Accra Hearts of Oak centre-back, Vincent Atinga, could be the next in line among an array of top stars seeking to quit the Rainbow club after he applied for floating player status from the Ghana Football Association.
Yesterday, the player confirmed to the Graphic Sports that he was still considering offers from abroad and that any decision to return to Hearts would largely depend on the club’s willingness to meet his terms, which is a GH¢70,000 signing on fee for three years.
“It is true that my contract has ended but until management agrees to the terms and conditions that I am demanding, I will not renew my contract,” the WAFU Cup-winning defender said.
Atinga’s stance comes barely a week after striker Kwame Kizito openly chastised Hearts for frustrating him from moving abroad by failing to release his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) to enable him to join Swedish club, BK Hacken.
However, Hackman Aidoo, the Administrative Manager of Hearts, said the club were aware that Atinga had applied for floating status from the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to enable him to join another club but stressed that as much as that was worrying, the player would not be obstructed once his contract had expired.
Another player whose contract has expired is Hearts captain, Thomas Abbey, and centre-back Robin Gnagne, who has already given indication that he intends to stay with the Phobians.
Explaining why the club had to wait until the contracts of most of the players’ run out before renewing it, the Hearts administrative manager said efforts were made to tie them down to new contracts since the middle of the year but the players were not cooperative.
“We wanted to give them contract extension since last June but anytime you talk to them they tell you to wait because their managers were outside the country,” he said, adding that he personally contacted some of the managers outside but it was difficult convincing them to sign new deals.
He said the craving to play outside was the major problem preventing players from being tied to long-term contracts because “some agents now lure the players under the pretext of securing them deals outside as soon as the players start performing well”.
Mr Aidoo described Kizito’s outburst as unfortunate since they had not impeded Kizito’s move abroad but instead the club only wanted to recoup the investment made in the player through the transfer rather than the peanuts its would get as player development fee.
He compared Kizito’s situation to that of Hearts’ former skipper, Mahatma Otoo, who helped the club to benefit from his transfer fee by renewing his contract before being transferred to Norway.