Tottenham accused of taking advantage of Ukraine war as Shakhtar Donetsk consider legal action

Manor Solomon

Tottenham Hotspur have been accused of taking advantage of the war in Ukraine and acting “like a robber on the road” by Shakhtar Donetsk chief executive Serhiy Palkin.

Ahead of visiting the international Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland, which takes place on June 15 and 16, Palkin spoke to Telegraph Sport about a range of subjects – including Manor Solomon’s move from Shakhtar to Tottenham last summer.

Solomon was contracted to Shakhtar until the end of 2023, but moved to Spurs on a free transfer last summer after Fifa granted the right to all non-Ukrainian nationals playing in that country to suspend their contracts amid the conflict.

The suspension went beyond the end of the player’s Shakhtar deal, but the Ukrainian club believe they should have been paid a fee or at least given a sizeable sell-on clause in any future move winger Solomon might make from Tottenham.

Following almost a year of talks with Tottenham director Rebecca Caplehorn, Shakhtar have ended all negotiations and are considering taking the matter to court – as they have done with Lyon over Mateus Tete, who moved to France on loan and then joined Leicester City on loan for which Palkin claims Lyon received a fee.

Manor Solomon
Shakhtar paid €6m for Solomon but had to release him for free as a consequence of Russia's invasion of Ukraine - Diego Souto/Getty Images

“I am feeling very bad towards Tottenham,” said Palkin. “I cannot believe this kind of club with a huge history – not just European level, world level – that they can behave like this. From my point of view, it’s not acceptable behaviour. They have taken advantage of the war.

“Maybe if this was a very small club in Europe with not much money or whatever, maybe I could understand it. But Tottenham? Tottenham. How is it possible?

“It’s very strange that everybody says we are one football family, when one of the top clubs receives a player free of charge and the market value of this player is up to €25 million (£21.15 million). We invested in this player and developed this player for this kind of value.

“I even said to Tottenham: ‘Guys, I don’t need money for him now. Let’s have some kind of sell-on fee in the future like 30 or 40 per cent. That would be enough for us.’ But they said: ‘No, no, we cannot give you. We’ll give you 10 per cent.’ I said: ‘Guys, that’s not serious.’ Giving us 10 per cent is not respectful. You behave not like the football family. You behave like a robber on the road. It’s not correct. Therefore, at this moment we will see the next steps.

“We have stopped any negotiations with Tottenham. We are concentrating on a court case against Lyon and we will see the result of that and after that we will make a decision about what kind of steps we will take against Tottenham.”

Tottenham declined to comment on Palkin’s accusations when approached by Telegraph Sport.

Palkin compared the way Tottenham signed Solomon with the way in which European champions Real Madrid and Brazilian club Corinthians dealt with Shakhtar over similar transfers.

“We have two sides, a legal side and a moral side,” said Palkin. “The court will decide the legal side. About the moral side, when I talked with Tottenham, I talked about the moral part of this case.

“We have some players, Vinicius Tobias at Real Madrid and Maycon at Corinthians. Those clubs, they wanted to take our players, but they came to us and said: ‘OK, we can take them for free but we don’t want to play these dirty games.’

“Instead, they offered to pay us for loans. Real Madrid took our player and paid us for two years. Corinthians did the same. You see the difference between Real Madrid and Tottenham? The management of Real Madrid behaved themselves and how did Tottenham behave?”

One player Palkin is convinced Shakhtar will receive a big fee for this summer is midfielder Georgiy Sudakov, who has been linked with a number of big clubs and will play for Ukraine at the European Championship.

Georgiy Sudakov
Georgiy Sudakov will be in demand this summer - Bernat Armangue/AP Photo

Sudakov starred in Shakhtar’s title-winning season in Ukraine and also played in the club’s shock Champions League victory over Barcelona.

“If he plays well at the Euros, definitely he will move,” said Palkin. “But even without the Euros, a lot of clubs will want him. If you look at the position he plays, in the world there are maybe five players of his level.

“The last offer we had for Sudakov was €40 million (£33.84 million) plus bonuses from Napoli, but we refused it. We will definitely not sell him for less than €50 million (£42.3 million). For me, it is difficult to tell who will come next, but definitely they will come.”

Palkin’s top priority right now is to attend the international Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland, along with the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Our club wants to send a message to the whole world to come to this peace summit on June 15 and 16 because for us it’s very important,” said Palkin. “Everybody should do everything to stop this war.

“For Ukraine, it’s not possible to stop this war alone. It’s not possible. I believe that having this summit can be a big step towards the goal to stop war in Ukraine. Therefore, as a club, we want to send this message, to attract countries and leaders to come and to support Ukraine.”