Icelander takes over West Ham for £98m

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The Independent Online

Eggert Magnusson will effectively complete his £98m take-over of West Ham United on Monday. The Icelandic businessman, who is heading a consortium, will install himself as chairman with manager Alan Pardew remaining in place and transfer funds being made available to him for the January window.

The Premiership club's present chairman, Terence Brown, who currently controls 40 per cent of the shares, has been offered an honorary role, probably as president, with the rest of the board, including managing director, Paul Aldridge, expected to keep their jobs.

Magnusson's advisers have completed the process of due diligence - looking at the club's books - and nothing untoward has been found. A formal offer has been submitted with £75m being paid for the club as well as taking on their debts of £22.5m. The offer will become "irrevocable" on Monday - with Magnusson acquiring 75 per cent of the shares - although an announcement is not expected to be made until later in the week.

The take-over will end a complicated and unsettling saga for West Ham that has run throughout this season and has affected their performances on the pitch. It also marks an astonishing turnaround for Magnusson and his backers who were initially ignored by the club who clearly favoured an alternative bid headed by the entrepreneur Kia Joorabchian.

However, that consortium, which was funded by the Israeli property magnate Eli Papoushado and advised by the agent Pini Zahavi, has failed to make an offer following wrangles over the previously agreed price for West Ham. Papoushado claimed that they were paying too much, especially with £4m outstanding on the transfer fee for Dean Ashton.

That row also confirmed the misgivings over the consortium that had started to increase at West Ham, who declared that such payments were clearly set out in their published accounts and were part of the running of a football club. It also led to serious questions being asked over the resources Joorabchian and Papoushado were willing to commit to the club's future.

At the same time Magnusson, who is head of the Icelandic football federation, a position he will step down from to take control of West Ham, re-configured his consortium, dropping some of the original members he inherited when first approached by the former player Tony Cottee. He also re-financed his offer with a greater proportion of the money coming in equity rather than extra debt.

His main financial backer is Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, the chairman of the Icelandic bank, Landsbanki, but an extremely wealthy businessman in his own right who is using his money in the deal rather than that of the financial institution's. He is not, however, expected to take a place on the West Ham board.

The Independent revealed two weeks ago that the club had opened talks with Magnusson and the speed with which he has completed the deal contrasts sharply with how long Joorabchian has taken.

Magnusson, who is also an important delegate with Uefa and has stressed that he is a "serious football man" throughout the process, met with Pardew on Tuesday with the manager later saying he was impressed by the prospective new owner's plans. "West Ham fans would like to have heard the things he said to me - I think he has got a good concept of what he wants to do at the club," Pardew said.

Pardew, who would have almost certainly been sacked had Joorabchian taken over, has been assured that he will be given time by Magnusson, who admires the present manager. Magnusson has also given guarantees that there will be no interference in team affairs or in the buying or selling of players.

Magnusson, who made his own wealth through an import/export bread and biscuit manufacturing company, has also set up a meeting with Olympic chiefs to talk about the possibility of West Ham moving into the stadium being built for the 2012 Games. However, he has already stressed that his takeover is not predicated on moving from Upton Park.

Tevez and Mascherano likely to be shown Upton Park exit

Eggert Magnusson's takeover of West Ham United will almost certainly signal the end of the careers of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano at the club.

Despite signing permanent contracts on the final day of the summer transfer window, Tevez and Mascherano (pictured above, left to right, between the West Ham manager, Alan Pardew) will be allowed to leave soon following Kia Joorabchian's failure to take control of the club. It was Joorabchian who brought the pair to Upton Park and who still, it is understood, controls them. At the same time it appears West Ham's new owner believes it may be in everyone's interests if the Argentines leave.

Despite their talent, they have failed to make an impact since arriving from the Brazilian club, Corinthians. A complication is the Fifa rule which appears to state that players can only be transferred once per season. However, it is understood that the ruling is not necessarily enforced if the two associations involved agree not to raise an objection.

Another Brazilian club, Flamengo, have already attempted to take the two on loan.

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