Just before Christmas a solitary newspaper report went largely unnoticed among all the usual sensationalism. Usually well-informed sources claimed that Mike Ashley was now being advised by Kia Joorabchian.
It might not seem like much of a story, but Joorabchian is the man who owned the economic rights to Carlos Tevez until his transfer to Man City. Prior to that he and his companies had leased Tevez’s registration to a number of clubs and had been heavily involved in the scandal of West Ham’s Premier League survival in 2007. Interested in buying out the Hammers previous to that, he then became involved in a dispute with them over payments he claimed to be owed with respect to Tevez. These claims were possibly disastrous for West Ham with respect to the investigation into that Tevez-inspired survival, but the dispute was resolved in an out-of-court settlement preventing the claims from being repeated in court. The terms of this settlement resulted in Joorabchian being appointed on a lucrative contract as a transfer consultant, directly leading to the resignation of Alan Curbishley.
A Joorabchian-founded company took over Corinthians in Brazil in 2004, Corinthians then signing players owned by Joorabchian’s company. Corinthians were successful in the short term, but closely followed this with a relegation after the transfer away of key players amid allegations of money-laundering. Closer to home, Joorabchian has also been reportedly interested in takeovers for Fulham and Southampton in recent years.
Leaving aside the question of whether it is wise for a club to be advised by someone whose interests lie in maximising purchase prices of players the club might wish to sign, it would seem that his advice might well develop into an offer for the club itself. His record suggests that his involvement would not be beneficial to the club, and Mike Ashley’s suggests that he would be very interested in a cash offer from anyone. Fans should be careful what they wish for – that wish might just come true.