I COS JESZCZE LEPSZEGO
Ferguson posts warning for rivals as United untangle deals to land Tevez
Carlos Tévez is expected to complete his transfer to Manchester United in the next 24 hours. The Argentina forward will join the Barclays Premier League champions on an initial two-year loan, at the end of which United will have the chance to buy the player permanently for a fee that could be more than £20 million.
The deal is complicated because West Ham United do not own Tévez outright, but it is thought that the London club have agreed to hand over the player’s registration rights to United so that the transfer can be sanctioned by the Premier League.
In turn, United will pay two annual fees of about £3 million to Kia Joorabchian, the businessman whose Media Sports Investments (MSI) firm owns the economic rights to Tévez.
It was unclear last night whether West Ham would receive any payment from United, although privately the club are thought to be glad to see the back of a player, who, through no fault of his own, has caused them considerable embarrassment.
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A spokesman for the Premier League said: “As far as the Premier League is concerned, any potential deal for Carlos Tévez must be struck directly with West Ham United.”
The agreement is believed to be similar to that which Liverpool arranged with West Ham and Joorabchian for Javier Mascherano, Tévez’s Argentina team-mate, who joined the Merseyside club on an 18-month loan in January for an initial fee of £1.5 million, with the option of a permanent deal.
Tévez, 23, who is contracted until 2010 with West Ham, stands to earn about £90,000 a week at Old Trafford and will be paraded by the club once he returns from Copa America, which ends on Sunday week.
David Gill, the United chief executive, is understood to have been in talks for several weeks with Joorabchian and West Ham about signing Tévez, although the champions were keen to wait until after a decision by an arbitration panel into the Tévez affair this week. West Ham were fined £5.5 million in April for breaching third party agreements regarding the signing of Tévez and Mascherano last summer, but the panel upheld the ruling of an independent commission not to dock West Ham points.
Tévez’s arrival at United would leave Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager, with an embarrassment of riches up front and represents another significant blow to the club’s title rivals, who had already been reeling from the champions’ purchase this summer of Owen Hargreaves, Anderson and Nani for a projected £55 million.
Written off by many two years ago, Ferguson is now overseeing a remarkable transformation at United, while news of the Tévez transfer could not have been better timed in the eyes of the club’s supporters. Not only could it eclipse Liverpool’s £20.2 million record purchase of Fernando Torres this week and make Arsenal’s loss of Thierry Henry seem all the more damaging, but it has gone some way towards overshadowing Sven-Göran Eriksson’s expected unveiling today as Manchester City manager.
Tévez’s arrival is likely to hasten the departure of Alan Smith, who is attracting interest from Middlesbrough, who have already bid £6 million, as well as Everton, Newcastle United, Sunderland, Aston Villa, City and West Ham. The futures of Giuseppe Rossi and Louis Saha are also uncertain, although both are likely to stay.
Sheffield United will next week ask the High Court for leave to appeal against the decision of the Premier League arbitration panel in the Tévez case. If their request is granted a week today, the hearing is expected to take place the same afternoon.
It is a far cry from the sumptuous surroundings he had in mind when considering a return to management after his departure as England head coach 12 months ago, but Sven-Göran Eriksson’s first match as Manchester City manager will be in Doncaster. Eriksson will be unveiled as the new manager today. The Swede will sign a three-year contract worth £7.5 million and take charge of the friendly away to Doncaster Rovers, the Coca-Cola League One club, at the Keepmoat Stadium on July 14.