Thursday, 5 July 2007

The Hyperbolic Squall

Nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all
The needle returns to the start of the song
And we all sing along like before...
Another day and another round of salacious Tevez transfer speculation. A definitive sounding report in the contumacious Mail, with a headline that screamed: "Fergie Signs Tevez", kicked off proceedings with the claim that the player last night agreed to join Manchester United in a permanent deal worth more than £20million. The move will be completed next week, insists the paper, but is subject to any challenge from West Ham, who still claim to own the registration of the player who 'saved them from relegation last season'. The Mail believe West Ham have no actual contract with Tevez and his owner, businessman Kia Joorabchian, and this has left the player and his representative free to negotiate a transfer with other clubs. This, of course, is in direct contradiction to the statement
Eggert Magnusson made on Tuesday when he reiterated that Carlos Tevez is a registered West Ham United player with a playing contract that still has three years remaining on it. The article quotes a source close to the Argentina camp as saying: "He [Tevez] just cannot contain his excitement at the news. Tevez has been concerned about his future, worried about where he may play next season and now he is joining the biggest club in the world! This is massive news."

The media frenzy sparked by the Daily Mail story soon engulfed the rest of the written press. The Times wrote that Manchester United last night appeared to have won the race to sign Carlos Tévez and that the player has told his Argentina teammates that a deal has been agreed for him to play at Old Trafford next season. They disagree on the details of the transfer though and suggest it is likely to be an initial 12-month loan deal, with a fee of about £4 million payable to Kia Joorabchian and wages in excess of £3 million. Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager, would also want the option of making the move permanent at the end of next season. They believe a permanent deal would cost in the region of £35 million. Paul Doyle, writing in the Guardian, also 'understands' that Tevez's representatives are finalising the details of his departure from West Ham, with whom it is thought he is contracted until 2010. In this story, the fee is believed to be around £20m, though neither Manchester United nor West Ham would confirm that talks are in progress. The Telegraph have rehashed the original Mail story but have omitted the section about West Ham not having a contract with the player, and have also adjusted the fee to being "just under" £20 million.

Unsurprisingly, it did not take long for the BBC to jump on the runaway wagon. Sports editor Mihir Bose is another who "understands"
that Tevez will join Manchester United, but he is unwilling to reveal whether it will be a loan or permanent transfer. "I understand talks have been going on for several weeks now," added Bose. "Manchester United are certainly very keen on Carlos Tevez but they are very complicated talks because of the nature of the loan arrangement he has at West Ham. What is going on is whether he goes on a permanent move, which would involve a very high fee. Certainly, Tevez's people would want in the region of what Zinedine Zidane went for when he moved to Real Madrid - about £40m. Or he could go on the same arrangement his colleague Javier Mascherano went to Liverpool under when he left West Ham. That was a two-year deal and a sort of extended loan for a much lower fee."

Meanwhile, the people over at Sky Sports say the Premier League will block Carlos Tevez's proposed move to Manchester United if they are not satisfied the transfer fee will go to West Ham. West Ham claim they own the registration of Tevez after the league accepted in April that the club had terminated all agreements with the player's agent Kia Joorabchian. The Premier League are planning to keep an eye on any transfer for Tevez to ensure that West Ham keep their promise of owning his registration. A Premier League spokesman said: "As far as we are concerned any deal to take Carlos Tevez away from West Ham has to be done directly with the club."

In a further twist, the Mail claim Carlos Tevez's adviser is ready to hand "potentially explosive" documents to the High Court that could drag West Ham back into the row with Sheffield United and increase the pressure on senior Premier League officials. A source close to Kia Joorabchian described the documents as evidence that could "hit the Premier League like a mallet and take West Ham down", and added: "Kia is quite prepared to hand them over." It is understood the documents concern the period that followed the original hearing, when Tevez was allowed to play the final three games of the season for West Ham on the understanding that the player's third-party agreement had been terminated. This could be seen as a thinly veiled threat from Joorabchian aimed at ensuring West Ham do not contest any proposed transfer of Tevez. What is clear is that the timing could hardly be more propitious for Sheffield United as they seek to take their case to the High Court. Last night McCabe said: "We believe there are further documents that have not yet been disclosed that could have a bearing on this case. We need to find out, initially, if a judge will hear our case. If we are informed we can appeal in a civil court, we will be able to request those documents."

The BBC confirm that Sheffield United will appeal to the High Court over the Carlos Tevez affair and their Premiership relegation. "We are going to the High Court to appeal, and that date is 13 July," confirmed Blades chairman Kevin McCabe. "I still believe Sheffield United have a legal case that can now be taken from what I loosely term the sporting courts to the commercial courts. Where that will take us I really don't know." The Blades are set to claim the arbitration panel made an "error in law" by not ordering a new disciplinary commission to deal with the affair. While McCabe has accepted the club will not be reinstated to the Premier League he is looking for up to £50m in compensation. "I think anyone who looks at it and says one club has been wronged then the only recourse to make that wrong right is financial," he added. "If you say that the Championship play-off game is worth £60m and Sheffield United's attendance last year was 31,000, with full hospitality boxes and restaurants and broadcasting income, you would say compensation is around £50m." The Guardian state that Sheffieled United, mindful that their application to lodge an appeal could be rejected, had hoped to keep their latest move quiet but the Premier League announced yesterday that the Bramall Lane club were taking further action. A Premier League spokesman said: "Our legal team inform us that this is a very narrow window of appeal where Sheffield United are claiming that the arbitration panel under Sir Philip Otton made an error in law by failing to send back the original decision to the independent disciplinary commission for reconsideration."

So what was Carlos Tevez doing as the hyperbolic squall swept through the British media? He was speaking to Argentinian newspaper Clarin at his Copa America base. "As far as I am aware I have not received any official offers," he stated. "But the fact that Real Madrid, Inter and Manchester United are interested in me makes me feel proud. If I have to stay at West Ham, it would be fine. I am happy there and people love me very much." The striker then reiterated that he would consider his options once the Copa America tournament is over; "Right now my focus is here. Once this is over we shall see."

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