Archive for April 3rd, 2007

Signing Suggestion #1: Carlos Tevez

506 comments April 3rd, 2007

Yesterday I expressed my desire for new faces at the club this Summer. Now, I wouldn’t be much of a man if I didn’t back up that statement with a few suggestions. I’ve already spoken at length about the possibility of Franck Ribery ending our wide-man woes. But what about upfront? Julio Baptista and Jeremie Aliadiere are about as likely to stay as yesterday’s nice weather. And so beyond the trinity of Henry, Adebayor, and van Persie, our hopes will rest on two teenagers: Theo Walcott and Niklas Bendtner.

Well, for me, Walcott is still a very raw talent who is best used on the wing at this stage. His form is hugely erratic, and whilst he can make an impact as a substitute, he is not someone who can be relied on to perform consistently.

Bendtner, meanwhile, is a stocky lad with a good touch, but I can’t help but feel his performances at Birmingham have been a little overblown. Take, for example, the fact that since December 3rd 2006, he’s scored just one goal. Take, as another example, the fact that in a division he’s supposedly too good for, the likes of Jamie Cureton, Gregorz Rasiak, Stevie Howard, Chris Iwelumo, Alan Lee, Ian Hume, and Kenwyne Jones (to name but a few) have all scored more goals. We wouldn’t rely on one of those next season, and we can’t rely on Bendtner.

So, to avoid the embarrassing situation we’ve faced in the past few games, with a frontline about as lethal as a Calpol overdose, it’s clear we require reinforcement – someone to be the player Baptista has singularly failed to be. Someone with pace, strength, a direct approach, and natural finishing. A player who has already shown he can make an impact in this league, and who can challenge for a regular starting berth in our side.

A player like Carlos Tevez.

I’m sure many of you will scoff at Tevez’s three league goals this season. But Bendtner’s total has been achieved playing for a side who are second in their division. West Ham are second bottom. What’s more, all three of those goals have come in his last three games – Tevez is beginning to adapt to the Premiership, with spectacular results.

He’s had a nightmare season, and I feel desperately sorry for him. This is a guy who captained Corinthians to the Brazilian title; a guy who was named South American Player of the Year on a record three consecutive occasions; and who won the 2004 Olympic Golden Boot with six goals in four games. This year, he has found himself as the star attraction in an imploding circus. West Ham’s idiocy in sacking Alan Pardew seems certain to get them relegated, and it is now only Tevez’s whole-hearted performances that give them any chance of staying up.

After a difficult start in which his arrival was preposterously blamed for the terrible performances of the Baby Bentley Boys, it’s not surprising he wasn’t looking like anything to be excited about. Overweight and homesick, it was a slight surprise that he didn’t join Mascherano in bailing ship in January.

But Tevez is a tougher character than that. He’s taken West Ham to heart, and even though he is pretty much blameless for their poor form, seems to have shouldered the responsibility of keeping them up on his own broad frame. Now, at last, we are seeing the real Tevez.

He is everywhere, chasing and harrying. If he loses the ball he’s the first into the tackle to win it back. And when he has it at his feet, he’s capable of magic. Around the edge of the box he comes to life, exploding between defenders with his low centre of gravity, or using his guile to play in a team-mate. He’s also a specialist set-piece taker, and could teach us a thing or two about taking corners. He’s a goalscorer (25 in 36 games in his final year at Corinthians), and furthermore, he compliments each of the strikers we have already.

Whether or not West Ham go down, Tevez is unlikely to stick around. Now is the ideal time to sign him: his value is presumably going to be at an all-time low, and yet he’s already had a season of acclimatisation to the Premiership. The key would be releasing him from the chains of his contract with MSI, the company that owns his playing rights. Any deal would be dependent on buying him outright from them, in order to avoid any confusion or conflicts of interest.

I’m not saying that signing Tevez will automatically make us world beaters. But he is a player who could come in an make an immediate impact. On his day, he’s the most similar player to Wayne Rooney in all of world football. And that’s no bad thing.

What do you reckon?

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