|Nicholas Olsen celebrates a goal for Sai Gon FC last season. Photo laodong.vn|
Recruitment in Vietnamese football can be quite opaque.
Clubs regularly make signings that make little to no sense from an outside perspective and players agree to moves that it’s hard for outsiders to understand.
Perhaps what’s most murky though is how clubs go about signing players from overseas.
When the rumour mill kicks into gear and stories about the likes of Ricardo Quaresma or David N’Gog moving to Việt Nam come out, one can at least see the logic behind such potential signings.
Name recognition and the chance to bring a player in who had the quality to play at the highest level, at least at one time, are nothing to be sniffed at.
Of course, though, these marquee signings rarely if ever materialise.
Instead, players from far-flung locales and low-level leagues tend to make up the foreign quota for V.League 1 teams. And once a player has signed for one club in Việt Nam, there’s a good chance he’ll get a couple of contracts at different sides, seemingly whether he’s any good or not.
However, a recent interview by an Australian publication has shed some light on how V.League 1 sides conduct their business.
Nicholas Olsen told Front Page Football about how he ended up signing for Sài Gòn FC before the start of last season and why he moved to SHB Đà Nẵng for the 2023 campaign.
The Australian midfielder revealed that after the expiration of his contract at Brisbane Roar FC, he received an offer to play for Sài Gòn FC.
The deal came about in just 24 hours which seems like a very short space of time to make such an important decision for a club, but that’s far from the oddest thing about the deal in my mind.
"I went to the first session, and it was pouring with rain; I couldn't train much, and I was told it was a bit of a done deal.
“When I got there, I figured this wasn't the case, and they (Saigon) wanted to see me train, but as it turns out, it was the last day of the transfer window.
“I was told that the coach wanted to see me for another session, but the agent [went] back into the room, came back 10 minutes later and said [that] we're ready to sign the contract," he said.
Olsen scored five goals in 11 matches so the signing worked out (even if Olsen did leave under a cloud after a wage dispute) but no wonder Sài Gòn FC were relegated if that’s how decisions are made at the club.
I can’t imagine that every V.League 1 side conducts their business in such a haphazard manner but this example does make it easier to understand some of the crazy deals clubs make. VNS