French Ligue 1 outfit Montpellier are owned by lifelong supporter and business entrepreneur Louis Nicollin. The 69-year-old made his fortune in waste management and is an impassioned football fan with one of the world’s largest collections of football shirts.
He took control of the club in 1974 when they were an amateur side but just eight years later they were in Ligue 1; and in 2012 they completed their finest hour when Nicollin saw his men pick up the Ligue 1 title last year.
When they achieved this feat Nicollin dyed his hair orange and blue in homage for his beloved club and that gives you some clue about his character.
In England I suppose we would call him ‘an eccentric’ in France I am not sure what they call him but he has certainly made the headlines over the years for some of the things he has said. He once referred to AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani as ‘Kojak’ and calling his own set of players from there time in the lower leagues as ‘half-retarded’.
He also gained headlines last summer for slapping an absurd price-tag on the head of French international striker Olivier Giroud:
"Arsenal? You would have to see if Arsène Wenger is interested… At €10 million? No. Given that he still has more than two years of contract, it will cost more. He has a contract until 2014, €50 or €60 million at least."
Now it seems that penchant for the exuberant is a hereditary trait in the Nicollin household as his son Laurent, chairman of Montpellier HSC, has made his own quite astounding estimation for one players value.
Remy Cabella has been linked with joining Giroud at Arsenal next season but this is what Nicollin Junior had to say about that potential move:
"He is non-transferable. The desire of the club is to keep Remy - he was told and knows this. If a club arrives and offers €100million, it will be discussed though."
That would make Cabella the world’s most expensive player and for all his talents he is probably not worth a quarter of that ludicrous price-tag.
Obviously Montpellier are trying to put Arsenal and any other interested party off the idea of bidding by ramping up the asking price.
However the Gunners would be smart to check if he has a release clause in his contract. Because for all the posturing last summer by the Nicollin’s over the valuation of Giroud; in the end Arsenal got him for £9.6 million thanks to a buy-out clause.
Hopefully this latest mad-cap valuation is another smokescreen that Arsenal could side-step to get their man.
How much would you pay for Remy Cabella?
image: © wonker