By Mac Byrne
So what exactly is the ‘deal’ with Carlos Alberto Tevez?
Kicking-off his career in his native Argentina with Boca Juniors in October 2001 Tevez was the subject of a South American record £13.7m transfer to Corinthians of Brazil in January 2005. But it was the 2006 World Cup Finals and his subsequent transfer to West Ham – along with team mate Javier Mascherano – in August 2006 that brought him to the attention of UK fans. Who could forget the ‘rabbit in the headlights’ lift exiting photo’ that graced our ‘red tops’ and the sensation of the transfer pulled off by the Hammers’ board? Whilst fans wondered how such an audacious deal had been done by this lower mid-table East London club many aficionados questioned whether the Argentinians actually knew who they were joining!
The plot thickened when it emerged that businessman Kia Joorabchian and his Media Sports Investment (MSI) company who had brokered this extraordinary deal. Over the subsequent months the rumour mill began suggesting the dynamic duo were in fact owned by the ‘third party’ KJ and his MSI; something commonplace in South America but illegal in blighty!
Cue the merry-go-round of legal ownership wranglings, recriminations and restitutions – including a £20m pay off to Sheffield United as Tevez’s wizardry kept the Hammers up at the expense of their rivals. Despite the Irons begging their star to stay, Tevez was soon on the move again with an apparently above-board move to Old Trafford and a home befitting his ability. That was until his paymasters decided it was time for another payday, orchestrating an ill-tempered move to neighbours City.
Fast forward to Summer 2011 and with ‘El Apache’ on the verge of a return to the darkest depths of South America’s shady transfer market, we may never find out the true story behind Tevez’s transfer deals or whether he was ever actually ‘owned’ by anyone!