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Spurs miss out on Chiriches after prison intervention

ESPN staff
August 2, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Vlad Chiriches could be heading to Tottenham after all © PA Photos
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Steaua Bucharest defender Vlad Chiriches is expected to miss out on a move to Tottenham after seeing a '99 per cent completed' deal foiled by the Romanian club's imprisoned owner.

Spurs thought they had agreed a £7 million deal for Chiriches - who would reinforce Andre Villas-Boas' defensive options, especially after they sold Steven Caulker to Cardiff - before Steaua owner Gigi Becali intervened on Thursday.

Becali is currently in prison after abusing the country's land exchange system, but used his daily phone call to ring general manager Mihai Stoica and make it clear the player was absolutely not for sale.

Becali was reportedly adamant Chiriches would not be allowed to leave before Steaua's Champions League qualifier against Dinamo Tiblisi - and not before January if the club goes on to reach the group stages of the competition.

"Who are Tottenham?! Do not do any transfer, my name is Gigi Becali! I'm not a slave to anybody! We have an important game in the Champions League, why can't they wait?" Becali said, according to Stoica.

Stoica then added: "Until winter he will not leave under any circumstances. This could be a blow to Chiriches, but he should understand. He owes a lot to Steaua. Things are good, we are in qualifying for the Champions League. We are in good shape."

Chiriches' agent - who is also Becali's brother - had previously revealed that the Premier League side had upped their offer to ward off interested rivals, paving the way for a deal to be formally completed.

"[Roma] have not raised their offer of £5.7m. Tottenham, however, are now up to £7m and have taken the player," Ioan Becali said, according to the Metro. "It is at 99 per cent certain - it only lacks the signature of the boy, who will arrive soon."

That came before the call from prison, and now Chiriches will be remaining in Romania.

"It's a difficult situation for Vlad," Steaua coach Laurentiu Reghecampfs told Digisport. "We all decided that if an offer came on, he would leave after the Champions League play-off and I agreed that he should leave, but Gigi [Becali] has decided that he should stay and help us qualify for the Champions League.

"He will have to get over this and he is a boy with an incredible character, but he was affected. I'm still sure in the future he will go to a strong team from abroad."

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