Joorabchian to meet deadline for launching West Ham takeover

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The Independent Online

The consortium fronted by Kia Joorabchian is set to meet the Friday deadline imposed upon them by West Ham United to launch its takeover of the club.

The price of the deal has been agreed at £75m - which, significantly, includes taking on the club's debts of £23.5m rather than the debts being added on top. One issue that has still to be settled is whether or not the club's bankers will accept the debt being serviced rather than simply paid off as part of the takeover.

At the same time West Ham are believed to have ruled out the chances of the Icelandic group led by Eggert Magnusson. Indeed, much to Magnusson's frustration, they have refused to hold any negotiations, even though his bid appears highly credible.

It also appears certain that if Joorabchian gains control he will press ahead with his plans to sack manager Alan Pardew. That would prove highly unpopular with West Ham fans. There is little chance of Alan Curbishley being offered the job and, although Sven Goran Eriksson is understood to be interested, he is holding out for an offer in Europe. It is possible that Joorabchian, whose main financial backer is the Israeli property magnate Eli Papouchado, who has engaged the bankers NM Rothschild and is driving the takeover attempt, will once again miss a deadline.

Several influential figures within West Ham hope that if he fails it will end any takeover talk until at least next summer. However, there remains the destabilising prospect, as happened before, that Joorabchian could yet be given even more time.

After Sunday's victory over Blackburn Rovers, West Ham's first win in 12 games, Pardew admitted that the uncertainty has been damaging. "It means my position is under question and every player's position is too," he said.

Indeed, some players have started to regard Pardew, who has conducted himself with great dignity and would not have been sacked even if his team had lost on Sunday, as a "dead man walking". Others are believed to be unhappy because contract negotiations have been put on hold until the club's future is resolved.

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