Brabners dominates top football deals as transfer season ends

North west firm Brabners Chaffe Street has scored a role in some of the summer’s biggest football transfers, including the world record £80m sale of Christiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Brabners sports partner Matthew Bennett represented Ronaldo’s former employers Manchester United on the deal, while Real Madrid used in-house lawyers.

The firm worked on more than 30 player moves before the transfer season closed this week. 

Bennett also advised Liverpool FC on the deal to sign Glen Johnson from Portsmouth. The player was represented by Fladgate partner Grant Gordon.

For Manchester United’s signing of Michael Owen from Newcastle, Bennett represented Manchester United and the player was represented by player management group WMG, whose chief executive Sam Rush is a former lawyer.

Bennett said: “While total transfer spending in the Premier League appears to be slightly down on last year, the football transfer market has overall remained largely resilient in the face of the economic downturn.”

The acquisition of Portsmouth Football Club also completed at the end of August. It has now emerged that Taylor Wessing was called in to act for the former owner of the club, Devondale Investments, midway through the bidding process.

Devondale, which is linked to Russian businessman Alexandre Gaydamak, had been advised by Kingsley Napley until June when it was replaced with Taylor Wessing, led by partner Tim Stocks.

Gaydamak was represented by Sherrards partner Jean-Paul da Costa.

As reported in The Lawyer, Mayer Brown had already usurped Hammonds as legal adviser to the bidding consortium, Al Fahim Asia Associates.

(See story, June 22)

The deal was complicated by a rival bid from the club’s chairman Peter Storrie, who instructed Kingsley Napley.

The club’s creditors also received separate legal counsel. Standard Bank called on Jones Day and Barclays instructed Denton Wilde Sapte.