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Bruce Djite – Archie the second

If the tetchy negotiations and media blurtings surrounding Bruce Djite’s imminent overseas move appear somewhat familiar, there’s a good reason.

A little over two years ago, a similar situation was playing itself out in Melbourne, with Archie Thompson desperate to jump ship to PSV Eindhoven, where Guus Hiddink – his national team boss at the time – was supposedly going to lick him into shape for the 2006 World Cup. As it happened, of course, Thomspon was a complete cipher both with PSV and the national team in Germany…not that he could have known this at the time.

Like Thompson, Djite has taken an unseemly swipe at his A-League employers, and like Thompson, Djite has now gotten his European wish. But although the hasty press dash by Adelaide’s CEO looks like a cave-in on Adelaide’s part, they may in fact have done a neat bit of business.

Melbourne Victory’s steadfastness in the Thompson case was perceived by many, at the time, as arrogant and self-defeating intransigence. In hindsight, it seems fairly clear that they actually provided a good example to other A-League clubs in dealing with the European market: they refused to be bullied into releasing their prime asset on unfavourable terms.

Adelaide United appear to have learned the lesson well.

Whether Bruce Djite is a prized asset for Adelaide is open to debate. Personally, I would rate him as promising, but a long way from the finished article. Yet Djite clearly considers himself a rare catch, and Adelaide, by their not-so-subtle initial over-valuing of the Olyroo striker, have craftily conveyed that impression as well.

And consider this for a moment: Djite has had only two injury-interrupted seasons with Adelaide, he has yet to establish himself in the senior international side, and he had only a year of his contract left to run. Given all of the above, the rumoured $500,000 transfer fee for the Olyroo striker constitutes an excellent deal for Adelaide, I feel.

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Real Football

Published on May 20, 2008

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