One such transfer saga involved the young and talented Ansu Fati, who had the football world on the edge of their seats with talks of a move to Tottenham Hotspur. However, a surprising twist in the tale saw him don the blue and white stripes of Brighton & Hove Albion instead. Guillem Balague and David Ornstein, two renowned football pundits, provided contrasting accounts of how this transfer unfolded, shedding light on the intriguing behind-the-scenes negotiations.
According to BBC Sport’s Guillem Balague, the transfer of Ansu Fati took an unexpected turn when he engaged in a ‘long chat’ with Spurs’ manager, Ange Postecoglou, before joining Brighton. Balague initially indicated that Tottenham was the favored destination for the young prodigy, and a deal between the player and the club seemed imminent. Brighton manager Roberto de Zerbi, however, emerged as a persuasive force in this transfer saga, convincing Fati that his future lay on the south coast of England. De Zerbi assured Fati that he was a pivotal part of Brighton’s long-term plans. Balague shared these insights, stating:
“Tottenham were favorites to sign him, and a deal was close to being done after Ansu had a long chat with manager Ange Postecoglou. Ultimately though, it was the persuasive skills of Brighton coach Roberto de Zerbi that brought him to the south coast of England. The two men hit it off right from the start, and what pleased Ansu was that De Zerbi took time to explain to him that he considered him to be very much part of his plans.”
David Ornstein, in contrast to Balague’s account, presented a different narrative of how Ansu Fati’s transfer unfolded. Ornstein’s version suggested that it was Tottenham Hotspur who decided not to sign the promising young player. Ornstein disclosed that Tottenham had indeed been offered the opportunity to sign Fati, with several clubs, including Chelsea, expressing interest in the player. However, it was Spurs’ manager, Ange Postecoglou, who opted to pursue a different type of forward, shifting his focus to Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson. Ornstein shared his insights on The Athletic Football Podcast, saying:
“Clearly Ansu Fati was seen as Xavi and Barcelona as among the names they were willing to part with. A number of clubs were offered him, including Tottenham and Chelsea. They considered it. In the case of Tottenham, Ange Postecoglou was keen to pursue a different profile of forward. It appears that is Brennan Johnson from Nottingham Forest.”
In the end, Tottenham Hotspur opted to sign Brennan Johnson from Nottingham Forest for a reported fee of £47.5 million on deadline day. Ansu Fati’s journey to the Premier League took a different route, ultimately landing him at Brighton & Hove Albion.