A spokesman for Kia Joorabchian last night denied that Manchester City had struck a deal to pay a British record £47m for Carlos Tevez to MSI, the company fronted by Joorabchian that effectively owned the player until he moved to City last month.
A report last night alleged that City had agreed to pay £47m for the Argentine forward, as opposed to £25.5m, the figure widely reported as the fee City paid to lure him from Manchester United. "It's not true," a spokesman for Joorabchain said of the £47m figure. The spokesman said that he expected Joorabchian, and possibly City, to issue a formal denial today.
Rumours have circulated for several weeks that City had agreed to pay considerably more for Tevez than the £25.5m reported at the time of his move. In response to a recent inquiry from The Independent that City had in fact broken the British transfer record to sign Tevez, a City spokeswoman said: "No comment."
Last night's reports suggested that City had agreed to an initial £15m payment for Tevez, with two £16m payments to come.
If City did agree to pay £47m for Tevez, as alleged last night, that figure would smash the British record of £32.5m that City paid in 2008 for Robinho, and would force a reappraisal of the Tevez move, which divided Manchester this summer. It would cast fresh light on the magnitude of the ambitions of City's Middle Eastern owners, and on their willingness to pay massive sums for players.
The Tevez deal will be the last of its kind. Third-party ownership of players in the Premier League is now banned. Joorabchian and his anonymous backers at MSI were only able to secure one last payday from Tevez's sale because, according to an administrative source, "Tevez was already inside our [Premier League] system."
In future, if any Premier League club wants to buy a player owned or co-owned by a party that is not another football club, that player must become wholly owned by another club before being transferred on.
Infamously, this isn't what happened when Tevez and his fellow Argentine, Javier Mascherano, first came to England, with West Ham, in 2006.