— DAVE SULLIVAN JNR (@DaveSulley) September 3, 2017
A few days later, West Ham president Bruno De Carvalho also dispute talk of any official offer made by West Ham for the player. He took it a step further from Saraiva and called Sullivan and Golds the “dildo brothers” in another attack on the owners.
“Where is it? Proof? Now [clubs have made] approaches, for sure. I’ve had them for almost the whole squad,” said De Carvalho to Sporting TV.
“West Ham supporters call Mr. David Sullivan and his brother the Dildo Brothers. These messengers, these offended virgins, the president of West Ham… we must tell the truth.”
Later that evening, Sky revealed leaked emails, dated August 10 and 11, that disclosed details of West Ham’s £23m offer. The leaked emails apparently showed that Sullivan made an offer to Lisbon for just under £23m for Carvalho, and then made a follow-up bid that included a 10% sell-on clause plus additional add-ons that were dependent on West Ham qualifying for the Champions League.
They appear to validate Sullivan’s claims made earlier this week that Sporting were informed of their approach for Carvalho in writing. However, the intended destination of the messages have been blacked out, while the recipients of copies have also been obscured.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 6, 2017
Sporting, however, say these emails were never received and doubt their validity.
Sporting Lisbon have since stated that they are going to take legal action against West Ham, reporting the club to UEFA following “illegal approaches” made for Carvalho, reports the Standard.
West Ham also have today stated that Lisbon’s claims are “without foundation” and stand by Sullivan’s version of events, reports The Telegraph, once again hitting back at the “attention-seeking” De Carvalho.
“This is yet another attention-seeking allegation without foundation,” a West Ham spokesperson told Press Association Sport.
The midfielder, who helped Portugal win the Euros in 2016, is a product of the Sporting academy and has scored 10 goals in 155 appearances since making his first-team debut in 2011.