KRC Genk Head of Football Dimitri De Condé has criticised Southampton for their summer pursuit of winger Joseph Paintsill, according to a report in Belgian media outlet Het Belang van Limburg, via Sport Witness.
The Saints pursuit of the 25-year-old was well documented, with Genk keen to bring Paul Onuachu back as part of the deal. The striker has struggled since his move to St Mary’s earlier this year, and he has just 22 minutes of action this his name this season when he appeared as a substitute in the 3-1 Carabao Cup defeat against Gillingham last month.
The Nigerian international is considered a hero at Genk, where he scored 85 goals in 134 appearances before his move to the then-Premier League side.
Southampton had identified Paintsil as a player capable of helping them achieve their target of escaping the Championship at the first time of asking and talks between the two clubs had taken place. However, De Condé was scathing in his assessment of the negotiations, accusing the south coast team of going ‘a step too far’. In an interview, the 48-year-old said;
“I immediately knew that it would be almost impossible to involve Paintsil in an exchange deal with Onuachu.
“But Southampton kept pushing until they went a step too far for me. We should put Paintsil under pressure: push him towards Southampton, for example by not taking him on the plane to Adana. Sorry, but I’m only there for that.”
“Joseph had indicated in several conversations that he feels good here and doesn’t see Southampton as the next step in his career.”
Continuing, De Condé revealed that he eventually had to move on to other targets, although does sympathise with Onuachu;
“I especially think it’s terrible for Paul, who is going through a very difficult period. But it became clear to us three days before the European deadline that we had to switch gears. We had different options, but of course the other targets didn’t just talk to us. Others were no longer allowed to leave.”
Genk were desperate to bring Onuachu back to the club after his hugely successful spell in Belgium prior to his move to Southampton. This isn’t the first time that the Championship club have been criticised for their actions during this deal, and they were accused of ‘moving the goalposts’ before the end of the transfer window last month.
The deal looked to be dead in the water as soon as Joseph Paintsil decided he wanted to stay out, but Genk clearly feel that they still had a chance of negotiating something for Onuachu. Don’t expect these two clubs to be involved in any direct transfers in the near future.