Carlos Tevez is a top player. On this site we’ve already said we believe he’d be a big star at Man Utd because he will be a big star wherever he goes, much as he has wherever he’s been.
But is it worth the hassle? The player is brilliant but those involved with his affairs have attracted the attention of authorities wherever they’ve gone so murky are their dealings. Tevez’s affairs have been intimately tied-up with MSI, the mysterious Russian backed group controlled by exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky and fronted by Kia Joorabchian.
MSI first surfaced in 2004 as an investor in Brazilian club Corinthians, signing a 10 year partnership deal with the club. The Latin record deal that took Carlitos from Boca Juniors to Corinthians was a statement of intent as South Americans looked on stunned as MSI flung around millions assembling talent in a cash starved corner of Planet Football.
But while Corinthians fans lorded it over their rivals Brazilian authorities launched an investigation that remains open principally because most of the millions MSI supposedly poured into Brazil never actually passed through the country and the transactions have never been fully explained hidden as they are behind a myriad of off shore bank accounts. The suspicion remains among authorities that the whole Corinthians-MSI deal could have formed some form of money laundering operation. For the man on the street in Brazil, MSI and Russian Mafia are equally interchangeable terms.
Since Tevez and Mascherano left Corinthians the club’s relations with MSI have all but collapsed and from having South America’s most expensively assembled squad, the club are now broke again and facing a second season fighting relegation. No doubt this is in large part the fault of the corrupt oligarchs that run it but many questions still surround MSI’s involvement and it remains to be explained how it sought to benefit from such a huge investment in the South American game and whether any of this was realised or not.
Since then MSI and its leading participants have moved their attentions to Europe, bringing Tevez and Mascherano to West Ham in a deal that has proved a constant headache for all involved since so convoluted and irregular was its structure. Now the proposed move of Tevez from West Ham has relit the fires of controversy once again.
The question now is whether a player of the undoubted quality of Tevez is worth the bother to a club with the history and reputation of Man Utd. Do the Glazers really want the hassle of dealing with dodgy Russian oligarchs and embroiling themselves in the opaque practices of South American football, famous as it is for corruption?
Is signing Tevez worth the company of those who seem to be in charge of his career?