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West Ham's Five-Year Lease, with an Option to Buy

The British press continues to try and make sense of the bizarre set of circumstances that brought Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez to West Ham United for next to nothing. The Daily Telegraph, after speaking with Pini Zahavi, the so-called "super agent" who represented the pair in the deal that sent them to West Ham from Corinthians, claims to understand the mysterious terms of the deal. According to the report, West Ham paid just $9 million in agents' fees for both players to come over from Brazil, but the club also had to agree to a clause that specifies that it would have to sell if a bid came in for the players at any point in the next five years. To keep them, West Ham would have to pay nearly $75 million. So in essence, this is more like an option to buy the players than anything else. Both players are "owned" by other organizations in the sense that much of their income doesn't go to them. Media Sport International's Georgian backer Badri Patarkatsishvili owns 100 percent of Tevez and 50 percent of Mascherano, the other half being owned by Globo, a Brazilian TV company. The Georgian billionaire describes the West Ham deal as a "rental," but the Telegraph says it sounds more like a five-year lease. Meanwhile, one or more of the investors in MSI, including Patarkatsishvili and Kia Joorabchian are preparing takeover bids for the club. Why all the fuss about West Ham? Two words: Olympic Games. The 2012 Games are set to transform London's East End, making West Ham's location particularly desirable. By 2012, there will be an Olympic Park, a shopping center, new housing and a new 80,000-seat stadium in the immediate vicinity. However, The Telegraph's story should be taken with a grain of salt, as its claims have yet to be substantiated by other news publications or West Ham United.

Read the whole story at The Daily Telegraph »

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