Can Departing Tottenham Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes Resurrect His Career?
The career of Gomes, a 32-year-old keeper who used to be in the Brazilian national team setup, is in freefall.
You are probably thinking: "Why is he still on the Tottenham payroll?"
Heurelho Gomes' Situation
Heurelho Gomes' Tottenham Hotspur contract snafu is as confusing as the FIFA World Cup draw, because he keeps making contradictory statements about his future.
July 21, 2013, from The Sun via Sky Sports: "I can leave on a free, even though I have a year left on my contract. I have told them I want to go."
- Gomes said he could leave on a free transfer during the summer transfer window—why didn't he?
- Is this another gentlemen's agreement with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy gone wrong?
December 3, 2013, via Michael Burton at Samba Foot: "Hoffenheim wanted to buy me permanently [during the summer transfer window] but Tottenham blocked the move for financial questions. They want to recover the €10 [£7.8] million they invested in me five years ago."
- Hoffenheim are cheap when it comes to goalkeepers, signing four of their last five shot-stoppers on permanent deals from free transfers, so they must have low-balled Levy.
- It would explain why Gomes' loan deal at Hoffenheim was not turned into a permanent one and why he was not loaned out to Hoffenheim this season.
- According to Gomes, Levy had the same stance in 2012, from The Sun via Pete O'Rourke at Sky Sports: "Atletico Mineiro wanted me, but Tottenham asked them to pay a fortune of £8 million for me and the negotiation finished."
December 3, 2013, via Michael Burton at Samba Foot: "I have negotiated with Tottenham to go for free."
- If Levy was unwilling to relinquish Gomes to Hoffenheim for a paltry transfer fee, it makes no sense for Levy to pay out the remaining months of Gomes' contract so he can leave for free in the January transfer window.
What Heurelho Gomes Should Do
If Heurelho Gomes' assertion that Tottenham Hotspur will let him move for free in the January transfer window turns out to be false, he should buy out his contract, per the Webster ruling via David Hytner at The Guardian:
Andy Webster, the 26-year-old Scotland international, who is now at Rangers, became the first player to successfully invoke Article 17 when he bought out the remaining term of his four-year contract at Hearts in moving to Wigan Athletic in 2006. Hearts received £150,000 in compensation—the value of the final year of Webster's contract.
Lee Roden at talkSPORT estimates Gomes is on £50,000 per week, and let's say his Spurs contract expires on June 1, 2014. He needs to give Spurs about £1,250,000 in return for freedom right now.
If he does not fulfill a condition required to use the Webster ruling—in 2007, then-Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc mistakenly thought he qualified to utilise the mandate—Gomes should ask Spurs to terminate his contract and agree on the club not reimbursing the salary he would have received if he ran down his contract.
It works out for both parties: Spurs get rid of a bad contract and Gomes becomes a free agent.
Heurelho Gomes Can Resurrect His Career
"The loneliness of the goalkeeper has often been exaggerated and lamented in literature, but for the goalkeeper in a declining team, loneliness is a blessing. He plays his own game and finds victories in defeats," Ronald Reng wrote in his book A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke.
This was Heurelho Gomes last season on loan at Hoffenheim. He arrived in a situation where he had leeway to fail, given the club's calamitous set of circumstances.
Gifted right-winger Boris Vukcevic almost lost his life in a car crash.
Markus Babbel had been sacked as manager and his successor, Marco Kurz, was struggling to improve results.
One of Kurz's issues was not having a viable goalkeeper.
"Tim, join us for an away trip—we take care of the booze," a banner at a Hoffenheim game read, via Stephan Uersfeld at ESPN FC, mocking Tim Wiese's alleged alcohol problems.
The other option in goals was the young Belgian Koen Casteels, but Hoffenheim management ideally wanted a No. 1 who was experienced, knowing the club may end up in a relegation play-off.
Hoffenheim were ranked 16th and had been beaten in seven of their last eight games heading into Gomes' Bundesliga debut against Freiburg.
He outperformed Freiburg's promising German youth international Oliver Baumann by making three more saves than him in Hoffenheim's 2-1 win.
In a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich, Gomes' six saves (the woodwork denied Bayern twice) ensured the score line didn't blow out to 9-2 Hamburg territory.
During a 0-0 draw against Mainz, Gomes was named the Man of The Match by Kicker.
He had the highest average Kicker performance rating (ratings from one to six, one being the best) of any Hoffenheim player.
Gomes endured tribulation, a familiar theme in his career, when a broken hand ended his Hoffenheim loan spell.
He will be watching the 2014 FIFA World Cup from the couch, but if he can conjure up the Hoffenheim Gomes for the next four years, not only will he resurrect his career, but he might be Brazil's starting keeper in their opening match at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.