Al-Ittihad ‘launch investigation’ into £25m transfer after deadline day disagreement

Jason Soutar
Jota applauds the Celtic fans after a win against St Johnstone.
Jota applauds the Celtic fans after a win against St Johnstone.

Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad are set to ‘investigate’ their €29.1million signing of ex-Celtic winger Jota, according to reports.

Jota was one of the first big-money signings made by a Saudi Arabian club this summer, joining Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante at Al-Ittihad from Celtic for a reported €29.1m (£25million).

The 24-year-old – who scored 15 goals last term – signed a four-year contract in the Middle East but it looks like he will be leaving the club in the January transfer window.

He made five league appearances before the summer transfer window closed but has not appeared since a half-hour cameo against Al-Hilal on September 1.

Remarkably, Jota was left out of Nuno Espirito Santo’s Pro League squad, meaning he can only play in cup competitions.

The reason for this is unknown, but the club’s hierarchy is hoping to get to the bottom of the failed transfer through an internal investigation.

Reports suggest the Portuguese winger wants to have his contract terminated, which would result in a very tasty pay-off.

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Saudi outlet Asharq Al-Awsat says Al-Ittihad are launching an investigation, essentially to find out who to blame for getting the signing so wrong.

The report says that the club were very close to agreeing a loan switch to league rivals Al-Ettifaq, but a move fell through in the last 30 minutes of the transfer window over a disagreement on how much they would each pay towards the player’s salary.

Any plans of a contract termination have been turned down by Al-Ittihad, though players not registered in the Saudi Pro League squad can be ‘allocated special rewards’.

An example would be a bolstered bonus for featuring in the Asian Champions League.

A move to Tottenham could be a possibility given Jota played his best football under Ange Postecoglou.

Ivan Perisic is expected to miss a large chunk of the season and the former Celtic star could be an ideal addition in the Croatian’s absence.

After Postecoglou was appointed Spurs boss, Jota said: “To a man who gave me a life opportunity, never lost belief in his philosophy and marked an era.

“I’ll forever be grateful for every moment. Best of luck gaffer!”

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