Newcastle were willing to let Jonas Gutierrez move to Sunderland, tribunal told

John Carver with Jonas Gutierrez.
John Carver with Jonas Gutierrez.

Newcastle United were so "desperate" to offload Jonas Gutierrez that their owners were prepared to let him move to rivals Sunderland, a tribunal has heard.

Agent Pedro Bravo Jimenez said Gutierrez was told in late 2013 he was free to look for a new club and the player's lawyers, asked club managing director Lee Charnley if there was any club they would prefer agents did not approach.

In a written statement to a tribunal in Birmingham, Mr Jimenez said: "To our surprise, Lee confirmed that Jonas could even move to Sunderland. This showed me how desperate they were for Jonas to leave."

The Argentine player claims he was "frozen out" of the first team owing to a cancer diagnosis and a clause in his contract which guaranteed a contract extension if he made 80 starting appearances for the Magpies.

Referring to his feelings when Gutierrez signed a new deal with Newcastle in 2011, Mr Jimenez told the tribunal: "We had no reason to doubt that Jonas would continue to be selected regularly for the club as he was regarded (as) a central member of the first team.

"Following Jonas's diagnosis with testicular cancer in October 2013, Newcastle's attitude towards Jonas seemed to almost immediately change.

"Within a couple of weeks of returning to Newcastle, Jonas contacted me to inform me that he had been told by the first-team manager, Alan Pardew, that he was no longer part of Newcastle's plans and that Jonas should look to find an alternative club."

He added Gutierrez, who now plays for Spanish side Deportivo de La Coruna, was treated "woefully" by the club and that they "degraded and humiliated" him.

John Carver, who was appointed as manager after Pardew left, told the hearing that telling Gutierrez he didn't have a future at the club "tugged on the heartstrings" - but maintained the decision was made for footballing reasons.

But Carver, who took the reins of the club in January 2015, said he was not pressured to drop Gutierrez from the team and decided to let him go to make way for improvements to the squad.

He said: "My opinion was that Jonas should not be offered a new contract, as there were better players available to take the club forward.

"It tugged on the heartstrings to be honest, but it was a footballing decision. I wanted to take the club forward."

Gutierrez was told in a phone call at the end of the 2014-15 season that his contract was not being renewed, with Carver saying he would have preferred to have conducted the conversation face to face.

The 32-year-old, who now plays for Spanish side Deportivo de La Coruna, had signed for the Magpies in 2008 and was awarded a new four-year deal in 2011 worth around £40,000 a week.

The contract would have been extended for a year if the player started 80 games between 2011 and 2015.

The player, who started 78 games and made five appearances as a substitute during this period, was a key part of the team during the end of the 2014-15 season, the tribunal heard.

Carver said Gutierrez was "excellent" and "wrote his own fairytale" during the last game of the campaign against West Ham, which confirmed the side would not be relegated.

Martin Budworth, on behalf of Gutierrez, said: "There was never going to be a fairytale ending, the club managed this to make sure he would never trigger the clause."

Carver denied the club ever interfered with team selection, saying: "I am nobody's puppet. I wanted this job and was going to do it my way."