West Ham’s capture of Argentinean duo Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez in August stunned the footballing world. The Hammers had pulled of a massive coup to land two of the games most prized assets, but their arrival came under a cloud of mystery.
Corinthians had a partnership deal with Media Sports Investment (MSI) who invested in the club and it is alleged that the company actually owned the rights to all of the clubs players (due to Corinthians being unable to afford the contracts). The partnership between Corinthians and MSI is thought to have gone sour and MSI are believed to haved wanted to ship-out their most prized assets in order to protect their investments.
Both players arrived from Brazilian club Corinthians within 48 hours after being sounded out about a move to West Ham and arrived for undisclosed fees. Speculation mounted as to who actually paid the transfer fees (if any were paid at all) and to who actually owned the contracts.
It is believed that even though the players are registered with West Ham, MSI still own the players contracts and are only using the London club as a shop window to maximise their investment. Before West Ham were offered the players, reports suggested that MSI approached Manchester United and Chelsea with a similar deal, both clubs are believed to have rejected their offer as they were not keen on the idea of not owning the players outright.
English newspaper The Guardian reported that should any club offer £35m for either player West Ham would be forced to sell them, but it is unclear who would pocket the transfer fee.
Since their arrival at Upton Park both players have failed to make any impact on the Premiership and have admitted that they have not fully adapted to life in England. Neither player is a first team regular in the Hammers starting XI and their arrival has coincided in the clubs slump in form. This is linked to reports that there is a rift in the dressing room and this has clearly had an impact on results as West Ham are flirting with relegation.
Newspapper reports suggest that both players will be sold in the January transfer and a host of top European clubs are thought to be showing interest. It is believed that Mascherano was set to join Juventus during the summer but their relegation to Serie B cut-short any potential transfer. The Turin club are still interested in the holding midfielder and are considering sounding out a potential move in the winter transfer window. Barcelona have also been heavily linked with Tevez as they currently have an injury crisis upfront. Carlos Tevez has insisted that he does not want to leave West Ham and has denied rumours of a rift within the Upton Park dressing room and has stated that he is determined to forge a career with The Hammers.
With mystery over who actually owns the players and their contracts, it will be out of Mascherano’s and Tevez’s hands where they end up in the near future.