How AEK Athens’ pursuit of Jorge Diaz has been stalled over a contract feud with JDT

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Photo Credit: Asiana.my

Greek Super League side AEK Athens have been left absolutely frustrated in their pursuit of Argentinian striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz, who has reportedly not agreed to mutually terminate his contract with reigning Malaysia Super League champions, Johor Darul Ta’azim.

Dikefalos Aetos, as they are fondly known in Greece, have been in discussion with Diaz and his representatives for over a month now, ever since it first emerged that Diaz would not be extending his stay with the Southern Tigers.

According to Gazetta.gr’s Johnny Georgopoulos, Jorge Diaz and his representatives have agreed personal terms with the 11-times Greek Super League champions. But the 26 year-old is allegedly refusing to terminate his contract with JDT unless his compensation demands are matched.

Photo Credit: Asiana.my
Photo Credit: Asiana.my

“The news we’ve heard from AEK is that Jorge Diaz wants 500k Euros from Johor DT. But the club has only offered him 100k Euros, so he doesn’t want to terminate his contract just yet,” the renowned Greek journalist told FourthOfficial.com

“It has left AEK Athens’ owner Dimitris Melissanidis really frustrated. The club has agreed terms with Jorge Diaz, but the move will not happen unless Diaz and JDT reach an amicable solution with regards to his compensation,” Johnny added.

While the news comes as a mild surprise, though it was evident that Jorge Diaz’s departure from the JDT had a bitter aftertaste attached to it. Back in November, Johor DT released a statement, confirming that they had received two offers for Diaz and that he would most not be a part of the squad in 2017. Approximately three weeks later, Diaz took to his Facebook account to vent about a football club, whose identity was not disclosed in these updates.

Photo Credit: Jorge Pereyra Diaz (Facebook)
Photo Credit: Jorge Pereyra Diaz (Facebook)
Photo Credit: Jorge Pereyra Diaz (Facebook)
Photo Credit: Jorge Pereyra Diaz (Facebook)

One day later, the Southern Tigers confirmed that Jorge Diaz would be departing the club as they were unable to match his new salary demands. “I have decided and the management has agreed to sell our foreign striker Jorge Pereyra Diaz because we have received a good offer for the club. He wants to stay here, but we cannot afford the new salary requested and we need to control the club’s spending,” JDT boss Mario Gomez said, via a club statement.

Despite being a prolific goalscorer, this isn’t the first time Diaz has caused problems for the club. Back in 2015, Diaz was sent on a temporary loan stint to Independiente, after allegedly falling out with their head coach at that point, Bojan Hodak. He was then brought back to the club in 2016, with Mario Gomez in charge of the team.

Photo Credit: Johor Southern Tigers
Photo Credit: Johor Southern Tigers

He went on to play a major part in their successful 2016 campaign, scoring a total of 32 goals across all competitions. The Argentinian also formed a formidable partnership with Juan Martin Lucero, who went on to bag 27 goals last year. In December, Diaz was voted as the MSL’s best foreign player for 2016.

It soon emerged that both Diaz and Lucero would be leaving the club but unlike Diaz, JDT successfully negotiated the transfer of his striker partner, Juan Martin Lucero, to Mexican side Club Tijuana, which earned them a profit of approximately RM11 million. The former Independiente striker went on to publicly thank Johor DT on Instagram, reiterating that he was incredibly thankful for being able to spend a year in their official colours.

Photo Credit: Instagram (Juan Martin Lucero)
Photo Credit: Instagram (Juan Martin Lucero)

It now remains to be seen if Diaz is willing to lower his demands in time, as AEK Athens are considering abandoning this pursuit to look at other targets, before the January transfer window shuts down in two weeks. However, should the move happen, Diaz will be following in the footsteps of Patito Rodriguez, who also played for JDT in 2015, before signing for AEK Athens in 2016.