West Ham manager Alan Pardew admits he is relishing the prospect of working with Argentine duo Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.
The 22-year-old World Cup players were officially unveiled at Upton Park on Tuesday after signing for the east London club on transfer deadline day. The deals, along with talk of a takeover of the club, have brought the Hammers into the spotlight in recent days.
“I don’t care what people are saying. I’ve got two world-class players at West Ham – let’s rejoice,” said Pardew.
Media Sports Investments owned the rights to the players when they played for Brazilian side Corinthians and the group have been linked to a takeover of West Ham.
On Friday the club confirmed they were having “exploratory discussions” over a possible takeover, although they did not disclose the identity of the suitors.
“A lot of the press has been negative, people don’t like change,” added Pardew.
“But the transfer system is changing rapidly. Transfers across the board and the role of agencies in terms of buying players is changing.
“But some of the things printed about this one, like shady dealing – there is just no truth in it, as far as I’m concerned.
“These two guys are on the world stage and they have come to us in a manner that is undisclosed.
“But I can’t worry about that, I’m the team manager. I’ve put the terms of the deal to the back of my mind.”
Pardew believes Tevez and Mascherano will be able to take the club on to the next level.
“I just want to work with them,” said Pardew.
“They have signed four-year contracts, people have forgotten that already, and I can assure you they will not be leaving in the next transfer window.
“We want to challenge the biggest clubs in our division and this deal is going to help us do that.
“But I will never be forced to play either of them – as has also been suggested. If that was the case I wouldn’t be here anymore.”
Mascherano said he had wanted to join West Ham because the club appeared so keen to sign him.
“We were both very happy to receive the offer from West Ham,” he revealed.
“The fact that they made us a firm offer was encouraging and you always go to the place where you are most wanted.
“I didn’t think it would be a controversial move. We had other offers in the pipeline but nothing ever came of them.
“The Premiership is an important league to play in, especially for us – coming from South America.
“But we haven’t come to save anyone. We are both team players and we come into a big team with great spirit and will work hard for the team.”
Mascherano, who had been linked with a move to Manchester United, said he was deterred from joining the club after speaking with former United player Juan Sebastian Veron.
United said on Sunday they had rejected the chance to sign him and Tevez.
Mascherano said: “I have spoken with Veron and he told me United manager Sir Alex Ferguson does not have much belief in Argentine players, so I was reluctant.
“I know Argentina defender Gabriel Heinze is there but Veron has some different stories.”
Tevez added: “We both wanted to play in the Premiership, which is one of the biggest leagues in the world, and that is why we are at West Ham.
“Other clubs being interested is a different story, we don’t want to talk about that at the moment. They showed a lot of interest in us and that’s why we are here.”