Vietnam’s top midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai has signed for French club Pau FC, and the deal was possible only because of Pierre, a Vietnamese-French football agent.
Pierre, who preferred not to reveal his surname, has a Vietnamese father and a French mother.
As a football agent, he had a working relationship with Nguyen Dac Van, who has been Hai’s agent since late 2021. When he heard that Hai did not renew his contract with Hanoi FC to seek a new challenge in Europe, he reached out immediately.
He flew from France to Belgium to meet with Van.
It was also Pierre who took care of Hai’s trip to Europe in early June to negotiate the contract with Pau FC.
Pierre (L) and Nguyen Quang Hai with Hai’s agent Nguyen Dac Van behind them during the midfielder’s trip to Europe in June 2022. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Quang Hai
After Hai turned down the offer from an Austrian club, Pierre presented him with five other options of which Pau FC were the best since Hai can regularly get time on the pitch there.
Thanks to Pierre, Hai visited the club and met their officials. Four days after the meeting, Hai decided to sign up with them because he felt appreciated.
He does not care about the fact that Pau are a small team since he reckons Vietnamese players are not a match for Europeans.
Pierre cannot speak Vietnamese.
But this is a special deal for him because he is half Vietnamese.
He says: “I put all my energy, mind and heart into this deal between Quang Hai and Pau FC. I want to be the first person to bring a Vietnamese player to the French league and I want my family, especially my father, to be proud of me, because this is beneficial for Vietnamese football.”
He says Pau FC President Bernard Laporte-Fray decided to release several players to make room for Hai. He is greatly appreciative of the Vietnamese midfielder for his creativity and ability to play in many positions. So he agreed to sign a long-term contract to ensure Hai has the time to adapt to the French football environment.
Pierre has never been to Vietnam and only knows about the country through stories from his father, who was born in Vietnam before going to France to settle down and work as a doctor.
Hai is expected to undergo a medical on Wednesday. If things go to plan, his two-year contract, with an option to extend for another year, will come into effect.
Pierre will accompany Hai during the process to make sure everything goes well.
During his first few months in Pau, Hai will get a translator for communication.
Pau FC, established in 1920, finished 10th in Ligue 2, France’s second division, last season. They own the 4,031-capacity Nouste Campo stadium.
In six seasons with his former club Hanoi FC, Hai played 126 matches, scored 35 times and won every domestic title and the Vietnam Golden Ball in 2018.
He also played an important role in Vietnam winning second place at the 2018 AFC U23 Championship, the 2018 AFF Cup and SEA Games 30 and in Vietnam’s journey to the final round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
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