Magnusson finalises move to end uncertain days at West Ham

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The Independent Online

The Icelandic consortium headed by Eggert Magnusson last night announced that they had bought West Ham United in a deal worth £98m. They will make a further announcement to the Stock Exchange today.

As revealed by The Independent on Saturday, Magnusson has received "irrevocable" agreements to acquire 75 per cent of the Premiership club's shares and will install himself as chairman. That process should be complete in around nine days' time, meaning his first game in overall charge will be the away fixture at Everton a week on Sunday.

Magnusson, who will resign as head of the Icelandic football federation and a key Uefa delegate to take up his new role, will release an offer document and announce whether or not he aims to take 100 per cent control, which seems likely.

He has also offered posts to the current chairman, Terence Brown, who will become the club's vice-president - an honorary rather than an executive role - plus the managing director Paul Aldridge, who will have special responsibility for looking at stadium development and the possible move to the Olympic site in Stratford, the company secretary Scott Duxbury and the finance director Nick Igoe.

Of more relevance to the fans is Magnusson's reiterating his support for the manager Alan Pardew, and he will back that with substantial transfer funds for the January window. Pardew's first priority will be a right-sided midfielder, having failed to sign Steed Malbranque and James Milner in the summer.

The takeover brings to an end Kia Joorabchian's interest. The Iranian businessman has dallied with a bid for West Ham for almost two years and has helped to breed an air of uncertainty around the club for the past four months after bringing Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano to West Ham.

However, after carrying out due diligence his backer, the Israeli property magnate Eli Papoushado, decided that West Ham were asking too much money and failed to lodge an offer. The collapse of that deal, and Magnusson's success, will also now lead to the departure of the two Argentines, possibly in January.

Fifa rules prevent two moves within a season but that regulation is waived if the two football associations involved agree. The likelihood is that Tevez and Mascherano, who effectively remain Joorabchian's players and have clauses in their contracts allowing them to leave, will depart for Spain or Italy with West Ham not seeing any return in terms of a transfer fee.

Magnusson, along with his wife, attended the weekend match away to Chelsea as a guest of Brown, and yesterday his advisers, Seymour Pierce, drew up the final details of the takeover.

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