Pardew 'will quit if forced to pick Argentine pair'

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The Independent Football

Alan Pardew said yesterday that he would quit as West Ham manager if it was ever suggested to him that he had to play new signings Carlos Tevez or Javier Mascherano.

"I won't accept that and I make that quite clear now, so if there is a potential owner thinking that might happen, he best think again or he better think of somebody else," Pardew said following the unveiling of the two Argentina internationals at Upton Park.

"I am very proud of not just what I've done but what my team's done, in terms of my staff," Pardew added. "To think I would put that at risk in terms of implying I would have to pick certain players, I just wouldn't accept it. It's not what me or my team are made of."

However, Pardew, who said he knew little of the possibility of the club being taken over, admitted the circumstances surrounding the deal to land the two 22-year-olds from the Brazilian club Corinthians without, as yet, a fee being paid were "intriguing".

"I can understand the fans' anxiety because these two players are on the world stage and they have come to us in a manner which is undisclosed," Pardew said. "There is some mystery surrounding that." However, even though both have signed four-year deals, Pardew implied that he did not necessarily expect either to stay beyond this season. "We have signed two world-class players," he said. "I have assurances that they will not be leaving in the next transfer window [in January]. For the next year let's enjoy them and their quality. Let's see where that takes us because we want to go on to the next level and challenge the likes of the big teams in this division. This is a route to that. Hopefully, we will have such success these guys will stay with us for maybe four years."

Pardew claimed that the "negativity" surrounding the deal was partly explained by scepticism as to why the players had decided to join West Ham - and the terms of the move. "A point that's been missed is that this isn't [Ruud] van Nistelrooy or Claude Makelele who's come over, these are two 22-year-olds," he said. "They've had success at international level but limited success, I would say. They are not honed international players, these are young players.

"One of the reasons that perhaps Carlos and Javier have selected us is for our record with young players. I'm hoping that is taken on board in terms of what they will achieve here. Don't think they will be the finished article. We won't know until they step out in the Premiership hurly-burly."

It is the signing of Tevez, a stocky, strong and skilful striker, which has particularly enthused Pardew and yesterday he accepted the invitation to compare "Carlitos", whom he watched during the summer's World Cup, to Wayne Rooney.

"I believe we now have a player in Tevez who is going to threaten [to match] the quality of Wayne Rooney," Pardew said. "I was at the [Argentina v] Serbia [& Montenegro] game when he came on as a sub and he took my breath away and I think the fans here will see a player in the history of West Ham who will get them off their seats. He is the one who is a bit of a special talent and, hopefully, he will take us to another level - like Rooney does when he plays for Man Utd. He is that type of talent." Pardew said that, like Rooney, Tevez, who is known for having a short fuse, will have to learn to "channel" his anger.

Pardew said he was prepared to deal with the "four or five agents" the players will bring with them. "They will get left at the door, that will be a shock to them," he added. He will also have to handle the rest of his squad carefully. "The lads read the press as much as I do and they'll have their own reservations and concerns, and I'll have to address them."

* Kia Joorabchian, the businessman behind West Ham's Argentine signings, confirmed to the Stock Exchange yesterday that he is considering making a takeover bid for the club.