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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
How West Ham pulled off a coup

West Ham's capture of Argentina's Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano on the last day of the transfer window caught the football world by surprise.

Argentina's Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano in training at the World Cup
Mascherano and Tevez both impressed at the World Cup

The story of how two of the world's most sought after young talents arrived at Upton Park from Brazilian side Corinthians is full of twists and turns.

The name of Media Sports Investments (MSI) - the company which owned the players' registrations - was suddenly on everybody's lips as the Hammers produced the biggest transfer coup of the summer.

MSI were headed by Kia Jooraabchian, who reportedly resigned in June but retained an investment in the two Argentines.

Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live on Thursday, Joorabchian, said: "We realised that maybe the right thing for them to do was to move to Europe and get some experience.

"It's a complex deal and involves many aspects. But it is a permanent transfer and, all being well, they will be great successes at West Ham."

Conspiracy theories about the involvement of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in MSI were dismissed by Joorabchian.

"There are a lot of rumours about Abramovich and other Russian investors but I can categorically tell you that none of those people are investors in MSI," said Joorabchian.

BBC Sport's South American expert Tim Vickery explains the transfer of Tevez and Mascherano to West Ham, and what the players can offer to the team.

HOW DO THESE DEALS WORK?

"The essential contradiction of South American football in this globalised world, is that it runs at a financial loss but produces some of the most marketable commodities: the best players.

"So investment consortia take advantage of the financial weakness of the clubs to secure the rights to sell the players - which is where the money is.

"MSI - who also own a stake in Corinthians - bought Tevez's registration for $20m (10.5m). South American football just doesn't generate the sort of money that makes that investment worthwhile.

"So where's the return on the investment? From selling the players to European football.

"And where can you get the biggest transfer fees? In a deal between two English clubs - so sell-on clauses are negotiated and money is made that way."

WHO ACTUALLY OWNS THE PLAYERS NOW?

"We have to speculate because so few of the details of the deal have been released.

"It seems that MSI still own these players and I would be absolutely astonished if that wasn't the case."

HOW LONG WILL THEY STAY AT WEST HAM?

"These players want to be in the Champions League, so if they're still at Upton Park in two years' time then something will have gone wrong with the scheme somewhere along the line.

Argentina's Carlos Tevez
Tevez's upper body strength has drawn comparisons with Maradona

"Either they haven't done well and no offers from big clubs have arrived or they've suddenly turned West Ham into one of the major powers in Europe.

"There was a very interesting quote from a West Ham spokesman. He said: 'There is no way West Ham would act as a feeder club for others. These are exciting signings for us but if we were offered major fees for the players in the future we would have to consider it - just as we would with other players.'

"Reading between the lines, West Ham seem to be confessing that Upton Park is somewhere these players can play for a season, hopefully show their worth and then move on to a Champions League club.

"Kia Joorabchian said that when Tevez joined Corinthians there was speculation from the second day about when the player would move on.

"At West Ham, the talk on the first day he signed was already about when he would leave."

IS THIS THE START OF A NEW TREND?

"It's already an established practice in European football with moves between Brazil and Portugal, and Brazil and Russia.

"This is really just new to the Premiership, certainly in such a high-profile move."

WHAT WILL TEVEZ & MASCHERANO OFFER AS PLAYERS?

"Tevez is a Wayne Rooney type of player: very stocky, very competitive, but perhaps needs to improve his left foot if he is to be genuinely world class.

"The supporters at Corinthians really took to him for his never-say-die mentality and I'm sure he'll be a smash hit at West Ham.

Javier Mascherano (r) in action against at the World Cup
Mascherano (r) is renowned as a no-nonsense ball winner

"Mascherano is a class act in the holding midfielder role.

"He's very competitive and fierce in the tackle, and passes the ball quickly, crisply and accurately to the creative players.

"So a side like West Ham, who want to play attacking football, can do that all the more because he gives them that balance and protection."

WILL THEY FIT IN AT UPTON PARK?

"The key thing from this deal in terms of them settling in is that they've signed together, just as Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa did when they signed for Spurs in 1978.

"Mascherano, I have no doubt, has the cultural skills to learn the language and to knit in.

"Tevez is a bit more problematic. He's been in Brazil for two years and is still totally incomprehensible in Portuguese.

"The chances of him learning English are fairly remote, so the fact that he's got his mate Mascherano with him is vital."



SEE ALSO
West Ham in takeover discussions
01 Sep 06 |  West Ham Utd
Pardew 'persuaded Argentine duo'
01 Sep 06 |  West Ham Utd
West Ham sign Tevez & Mascherano
31 Aug 06 |  West Ham Utd
Argentine signings excite Pardew
01 Sep 06 |  West Ham Utd
The Argentine connection
07 Mar 05 |  World Football
Tevez - an Argentine in Brazil
06 Dec 04 |  World Football


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