Puscas, Pisa and Pini

Before I begin, I want to thank everyone who read the article I typed up on Reading a few weeks ago. I always do things with the best intentions, and I will always stand up for what I believe is right, even if it upsets the wrong people. Click here if you missed it or would like to check it out again for a recap.

The article got a lot of interest, and it led to a chat on the phone with Benjy Nurick, who was covering Reading at the time. I mentioned something I noticed a while ago to him, so I thought I’d share it and see what people think. It may be something, it may be nothing, it could be good, and it could be perceived as bad.

What reminded me of the situation was when I saw that George Puscas had scored for Pisa today or on Sunday, depending on when you’re reading this. When Puscas signed for Pisa, I thought it was somewhat strange as Lucas Joao wasn’t long since back from a long layoff, Yakou Meite was absent, and Reading really lacked strikers.

Before leaving Reading, Puscas had started seventeen games from twenty-eight. He was subbed on eight times, too. But, of course, his return wasn’t great, with one goal and one assist. In 5,303 minutes on the pitch in all competitions, he scored on twenty occasions, making five assists. Therefore, he had a direct goal involvement every 2.4 games.

It will be up to Reading fans what they think of Puscas and his time at the club. But, for me, it’s looking at how he arrived and how he departed on loan. First, of course, Puscas starred in the Euro U21 Championships, which naturally created a demand for the Inter player. What’s curious about the Inter thing is that Kia Joorabchian, as is common knowledge and in the public domain, has been involved with the club, potentially in the same way he is involved at Reading.

Whether the fee Reading paid for Puscas was the going rate or not, from what I understand, the club have had financial problems for a while but then were able to commit to paying for a multi-million-pound striker? Of course, many will have been happy at Puscas’ arrival, but did the man who made it happen have the club’s best interests at heart?

If you read my first article on Reading, you will remember that I mentioned Pini Zahavi and his connection to the club and Kia on multiple occasions. Now, this is where things get slightly concerning, rightly or wrongly, for me. The first thing to note is that Pini is powerful in the Balkans where football is concerned, which you can read about here.

And what also piqued my interest is that Pini has a “close relationship” with Pisa owner Alexander Knaster, as mentioned here – you will need your browser to translate the article as it’s in Polish. Now, it could be a case of Reading needing to improve their financial standing, so Pini has smoothed the way, with Puscas potentially joining the Serie B outfit permanently in the summer. But, does it again point to Reading being nothing more than a vehicle and a pawn in a network that guys like Kia and Pini are operating?



All business relies on a network of contacts and agency and brokerage occurs in many industries so there is no problem with the links between individuals working in the same industry per se. The issue is around conflicts of interest. If Kia had anything to do with setting or agreeing the price of Puscas when he transferred to Reading he should only have been acting for one party. Either Inter or Reading but not both, otherwise he has a clear conflict of interest. If he simply put the two parties together and the fee was negotiated principal to principal without his input that is probably ok but hardly best practice and still gives rise to the perception of a conflict of interest. If there is any hint of side arrangements with other agents whereby money changes hands between agents to push a particular player to a club they are close to that is deeply concerning and should be investigated.


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