I knew this would happen. I bloody knew it. Less than twenty-four hours after I commented that nothing interesting was going to happen as a result of the closing of the transfer window, and two of the strangest transfers of recent years take place. Of course, it will be a delight to see Carlos Tevez and Juan Mascherano in the Premiership, but the rumour mill has already started turning on the potential dark side of this move.
You see… Tevez and Mascherano were arguably Argentina’s best players at the World Cup. They had been linked with Arsenal, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, both of the Milan clubs, and so on and so on. The West Ham link is an intriguing one. Tevez and Mascherano were signed from the Brazilian club Corinthians, whose “player relations” are handled by a company called MSI. MSI’s owner lives in London, has close links with Roman Abramovich and has previously made noises about buying into West Ham. Now, it’s important to point out that West Ham have confirmed that both of these players have been signed on permanent contracts, rather than the one year loans that had been expected. The Irons have also confirmed that they are not acting as a feeder club to anybody. There’s no confirmed link between Chelsea and West Ham. But the whole episode raises so many questions that I don’t have time to answer them, so… coming up is a paragraph of questions that we may never get answers to.
Did any other clubs approach Corinthians for Tevez and Mascherano and make formal bid? Did the players themselves have any say over where they’d we going? How much are West Ham paying for these two players? How can West Ham afford what must surely be two £15m-plus transfer fees? What exactly is the link between MSI and Roman Abramovich? If Chelsea had an option on these players, why didn’t they take it? Does signing another club’s top players cut price signify a direct link between Corinthians and West Ham? Do MSI still have an interest in purchasing West Ham? Why did West Ham sell Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Glen Johnson to Chelsea? Was there interest from other clubs in these three players? Intriguing stuff.
Finally… with thirty minutes to go until the midnight deadline, there are no signs to indicate that Ashley Cole has gone from Arsenal to Chelsea. Here is the full current list of deadline day transfers. Time’s running out, Ashley, and it could be a long, cold three months on the bench at The Emirates Stadium if your agent doesn’t pull his finger out.