Dutch agent Rob Jansen has revealed how former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein sealed a £36million deal to sell Marc Overmars to Barcelona – by giving the Catalan club Emmanuel Petit for free.
Jansen, who has just brokered Ronald Koeman’s contract to become the boss at the Nou Camp, recalled how Dein exploited a election promise made by Jean Gaspart in 2000 when he was bidding to become Barca president.
Gaspart had assured fans that he would sign flying Dutch winger Overmars and French midfielder Petit from the Gunners if they voted for him.
Jansen said: “When Gaspart won, he immediately took a private jet to London and went straight to the house of Dein.
“I was there too because I had prepared the contract for Overmars.
“When it came to the financial part, Gaspart asked Dein how much he wanted for Overmars and Petit.
“He was shocked when David asked for £36million because it was a world record.
“So Gaspart looked at Dein and ‘so how much do I have to pay if I don’t take Petit?’
“Stone faced, Dein said ‘I want the same amount. You can have Petit for free!
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“That may sound a bit painful for Petit now, but it was a world-class piece of business by Dein.
“He struck a major deal and that is how Overmars became the world’s most expensive player at that moment.
“Gaspart knew he had to agree. He could only fly back to Spain if he had both players with him. He had promised them to the fans.”