Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
ZIMBABWE captain Knowledge Musona is likely to have cost Belgian giants Anderlecht more than €6 million (about US$7 million), the second biggest transfer in the history of a Zimbabwean footballer, to secure his signature on a four-year deal.
Details of the financial deal which took Musona from KV Oostende to the 34-time Belgian champions have been kept a closely-guarded secret.
But a bid by the same club to get the Smiling Assassin’s signature last year casts some light on what could have changed hands between the two Belgian teams.
It has since been revealed that Anderlecht made a bid last year to try and secure Musona’s signature from KV Oostende and were told that they had to part with €6 million (about US$7 million) to get the Zimbabwe skipper.
Interestingly, the man who put that price tag on Musona’s head, Luc Devroe, who was the then KV Oostende sporting director has now taken over a similar position at Anderlecht and was crucial in bringing the Zimbabwean to the Belgian giants.
Belgian media reported that Devroe put a US$7 million price tag on Musona’s signature last year and when he crossed the floor to join Anderlecht, he then decided to try, and succeeded, in completing the deal.
Devroe also lured Croatia defender Antonio Milic from KV Oostende to Anderlecht.
Belgian billionaire, Marc Couke, was the chairman and main shareholder at KV Oostende when the club invested in the services of Musona after acquiring him from German side for €500 000.
Last December, Coucke, took over Anderlecht in what represented a huge move for him and brought with him his tried-and-tested sporting director Devroe.
The duo also felt they needed to invest in the players who had served them very well during their days at KV Oostende and one of them was Musona who completed his four-year deal on Wednesday.
“Proud and happy for the transfer of Knowledge Musona to Anderlecht! @rscanderlecht #ProsportManagement #HarWord to reach his full and great potential @KMusonaofficial,” Musona’s agent Paschalis Tountouris said on his Twitter account.
Apparently, the move by Musona and Milic to Anderlecht was well known in the Belgian media before it was even sealed.
“Neither Anderlecht nor Ostend wants to confirm the transfer of Antonio Milic to the capital, but the newspapers do not doubt,” the Belgian media reported.
“Knowledge Musona will soon follow.
“Marc Coucke sold KVO (KV Oostende) last winter at a friend’s price to his friend Peter Callant. The newspaper assumes that Coucke can therefore take over Milic and Musona for a small transfer price.
“The value of Milic is estimated at one and a half to two million euros. For Musona Luc Devroe asked six million euros a year ago.’’
Musona’s move could also open possibilities for a transfer to Newcastle United given there are strong links between the two clubs with Anderlecht providing the English Premiership club with Aleksander Mitrovic who was later loaned to Fulham where he exploded last season.
Benjani Mwaruwari, another former Warriors skipper, holds the record for the record transfer figure for a Zimbabwean after he was acquired by Manchester City for £9.5 million (about US$12 million) from Portsmouth in January 2008.
“I sold Benjani to Man City when I was at Portsmouth for £9, 5 million, which was quite a decent amount for him,” former Pompey manager Harry Redknapp told BT Sport.
“I said Benjie you have got to go to Man City, won’t you and he said I like it here boss I want to stay, then I told him no, no you have got to. Man City is a big club you will love it in Manchester. I had to shove him out of the door.
“He gets to the airport, he was going to get onto the plane, he let one plane go, two planes go, I was asking him Benjie what are you doing, he gets onto the last plane and gets to Manchester at 10:15. Eriksson was the manager at Man City and only he could pay £9.5 million for Benjani.
‘’I was sitting and waiting for the fee to come. I loved him he was a great lad, he was descent, but £9,5m? It got through by about one minute.”
Benjani had also cost Pompey a then club record £4.1 million to get him from French club Auxerre.
It has already been revealed that Club Brugge paid about US$3.34 million to secure the signature of Zimbabwean midfielder Marvelous Nakamba from his Dutch club last year.
Nakamba helped Brugge win the Belgian league championship this year.
Club Brugge, the 15-time Belgian champions, also revealed they beat rivals Anderlecht who had shown interest in securing the signature of the rising Zimbabwean midfielder.
Anderlecht are the most successful Belgian club in European competitions having won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup twice in 1976 and 1978 and the UEFA Cup in 1983.
They also won the UEFA Super Cup twice in 1976 and 1978 and have a bigger profile than Club Brugge in the game around the world having also been the home for such prominent players like Everton’s Romelo Lukaku, Senegalese skipper Cheikh Kouyate, who plays for West Ham and Zambian football legend Charles Musonda.
“Concrete interest (from) Fenerbahçe and, to a lesser extent, Anderlecht, but Marvelous Nakamba chooses an adventure at Club Brugge,’’ the Belgian club said.
‘’He is only 23 years but has already had two strong seasons as a controller in the centre of Vitesse. With Nakamba, Club (Brugge) has the best first-class ball-packer in the Dutch first class. With 291 recoveries, he was better than players like Eric Botteghin (286), Kamohelo Mokotjo (284) and Karim El Ahmadi (234).
“In addition, Nakamba is a real force power. Our newcomer has won more duels and tackles since the start of the 2015-2016 football season than any other midfielder in the Eredivisie.”