RC Lens sporting director Florent Ghisolfi has confirmed that Marseille tried to force Lens’ hand during negotiations for the transfer of Jonathan Clauss (29) by creating and diffusing a fake story about the arrival of Atalanta’s Hans Hateboer (28).
However, speaking to La Voix des Sports, Ghisolfi revealed that he didn’t fall for the bluff, and even laughed at the attempted ruse during phone conversations with Marseille.
RMC Sport report that Marseille president Pablo Longoria invented a complete agreement with Hateboer and then leaked it to various media in order to sow doubt in the minds of the Lens hierarchy, as well as in Clauss himself. Whilst the ruse initially fooled Clauss, before coming to respect Lens’ stance on the transfer, it never fooled the management at the club.
Ghisolfi said, “Agents told us that they [Marseille] wanted to bring in Hateboer. With Arnaud Pouille [general director], every time that they told us that, we began laughing. We told ourselves, ‘let them do it.”
Having called their bluff, Lens secured a €9m fee for Clauss this summer, according to L’Équipe. €7.5m of that is payable over two seasons and another €1.2m in bonuses are to be paid in 2025.