Thursday, September 01, 2005


GUTTED! Benni slips out of West Ham's grasp

Reports have just emerged that a last-minute West Ham swoop for highly-rated Porto striker Benni McCarthy was cancelled just hours before the transfer window closed.

West Ham United's incoming transfer record would have been smashed if the deal had gone through, but the Portuguese club pulled out just two hours before the transfer deadline passed. Their £6.5 million bid had been accepted earlier in the day, and the 27-year-old hitman had already been flown to London and had passed a club medical.

The news follows weeks of reports linking West Ham to the South African striker, including rumours of a £4.5 million bid that Porto had turned down.

West Ham recently missed out on another high-profile striker in a similar manner when AS Monaco made a sudden turnaround just as Emmanuel Adebayor was about to sign for the London club. Alan Pardew must be wondering what he needs to do to bring someone into the club permanently; he appears to have no problem attracting the players themselves but their clubs are unwilling to let them go.

A "club insider" is quoted as saying, "It seems the only reason Porto did not go through with it is because they missed out on a transfer target of their own. An awful lot of hard work and time went into making this work. It was hard to accept when it broke down. We had done our homework and knew McCarthy would fit perfectly into the squad. If we had been told from the outset Porto were not willing to sell, we could have looked at other targets. But now we must wait until January and try again."

There is reportedly a clause in McCarthy's contract that makes him vailable for around £3.5 million at the end of the season.

This news of course is devastating to West Ham supporters across the globe, as it has been well reported that Pardew was looking to splash out on a high-profile forward.

*Of dubious consolation is the news that a sell-on clause in David Connolly's transfer to Leicester has netted West Ham around £350,000 following the striker's recent transfer to Wigan.

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