04 September 2006

Where There's Smoke, There's Pini Zahavi

Elite English clubs rejected Argentina duo over contracts
“But this summer several big European clubs, including Manchester United, baulked at the price for one or both of the players. David Gill, the United chief executive, confirmed that yesterday. Arsenal, Chelsea, Seville and Roma were also reportedly among those not interested.

Instead MSI was left desperately seeking a club that would act as a "surrogate mother" for the players, on several conditions, including a contractual obligation to play them in every match, and a contractual obligation to let them be sold for profits - for MSI to pocket - at a time of MSI's choosing. Portsmouth were unwilling to take the players under such conditions, and neither were Manchester United willing to take Mascherano as part of such a deal. Gill said United were never interested in Tevez.”
'I brokered West Ham deal,' says Zahavi
“According to Pini Zahavi - a friend of Joorabchian and the agent who brokered the players' move to West Ham - Tevez and Mascherano have each signed five-year deals, and were advised to do so by him. West Ham paid no transfer fees.

"I'm the one who told them to go to West Ham," Zahavi told The Independent. "It's the best thing for them at this stage of their career, for them to stay together and play for the same team and not to have the pressure of being at a big club. Foreign players need time to adjust and are not always well treated.

“Secondly West Ham play good, attacking football and the crowd will love the two players. They will be heroes. They will be looked after, they will be made to feel welcome.” ”
The same Pini Zahavi that helped broker Abramovich’s purchase of Chelsea, Alexandre Gaymarak’s purchase of Portsmouth, the transfer of Rio Ferdinand and Juan Veron to United, and whose fingerprints were all over the Ashley Cole saga. Fantastic.

I stand by my belief that Manchester United needs a player like Mascherano, but the more that comes out about the Tevez/Mascherano transfer, the worse it looks for West Ham. The Independent stories reiterate all the claims that have come out since the transfer: MSI retains all rights to the players, no transfer fees involved but MSI sells them when they want to whom they want. If Zahavi is right about the contracts, if it doesn’t work out, West Ham’s still locked into five-year deals with both. And they have to play them every game? That’s completely pulling the rug out from under the club and I can’t believe that Alan Pardew’s gone along with that.

Zahavi is right about one thing, though. West Ham isn’t a bad club for them to develop at. They are clearly on the up and have reestablished themselves in the Premier League far quicker than I imagined. They have a fantastic history of developing young players: Frank Lampard, Jermain Defoe, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole and Rio Ferdinand among others. They do play attractive football. And Alan Pardew is one of the better young English managers. But the fact remains this is a major gamble for the club both on and off the pitch, as well yet another reminder of the increasing corporatization of the league by less than reputable entities.

No comments :