It takes something special for a transfer in the NASL (the second tier of American soccer) to make headlines. With the January window open and players moving to clubs around the world for big money, the NASL obviously can't compete at a financial level with the world's top leagues, but you can't question their creativity with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers selling 25-year-old midfielder Walter Restrepo to the San Antonio Scorpions for "free lodging and transportation during Fort Lauderdale’s two road trips to San Antonio in 2014," as first reported by 90 Minutes Strong.
Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl explains how the deal came about:
I spoke to two people involved in the deal over the phone on Wednesday. The first was Bill Brendel, the general manager of the Crockett Hotel, a Scorpions sponsor which hosts all the NASL teams visiting San Antonio.
“The Scorpions reached out to us to see if we could be creative,” said Brendel, whose hotel was thanked by the Scorpions in their official press release (which has since been taken down). “It was kind of a win-win for everyone.”
Restrepo was named to the league's Best XI in 2012 before tearing his ACL. After eight months away from the pitch, he returned to have a productive 2013, so he might be a little disappointed to learn that all that hard work was only worth a few hotel rooms in San Antonio.
This is far from the strangest transfer fee world football has seen, though. In 1921, future England international Ernie Blenkinsop was sold for £100 and a barrel of beer for his teammates. In 1985, another future England star, Ian Wright was sold to Crystal Palace for a set of weights. And in 2002 Kenneth Kristensen was sold for his weight in shrimp in the Norwegian third division. Because who can say no to shrimp?
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