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Stalled Celtic transfer deal opens up can of worms

Ismaila Soro’s proposed transfer to Valenciennes appears to have opened up a can of worms in the secretive world of agents.

Ben Chorley is at the centre of the issue, a former Arsenal youth team captain who turned up at the French Second Division side in June as Sporting Director after a brief spell in a similar role at Swindon Town.

The introduction of Sporting Directors should cut out a few layers in transfer business but it is being reported that with Soro’s move almost completed Chorley tried to bring an English based agent into proceedings.

Generally in international transfers agents will team up with one at each end of the deal with the commission split however they wish.

In Soro’s case it seems that his move from Celtic was being completed by an agent registered with the French Federation before it suddenly stalled close to completion at the Valenciennes end.

French site Foot Mercato reports:

Decidedly, this story is far from having given its last word. As we told you a few days ago, an incredible imbroglio took place between Celtic Glasgow and Valenciennes regarding the transfer of Ismaila Soro.

While the Ivorian player agreed to join the VAFC, the club would have, according to our information, decided to dismiss the player’s French agent in order to place an English intermediary on the file.

An illegal practice in France and following which the agent in question who is affiliated with the FFF can file a complaint. With this last detail, Ben Chorley, inducted last June to his post of sports director, ran the risk of putting a flea in the ear of the Federation.

And according to our latest indiscretions, the latter risks seizing the case and investigating Ben Chorley’s methods. Definitely complicated beginnings for the former English defender.

Soro appears to have been left in limbo with the terms of his move from Celtic agreed but not yet signed off.

After losing their opening Ligue 2 match 4-1 at home to Auxerre on Saturday Chorley will be under some pressure to get the Soro deal resolved, an investigation during the busiest period of transfer activity would be deeply damaging.

Celtic signed Soro from Israeli side Bnei Yehuda in January 2020 but he had to wait until September of that year for his first appearance.

Starting the dead rubber Europa League tie against Lille alongside David Turnbull there were high hopes for the Ivorian but that seemed based on the despondency that was around under Neil Lennon during the Lockdown season.

After a few early appearances under Ange Postestecoglou the new Celtic boss restocked his midfield in January 2022 with Reo Hatate, Yosuke Ideguchi and Matt O’Riley.

Last season Soro was a regular on loan at Portuguese side Arouca, despite helping them to qualify for a place in the UEFA Conference qualifiers there has been no suggestion of making the move permanent.

With his Celtic contract expiring at the end of this season it seems that the 25-year-old has decided to get out playing again rather than hanging on for every payment in his contract.

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