Wheelers and dealers: Manchester law firm oversee Mario Balotelli, Wilfried Zaha and Philippe Coutinho transfers

By Henry Vaughan

The city’s biggest football clubs may not have seen much business during a tame January transfer winow but a Manchester law firm had a busier month than Harry Redknapp himself.

The Sports Law team at Brabners Chaffe Street have been advising on a number of high-profile domestic and international transfers including Mario Balotelli’s £20million move to AC Milan on Wednesday.

Manchester United were advised by the firm on their £15million acquisition of Wilfried Zaha and loan-back to Championship side Crystal Palace, while the team acted for Liverpool FC in securing a work permit for Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho — to allow him to make an £8.5million move from Inter Milan to Anfield.

Matthew Bennett, a Partner in the firm’s Sports department, said: “The January transfer window provides an opportunity for clubs to make improvements to their squads midway through the season.

“As with previous January windows, we worked on a number of loans as well as some of the major transfers including a number of international deals in which we are particularly experienced.”

Other work permit activity included securing FA approvals for Wigan Athletic’s Honduran international signing, Roger Espinoza, from Sporting Kansas City, and for Hull City’s Egyptian internationals, Gedo and Ahmed Fathi.

Off the pitch, the team were even involved in the managerial merry-go-round, advising on Bolton’s appointment of Dougie Freedman, Blackburn Rovers’ appointment of Michael Appleton and Southampton’s controversial appointment of Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino.

Other international deals included Tottenham Hotspur’s signing of German international Lewis Holtby from Schalke 04, Newcastle United’s acquisition of Moussa Sissoko from Toulouse FC, the transfer of Norwegian Vegard Forren from Molde FK to Southampton and Loïc Rémy’s move to QPR from Marseille.

Players advised on contract extensions were Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross and England U19 and Middlesbrough goalkeeper Connor Ripley.

Picture courtesy of James Boyes, with thanks.

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