Iranian to bid for West Ham after Argentine transfer coup

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The Independent Football

West Ham United are set for a takeover bid from the Iranian investor Kia Joorabchian after he pulled off one of the most remarkable transfer coups in Premiership history yesterday by bringing the Argentina international stars Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano to the club.

Joorabchian, who has invested £50m in the Brazilian club Corinthians since December 2004, is understood to be preparing to take over West Ham having helped them to acquire two of the brightest young players in world football. A key player in the world transfer market, Joorabchian and the company Media Sports Investments are understood to have held the registrations ­ effectively the ownership ­ of Tevez and Mascherano.

Both players have attracted interest from, among others, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal this summer but yesterday morning came the extraordinary announcement that they would be moving to Upton Park. West Ham confirmed last night that both had joined on "permanent deals" although they made it clear that Joorabchian and the club plan to sell them on at a huge profit.

A spokesman for West Ham said: "There is no way West Ham would act as a feeder club for others. These are exciting signings for us but, of course, if we were offered major fees for the players at a later date we would have to consider it ­ as we would with other players." Talking to BBC Radio Five Live, Joorabchian said he had turned down a £32m bid for Tevez before deciding that West Ham would be the right club for the pair.

"What is important is how the success of the two boys goes during the season," he said. "All this will have an effect on how they continue." Tevez and Mascherano, both 22, are currently in London with the Argentina squad and will play against Brazil at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday. While their arrival is likely to cause excitement among the West Ham supporters it will also be coloured by concern at the prospect of a new regime.

West Ham chairman Terry Brown is no fans' favourite, but he has at least refused to relinquish control unless he finds a buyer prepared to invest in the transfer market. Last August Joorabchian first suggested that he might be interested in buying West Ham and indicated he would invest heavily in transfers. However, his £45m valuation of the club was £15m short of Brown's price. Tevez and Mascherano were last night awaiting their work permits. They will be eligible for the home game against Aston Villa a week on Sunday.

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