Directly from the horse’s mouth (West Ham United club website):
West Ham Official Statement
West Ham United are delighted to announce the double signing of Argentinian World Cup stars Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano from Brazilian club Corinthians.
The pair have been signed for an undisclosed fee and put pen to paper on permanent contracts with the Club this afternoon. All other aspects of the transfers will remain confidential and undisclosed.
The transfers represent a massive coup for the Hammers, who have beaten off some of Europe’s biggest clubs to secure the services of the duo – both of whom played a key role for Argentina as they reached the World Cup quarter-finals in Germany this summer before losing to the hosts in a penalty shoot-out.
Tevez, 22, is widely regarded as one of the most talented young strikers in the world. Labelled by many as ‘the new Diego Maradona’, he began his career with Boca Juniors, making his debut at the age of 17 and going on to become a cult hero at the Bombonera Stadium.
The Argentine football writers voted him Footballer of the Year in 2003 and 2004, and also Sportsman of the Year in 2004, after he had led Boca to the Argentine championship and the Copa Libertadores.
In December 2004, Tevez moved to Corinthians in a $22.6million deal – the biggest ever in South American football. Initially, he wasn’t well received in the country of Argentina’s greatest rivals, but soon won the supporters over and became captain as the club secured the Brazilian championship in 2005.
He appeared in every one of Argentina’s five games at the World Cup finals in June, scoring a goal in the memorable 6-0 victory over Serbia and Montenegro, and winning the man of the match award in the 0-0 draw with Holland. He currently has 25 full international caps to his name, and has scored four goals for his country.
Javier Mascherano, also 22, is a highly-rated defensive midfielder who earned rave reviews for his performances at the World Cup finals in the summer, when he provided the steely backbone behind Argentina’s attacking style of play.
Like his good friend Tevez, Mascherano left an Argentinian club – River Plate, the great rivals of Boca Juniors – to join Corinthians in 2004, for a fee of $15million, and helped to play a key role in their title success last year.
With 20 caps for the national team, he is considered one of the county’s hottest properties, and has also been linked with a number of top European clubs recently.
Both Carlos and Javier are currently in London preparing for Argentina’s showcase friendly match against South American rivals Brazil at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on Sunday and will be available for selection when Hammers return to Premiership action against Aston Villa next week.
Exclusive reaction from Alan Pardew and both players will follow here on whufc.com soon.
The players have now returned to the Argentinian national team camp and will not be available for any further interviews. West Ham United will make a further announcement later regarding the official unveiling of both players.
Obviously, congratulations to West Ham fans – it’s a fantastic piece of transfer dealing, and while the conspiracy theories run amok there is no doubt that West Ham will be a genuine force in the Premiership and in the UEFA Cup thanks to these new additions. Whether West Ham will actually win anything is a different matter, but along with Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Tottenham they look to be one of the most improved squads (Villa get mentioned because of O’Neill) of the summer.
Conspiracy theorists might want to look at this article that talks about MSI owner wanting to buy West Ham…