Jean-Gerard Benoit Czajka has been Victor Osimhen’s agent since he was 14 and he moved him to Wolfsburg, Charleroi and then Lille before he was sacked by the player during negotiations for the transfer to Napoli.
He has given reasons why he will now drag Osimhen, Napoli and Lille to court should he not be paid five million Euros for the work he did for the striker to sign for the Italian club.
In this most revealing interview, he also gave a great insight to this much-talked about transfer.
QUESTION: How many years have you worked with Victor Osimhen?
Officially, I signed my first mandate with him and his father, I think he was 16 years old, it was well before the 2015 World Cup in Chile, where he shone. In fact, I have been working with him since the age of 14 with my partners.
How did you get to know him?
It is thanks to my associates in Nigeria. It is especially Shira Yussuf (Editor’s note: one of them) who discovered him at the age of 14, he alerted me about him promptly.
Thereafter, we contacted Emmanuel Amuneke, then coach of the country’s U17s. We told him: “Go see this youngster, he’s a phenomenon”.
We insisted, he saw him and then gave him a chance in his team.
How did Osimhen get to Europe?
Before the 2015 World Cup, we offered him all over Europe, but to no success … And then after the 2015 World Cup, everyone was calling me, but he could have left Africa at a very affordable price. When he exploded in Chile, interest skyrocketed.
Finally, I got him signed when he turned 18 at Wolfsburg, and after Charleroi then in Lille, and finally 99% in Napoli …
So, what happened that you weren’t by his side at the last moment (for Napoli transfer)?
Good question … With my partner (Editor’s note: Didier Fresnay), when everything was going to happen, we were suddenly dismissed to be replaced by a new agent (Editor’s note: William D’Avila) …
July 13 in the morning , Victor asked me to accompany him to Naples to finalise everything. I said, “Ok”, but my flight to Naples was finally full and I couldn’t get there.
Fortunately, moreover, because Lille had chartered him a private flight to go to Sardinia, to Olbia, where the two club presidents were present. He couldn’t sign without me.
What was your reaction?
My lawyers sent an email to Victor, Napoli and LOSC. And on July 14, I in turn received an email “stopping abruptly and without cause” my mandate of representation with Victor Osimhen, which is in effect until January 2021.
While the two clubs had agreed on the terms of the transfer weeks before, and all the details of Victor’s contract were known, the player had his medical visit in Rome during the week. Which is no doubt that his contract was signed with Napoli …
One of the reasons given in the media for your sack was that you preferred to negotiate bonuses for yourself. What do you have to say to that?
These are nonsense that they put in the head of the player.
We have correspondences from Napoli, there is a guaranteed commission that we received by email from Mr. Giuntoli (Editor’s note: the Sporting Director of Napoli) of 5M € for the work done, which constitutes about 8% of the total gross contract negotiated.
We were far from negotiating personal bonuses as Victor told the press!
Obviously, I am aware that this may seem important to ordinary people, but it is a work of many years, of personal sacrifices which have resulted today in making Victor Osimhen the player he has become, and so the value he now has in the market! And when everything is going to be realised, we are replaced by a new agent!
Can you tell us behind the scenes of the negotiations with the Serie A club?
We have been in contact with them since March. With the Covid-19, we finally managed to see each other at the end of May, early June in Monaco with Giuntoli and then we moved with the player at the beginning of July to Naples.
To be clear, if we were in Italy it was because the two clubs have had an agreement for a long time and they told us so.
I think that Lille were not happy that Victor came back (from Naples) without signing his contract.
They had a knife under the throat by the DNCG (for their professional license).
Did you conduct all the discussions with Napoli?
Yes, and to be honest, Victor did not want to go to Italy. From the start, he has been stuck against the idea of playing in Serie A. He told me that racism issues scared him and that he didn’t feel like moving.
He even told me in March-April: “I don’t want to go and play in Italy even if it’s for Juventus at € 10 million net per year”.
How then did you manage to convince him?
I told Victor that before having such strong ideas, that he had to travel to see for himself, meet people, talk with players who are confronted with racism, etc. … Something that we finally did on July 1, 2 and 3 where we met the coach, the sports director, as well as the president De Laurentiis, who is a man with values and experience, and who seemed to have convinced the player.
Victor also spoke a lot with Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal international defender) and this was decisive in his choice of Napoli.
And then, we imagine that there is also the financial aspect …
Yes, it must also be said, when a big club like Napoli offer you a starting place, with a contract of around 30M € net of taxes (over 6 years), it helps to make a decision at 21!
While you explain to us that for you everything is recorded, the transfer of the player is not yet being made official. What is your reading of this?
What I understand is that they are trying to justify “the work” of the “new agent”, having resumed negotiations from the start.
I am in a hurry to discover the final contract signed by Victor, and to compare it with what we had done with Napoli formally.
On the morning of July 13, Luis Campos and Gérard Lopez contacted me by phone, strongly recommending that I negotiate with this new agent, otherwise, according to them, “I risked losing everything …” For me, Osimhen signed on the 14th, 15th or 16th (July).
You can’t buy a € 60 million player by having him undergo his medical examination without having already signed his contract.
You know Victor Osimhen well, do you think he really understands everything that is happening around him?
There is a lot of pressure. He certainly lost his footing. There’s this William D’Avila who must have been wooing him for a while.
Maybe he told him that he could get him a better deal.
I see him on July 9 in Paris to make a point, on the 13th, he tells me to take the plane to join him, while the new agent is there … It is not possible because it is us who did all the work.
And you do not go twice to Naples, in particular to Sardinia, without having signed contract.
What is your position regarding a possible reconciliation?
We have always worked honestly with Victor, which many agents cannot say, we are within our rights. And if we have to go to court to save face, we’ll go … I would add that in my opinion, we do not go before an organization as serious as the DNCG without providing evidence that the operation of “flagship” sale of the summer will be formalised.
We are quiet. My lawyers have all the documents on the work done. I will therefore assert my rights in court. Afterwards, it is very likely that I can be offered a compensation, which I will not accept.
You have known Victor since the age of 14, from a human angle, do you feel any bitterness after so many years being with him?
This isn’t the first time this has happened in football, and it won’t be the last time, though.
I am lucky to be a structured person and to have some resources, so I will go to the end, if only for all these agents who are victims of similar situations, but who cannot defend themselves and who lose the fruit of all their work for years …
Adapted from France Football