PORTO/ST PETERSBURG: Hulk, the Brazilian forward who starred in their defeat in the Olympic Games final, has been sold by FC Porto to Zenit St Petersburg for E42m rising to E62m with possible achievement bonuses writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

But questions may yet be asked over his transfer status after investigations in South America into the original ownership of the player’s contract. That may be an interesting first test of the clean-up intentions of Nikolai Tolstykh who was elected, only hours earlier, as new president of the Russian Football Union.

Hulk had been linked with several English clubs during the summer including, most notably, Chelsea. The European champions baulked at the fee demanded.

While in London Hulk, who has scored five goals in 14 games for Brazil, met Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas under whom he had starred when Porto won the Europa League and Portuguese league and cup double in 2011.

Hulk – full name Givanildo Vieira de Souza – made his name as a teenager with Vitoria of Salvador then moved to Japan in 2005 with Kawasaki Frontale and on to Tokyo Verdy in 2007. He scored 54 goals in 103 league matches in Japan before transferring to Porto in 2008.

Porto bought a part-share in Hulk for a sum variously reported at between E5m and E15m, paid over three years to the Uruguayan club Rentistas. The Montevideo side apparently held joint ownership of the player along with another investor even though he never played not only not for Rentistas but never even in Uruguay.

World federation FIFA has been studying details of that transfer- plus others – since early this year. ‘Hidden’ ownership of a player is forbidden under the Transfer Matching System regulations which has been in place for the past two years. The computerised system depends on full agreement on all details by both selling and purchasing club: hence any infringements of the regulations suggests full knowledge of all details of the deal by both parties.

In February this year Rentistas president Mario Bursztyn said that the deal had involved a company owned by player agent Juan Figer called Lamico to which the club paid a monthly commission.

Zenit were negotiating to buy not only Hulk from Porto but, in another Portuguese swoop, also Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel from Benfica. A €25m bid for Manchester United winger Nani was apparently turned down as insufficient by Old Trafford manager Sir Alex Ferguson.


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