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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Chelsea v Burnley: Esteve’s transfer decision questioned by Montpellier president

Burnley defender Maxime Esteve spoke about his financial motivations for moving to Turf Moor “every day” and could have made a better choice than his switch in January to the Premier League strugglers, parent club Montpellier’s president has claimed.

Laurent Nicollin said the Ligue 1 side rejected a move for Esteve from Nottingham Forest a year earlier, according to Midi Libre, and suggested a club “of another calibre” would have better suited the France youth international, who has joined Vincent Kompany’s squad until the end of the season with an option to buy for €12 million (around £10.3m).

“It wasn’t me who decided,” Nicollin said of the deal. “When a player calls you every day saying, ‘I want to leave, I’m going to earn so much per month…’.

“He’s a kid who [has been developed] at the club, who claims to love it and who wants to leave for a few euros more. I’m not going to war with that. I was disappointed.”

Read our other sports news stories here:
Koleosho ‘waiting for green light’
Trafford will be ‘great’, predicts Kompany
Kompany targets ‘something special’

Esteve was given his Montpellier debut as a 19-year-old academy graduate in 2021 and went on to make 59 top-flight appearances for the club.

Now 21, he has featured in all seven games Burnley have played since signing him, completing 90 minutes in the last four and earning his first win in their last game before the international break, when they beat Brentford 2-1 at home to revive their faint hopes of avoiding relegation.

Chelsea v Burnley starts Clarets’ run-in

“I have followed the Premier League since being a young child and had only pictured myself ever being here, so I am really excited,” Esteve said after becoming Burnley’s first arrival of the January transfer window.

“The manager spoke really positively about the project here and I just wanted to be a part of it straight away.”

Burnley will be five points from safety when they kick off the first of their final nine games of the campaign at Chelsea on Saturday.

Last season’s Championship winners have won four of their 29 Premier League matches, with only bottom side Sheffield United prevailing in fewer games.

Their hopes of survival could depend upon whether Nottingham Forest, who are four points above them after being deducted four points over financial rules, succeed with an appeal against their penalty.

“When you are an international player, when you are 21 years old, it is perhaps better to stay at your [original] club and find a club of another calibre,” said Nicollin. “But I respect their choice.”

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