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Mascherano Will Cost Us £20m


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Heads in the sand over ownership madness


Jul 21 2007 by Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo


IF LIVERPOOL want to sign Javier Mascherano at the end of this season, it’s expected he’ll cost £20m. Good news for West Ham, you might think.


Alan Curbishley’s Icelandic/Russian benefactors might not need to dip into their pockets so much if he wants to bid for players next summer.


Except, if Liverpool do buy Mascherano, the accounts at Upton Park won’t be swelled by a penny.


His agents, MSI, own the economic rights to the Argentinian.


As with Carlos Tevez’s ‘complicated’ move to Manchester United, any fees supposedly passing between the clubs will be quickly passed on to the third party. This is prohibited by the Premiership, which is why West Ham were heavily fined at the end of last season.


Laughably, the Premiership’s rulers believe Tevez has belonged 100 per cent to West Ham ever since they punished the club, taking on face value the claim the deal was altered as result of their intervention.


The Premier League need to convince themselves of this in order to divert attention from the almighty c**k-up at the heart of West Ham’s continued presence in the top flight.


The only reason Tevez was allowed to play in the remaining few games of last season, after the abnormalities of his deal were exposed and West Ham were fined, is because the Hammers said the contract with MSI had been ripped up and they owned the player.


“Fine then, he can play,” said the Premier League, seemingly oblivious to the fact that even if West Ham did shred their documents, the MSI agency certainly did not and the original conditions of their deal stand.


Everyone knows nothing changed. To prove it, investigators need only follow the money trail when Tevez joins United, or if Mascherano moves permanently to Anfield.


Liverpool and United have worked overtime to ensure everything is as it should be at their end, but in doing so the irregularities at Upton Park have become clear. That’s why Rick Parry, correctly, gave evidence on Sheffield United’s behalf during the summer.


If the catalogue of ineptitude which allows West Ham to escape relegation wasn’t bad enough, the lack of pressure put upon them by a largely ambivalent media is just as disturbing.


Many will be tired of the whole ‘Tevez affair’, but how many of the newspaper industry’s genuinely big (in some cases really, really big) hitters have been prepared to go in where it’s dirty to expose what’s happened at Upton Park?


Could, by chance, the fact so many of our most influential sports writers are loyal Hammers fans have anything to do with their reluctance to back Sheffield United’s recent court case?


One such scribe appeared on a slot on Sky TV a few weeks ago to say he was bored and felt the time had come for the Yorkshire club to draw a line under the affair and accept their fate.


“This had nothing to do with the new regime. They should not be punished,” scream the Upton Park apologists, who seem as keen as the Premier League and West Ham board for the issue to die a quiet death.


At the very least, they ought to be asking how the ‘Icelandic’ consortium allowed the Tevez deal to go unchecked through the due diligence process.


Did their accountants notice nothing of suspicion?


Had West Ham been the victims in this case, I suspect many a London hack would be spending their eighth week in a bed and breakfast near Bramall Lane, determined to find the evidence which would allow the Hammers to avoid relegation.


It’s not only the leniency shown to West Ham which raises serious issues of objectivity in certain sections of the media.


On Monday, Sky Sports News dedicated hours to a theatrical training session by David Beckham.


It was the kind of trivial non-event the channel thrives upon, and yet when a serious, relevant story broke – that of the three major clubs raided by the police – it was allocated a mere three minutes at the top of the hour.


“This has nothing to do with the new Newcastle regime,” an apologetic reporter announced from outside St James’ Park. “The new board have promised full co-operation in this matter… Now, back to Posh and Becks in L.A.”


Sky didn’t just read the Newcastle press release, they sounded like the press office.


Why have Newcastle got such a hold on Sky? Are they worried Jim White won’t be invited to host the next unveiling of a player of the calibre of Michael Owen?


West Ham, Newcastle, Portsmouth and others appear to have friends in high places. If there’s any justice, the Hammers will end the season in a particularly low one.




A lot of money (if true), but I think it's well worth paying to keep hold of the little bugger. :popcorn:

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