Sunday, 15 July 2007

Morality Cracks

The saga of Carlos Tevez's protracted move from West Ham to Manchester United shows no signs of being resolved according to an article in The Sunday Telegraph. Contrary to reports that the deal could be resolved this week, Duncan White states that the possibility of an imminent resolution is looking increasingly remote, with Tevez's proposed medical at Old Trafford this week perhaps the only straightforward part of any potential transfer. Although enormous pressure is now being heaped upon West Ham the facts remain that the London club are in possession of the player's registration and the Premier League are satisfied that they terminated their third-party agreements with MSI on April 27. If Manchester United want to buy Tevez, insists White, then they need to pay West Ham a transfer fee. Simple as that.

If MSI are cut out of a deal then they could feasibly take West Ham to court but with doubts raised about how legally enforceable these third-party agreements are. White believes the Hammers can also take heart from last week's ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which looked at MSI's involvement in the transfer of a Brazilian striker named Nilmar from Lyon to Corinthians for 10 million euros. Lyon alleged that Corinthians and MSI had acted illegally in trying to evade paying the full transfer fee. First FIFA and then CAS backed Lyon. Corinthians have been left broke after falling out with MSI and owe the French champions eight million euros. Furthermore, four of their directors are due in court on allegations of money-laundering and also of match-fixing as part of the same investigation that has fingered MSI. The Brazilian investigators claim to have tape-recordings of Corinthians officials planning ways of manipulating results in order to avoid relegation, including influencing officials - a resounding echo of the Italian match-fixing scandal of last year. Tevez is a good player but, enquires The Telegraph, is this really the kind of company Manchester United want to keep?

The answer to that question is almost certainly yes. In the murky world of football transfers morality will always crack before expediency. Yet whether any deal can be done while Kia Joorabchian remains involved is open to debate. The Mail on Sunday believe that Argentina star Tevez will only join Manchester United and become Sir Alex Ferguson's fourth major signing of the summer if he agrees to ditch his agent. United have so far conducted their negotiations with Joorabchian and have agreed terms with the player. But with Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore insisting that only West Ham can receive the transfer fee it seems United lawyer Maurice Watkins and chief executive David Gill will have to finalise the deal with West Ham owner Eggert Magnusson, and that will mean Carlos Tevez effectively agreeing to remove his agent from the negotiations.

"We would have no objection to Tevez agreeing a contract and having a medical at Manchester United so long as it has been agreed by West Ham," said a Premier League source. "If that doesn't happen, Tevez won't be going anywhere." West Ham are willing to deal with United direct and will not hold out for the maximum £20 million fee they might expect, given the controversial circumstances in which they acquired the player for a nominal fee. Nor will they stand in the way of the striker leaving. West Ham spokesman Mike Lee said: "There is a desire now to find a solution. For this to happen in the near future it has to involve a formal agreement between Manchester United and West Ham which is approved by the Premier League."

The situation will infuriate Joorabchian, who claims that he owns economic rights to the player and is threatening to sue West Ham after the club unilaterally terminated its agreement with MSI after being found guilty of breaking Premier League rules in April. Joorabchian and MSI's investors expect to be compensated for giving up economic rights the company claim they own but the Premier League will not allow West Ham to renegotiate their deal with Tevez's representatives, because the club were only allowed to keep playing Tevez in their vital relegation clashes on the basis that they ended their contract with MSI. The club would risk being charged by the Premier League again for third party influence. The Mail on Sunday claim Manchester United could break the impasse by unilaterally deciding to compensate Joorabchian for the work he has done on the deal, although they will not act without Premier League approval.

As the tug of war over Tevez intensifies a word of words has broken out between
Alan Curbishley and Sir Alex Ferguson. A story in the Sunday Express claims Curbishley is furious with the Manchester United boss about his assertion that Tevez kept the Hammers in the Premiership single-handedly. "I was a bit disappointed about Alex’s comments about Tevez keeping us up. Because there were 10 other players out there and a lot of them were big performers for us. There was a lot more going on than just Carlos Tevez. Every day has been a Tevez day for the last two months. I have kept my own council and got on with it. But I was disappointed to hear Alex say that. We have got to move off and move on." Curbishley also confirmed that the Argentinian striker will not be travelling to Austria this week when he returns from international duty at the Copa America.

A round-up of the Sunday tabloid rumours starts with the News of the World where it is claimed West Ham United target Stephen Appiah has threatened to go out on strike to secure a move to the club. A source close to the Fenerbache midfielder confirmed Stephen will not join his team mates on their pre-season tour as he feels the loyalty he demonstrated by shunning previous opportunities to leave should now be repaid in full. The Ghana midfielder said: "It is my ambition to play in the Premier League and Fenerbahce need to listen to West Ham United's offer. They should now take my interests in to account after all I have done for them." In the same paper, it is suggested West Ham and Tottenham are both looking at Derby County Player of the Year Giles Barnes. The midfielder, 18, has a£4million price tag. He was also a target for Blackburn Rovers during the January transfer window and his father Bobby played 43 games for the Hammers. On the departure front, the News of the World are one of several papers to carry
Carlton Cole is a £3million target for Besiktas. The striker joined West Ham a year ago in a £2million switch from Chelsea but made just five Premier League starts last season scoring twice. Sources close to the Turkish giants insist an official bid for Cole from is imminent.

Veteran hitman Teddy Sheringham wants former West Ham team mate
Hogan Ephraim to join him at Colchester United according to both the Sunday People and Star. Striker Ephraim, 19, spent most of last season on loan at Layer Road and the U's are keen to re sign the player on a similar deal. The Star also believe Alan Pardew is still keen on taking West Ham United midfielder Hayden Mullins to Charlton Athletic. The Hammers stalwart was offered as a make-weight in a deal for Darren Bent last month only for the transfer to fall through. According to the story, Pardew admits he has not given up hope on taking the player. He said: "I like Hayden. He was my first signing at West Ham United and we will have to see because I am not sure what his role is at West Ham now." Meanwhile, Alan Curbishley wants to sign two more players. He is quoted in the Star as saying: "Money is available. We have made £20million on players we have sold."

Finally, Spanish news outlet AS report we are currently in talks with Eidur Gudjohnsen about a move to West Ham. AS claim the player's father and agent, Arnor, has held talks with Hammers chairman Eggert Magnusson and the former Chelsea forward is excited by the prospect of moving to Upton Park. There are no direct quotes and Eggert Magnusson has denied our interest in the player on numerous occasions so this story has only limited credibility at the moment.


Terry Torial said...

Please, please, just one day in the papers without Hammers doing something disastrous, misjudged, dodgy (add your own adjectives by all means). Being a Hammers fan used to be a dull, but relaxing breeze, in the days for example of Donkey Dowie's underwhelming strike rate, and we only made it into the papers when Dicks slid in a tackle which seemed to be an homage to the closing scenes of Scarface. These days, well, I cannot handle the pressure, the sheer fingernails-across-the-blackboard unnnatural stress of it all. And I cannot even blame one individual, except, perhaps, KIA JOORABCHIAN. Ever since he troubled us with his pathetic bid, Upton Park has been like the 1930s stock exchange. Leave us alone KIA!

Marty said...

Oh come on, man! It makes a change from the patronising treatment we used to receive: 'very entertaining. They'll never win anything mind'. 'West Ham are like Christmas decorations - they come down as soon as the holiday's over'. Etc. A year or so of notoriety will at least make a change.


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