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Going To The Mattresses... I Mean Envelopes

‘Going to the mattresses’ is a phrase made famous by "The Godfather" films. Simply put, it means to prepare for battle. In the world of football transfers, ‘going to the envelopes’ refers to the process of a blind auction between two teams, a procedure that involves a lot of strategy and can potentially result in a huge windfall for only one side. This Friday, if Juventus and Genoa can’t come to an agreement over the value of Italy’s left-back Domenico Criscito, both clubs will take part in this unique transfer practice.

Known in Italy as “compartecipazione”, and also found in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, it is the idea of sharing a player’s registration rights with another team. The minimum time period for a co-ownership deal is two years, and in those two years, a player’s value can increase, or decrease, based on performance so there’s certainly some risk involved. Now in the event the two teams cannot come to an agreement in the renewal or finalisation of the co-ownership deal by an annual deadline, the two parties enter into a blind auction.

Here’s where the strategy comes into play. Both teams must then write down what they’re willing to pay for the second half of the player’s registration rights in an envelope, and the largest bid from either team is then allowed to purchase the player at the specified highest bid. Keep in mind that it’s an auction with no reserve. So literally, a player could be sold for peanuts. Hence, there are dozens of scenarios that can be played out here so we’ll be paying close attention to the results come Saturday or Sunday. Especially since the Azzurri have crashed out of the WC so soon. Fucking Lippi. No Cassano/Miccoli, no party.

In Juventus’ case however, Domenico Criscito’s co-ownership agreement is set to expire alongside Raffaele Palladino’s, also co-owned by Genoa, David Lanzafame’s, co-owned by Parma Palermo, Michele Paolucci’s, co-owned by Siena, Marcel Zalayeta’s, co-owned by Napoli, as well as Juventus and Inter transfer target Leonardo Bonucci’s, co-owned by Bari and Genoa (see below). The official deadline is Friday June 25th 2010. Needless to say it’ll be interesting to see what happens here after the dust settles. Who gets who, and for how much.


[Update] Bari has officially purchased the other half of Leonardo Bonucci's registration rights for €8 million from Genoa. Also, Juventus have sold half of Sergio Almiron's rights to Bari for a fee not yet known at this time. Bonucci to Juventus hopefuls shouldn't be discouraged however, as this move by Bari could simply eliminate third-party complications. Thanks goes out to Sam Dj for the Bonucci transfer heads-up, and GP for the Lanzafame-Palermo correction.

[2nd Update] Juventus has officially agreed to sell Genoa the second half of Domenico Criscito's registration rights for €6 million to be paid in the next three years. "This operation will generate a positive economic effect of about €4.1 million on the 2010/2011 financial year. Furthermore, Juventus and Genoa renewed for the 2010/2011 football season the current player sharing agreement regarding the registration rights of the player Raffaele Palladino."