L’Équipe have provided an update on the contract situation concerning 21-year-old central midfielder Pape Gueye. It emerged last week that the current Le Havre man had signed two other pre-contracts before signing with Watford in January, with his contract with the Ligue 2 side expiring in June.
The outlet reports that Valencia have been engaged in an intense seduction operation to try to sign the player, despite the fact that Premier League side Watford officially confirmed Gueye’s move on a 5-year contract. Last summer, the Spanish side and Gueye were close to an agreement, with Valencia having a bid formally rejected by Le Havre.
Paul Le Guen, fresh through the door, made it a condition on his arrival that Gueye would not be sold, despite only having 12 months remaining on his current contract. In return, he provided the player with the most amount of playing time that he has ever had in his professional career over the course of this season.
HAC did not want to lose the player on a free transfer and were therefore of a mind to try to sell him in January only to see him be loaned back to them for 18 months, similar to what they did with Tino Kadewere, who moved to Lyon at the beginning of the year before returning on loan until June.
Le Havre reached out to PSG and Lyon about a deal, but neither of the sides responded. HAC knew that from 1st January 2020 that Gueye was able to sign a pre-contract with any club of his choosing. And on 15th January, he signed a 5-year deal with Watford.
From the beginning of the January window, the English club went on the offensive, hoping to beat Valencia, who had for a long period of time been in pole position. The Hornets see the player as a long-term successor to Étienne Capoue (who is under contract with them until 2022). They like his long-ball game, his ability to make something out of nothing in tight spaces like Paul Pogba. They gave him a comfortable signing bonus – Gueye appeared convinced, the Premier League is a division that he loves.
But his family and entourage then reportedly heard that he could have earned a lot more money by signing somewhere else. This idea rapidly permeated the minds of the player and his father. One month and a half later, they decided that they wanted to change agent and destination.
Their new representative, lawyer Pierre-Henri Bovis, is trying to break the agreement with Watford. The problem? The FA ratified his Watford contract months ago.
Contacted by L’Équipe, Pape Gueye’s former player refused to make any comment: “in the name of the friendship of 30 years that ties me to the father of Pape.”