The biggest news out of the transfer saga was the signing of Argentina internationals Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano from Brazilian club Corinthians for undisclosed fees. Initially, the players were supposed to be loaned which would have been huge in itself. The signing was a shocker and people started speculating if West Ham could become a top 6 English club. No one understood how the signings took place.
Now, the secrets are coming out of the cupboard. The Independent discloses that Iranian investor Kia Joorabchian is set to put forward a take over bid for West Ham. He is the same person who was the man behind the Tevez-Mascherano transfers. That is not all regarding Joorabchian. He is the man behind MSI (who failed in a takeover bid in November ‘05) .
As their webpage states:
Media Sports Investements is a London based international investment fund. Led by Iranian business man Kia Joorabchain, MSI has a number of investors mainly based in Britain and Russia.
Read this piece from 18 months ago which my friend TT Boy points me towards. The piece is important given the recent transfer. It states, among other things:
The last month has seen Corinthians, with the help of their new-found backers, also recruit the services of other top players, with Carlos Alberto (scorer of Portoâ€™s first goal in last seasonâ€™s Champions League final), CSKA Moscow striker Vagner Love and centre-back Sebastian Dominguez from Argentine table-toppers Newellâ€™s Old Boys all moving to Sao Paulo.
The President of MSI is 33-year old Kia Joorabchian (believed to be Iranian), but a certain Russian billionaire and an Israeli agent, Pini Zahavi, are both thought to be involved. Joorabchian has denied Abramovichâ€™s involvement, although he admits that the Russian billionaire is a friend (they also have business links through another Russian billionaire, Boris Berezovsky). Abramovich has also denied having any financial interest in CSKA Moscow, but there is enough evidence to suggest this is dubious at best – a US$54 million three-year deal to have their shirts sponsored by Russian oil company Sibneft, of which Abramovich is still the major shareholder; club president Yevgeny Giner being another â€œclose friendâ€ of Abramovich; the recent controversial signing of Jiri Jarosik (CSKA coach Valeri Gazzayev was furious at the deal)
What to make out of all this? TT Boy states:
The breakdown is MSI (who Roman supposedly owns 15% of) own Tevez and Javier, MSI also ran Sport Club Corinthians Paulista (until 2009 or something). MSI leased the players to Corinthians to allow them to take over. During the summer both players left Corinthians for free and have now signed for West Ham and if MSI get an interest in West Ham, then effectively West Ham like Corinthians will become a feeder club for Chelsea. That is the theory.
So how much of an interest does Roman Abramovich have behind this and how far is he responsible? How far has the concept of feeder clubs been taken? The transfer of Tevez and Mascherano, if we look at it solely without considering any thing else, looks shocking, unbelievable and almost impossible. Why would the two sign for a West Ham when bigger clubs like Manchester United (disputable now with them denying it), Bayern Munich and Arsenal were interested?
Update: West Ham confirms that exploratory discussions are taking place related to takeover.
Update 2: The duo explain that they signed for the Hammers instead of the bigger clubs because Pardew made them feel wanted. Hmm.
Update 3: BBC has collected responses from fans on various transfers. Adisco sums up what many fans are feeling right now:
Is this the future of the transfer market? Shady deals by unknown people in “deep background”. In the euphoria of signing these two guys, we seem to have forgotten that this is a real slippery slope. I for one would like the FA to take a look at how transfers are being done and take adequate steps to ensure that transparency is maintained.
Final Update: There are a lot of theories and murmurs going about right now. No one knows for certain who is behind all this and what the exact truth is. What I do know is that the truth needs to come out. Football fans have the right to know..