Odense BK captain Ulrik Laursen's high-profile move to FC København has reportedly broken records – and a fair few hearts – in the Danish Superliga.
Having gone into the winter break two points adrift of league leaders Aalborg BK, most feel FCK have done enough in the transfer market to ensure that will be top by the end of the season. Nobody knows how AaB will do without top scorer Rade Prica, who left for Sunderland AFC, with his replacement Lars Nilsson something of an unknown quantity.
FCK have flexed their financial muscle in the winter. The arrival of Czech international left-back Zdenĕk Pospĕch from AC Sparta Praha has filled a slot which had been vacant since Lars Jacobsen left for 1. FC Nürnberg last summer, and while Norwegian defender Brede Hangeland has gone to Fulham FC, FCK have a strong replacement in Laursen.
The 31-year-old former Celtic FC and Hibernian FC central defender, capped three times for Denmark, was as surprised as anyone to secure a move to FCK, and conceded that money played a major part in his deciding to leave Odense. "I thought I was worth more than OB were offering me, but fortunately there was another solution," he said.
Exactly how much FCK paid for Laursen is a subject of some conjecture in Danish football, but the general consensus is that it was a fee close to €2m – a record for a transfer between Danish clubs. FCK president Flemming Østergaard was not about to spoil the mystery, enigmatically revealing that "OB got what Laursen was worth".
Hardly surprising, given that Laursen was born in Odense and started his career at OB, the player's decision to move to Copenhagen has been a major disappointment to the fans who expected Laursen to stay at the club until he retired. With OB eight points off the title pace, in fifth place in the 12-team Superliga, it may be that Laursen has made a good sporting decision, and he will certainly be joining a strong FCK side. In addition to Laursen and Pospĕch, they signed another former OB player – Brazilian forward José Junior – from Sweden's Malmö FF. Laursen's move may not have thrilled romantics in Danish football, but with FCK seeking their third successive title, the old adage remains true: Money talks, and it is persuasive.
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