By London correspondent Tony Hughes
West Ham offered to make Carlos Tevez the best-paid player in their history – but claim the 32-year-old striker turned them down and demanded £250,000 per week.
Tevez was offered £150,000-a-week – plus top-up bonuses – and told he would be their first-choice striker next season ahead of Andy Carroll.
But the former Hammers forward declined the offer of a romantic return to the club he graced in the 2006-07 season to stay at Argentinian club Boca Juniors.
The package for Tevez would have dwarfed that of Hammers’ current top earner Dimitri Payet, who signed a £120,000-a-week contract in February.
David Sullivan, West Ham’s co-owner, decided to go public with the club’s desire to reward Tevez with a stunning offer.
“All this business, ‘I love West Ham’, well it’s ‘I love West Ham if they give me £250,000 a week’,” Sullivan said, as quoted by the Daily Mail. “So how much love is that for West Ham? I actually offered him £150,000 a week to come back plus bonuses.
“I thought that was an incredible offer for someone who loves West Ham. And it was a huge gamble for us because he’s 33 now and hasn’t done it in South America.
“We tried to get Tevez but he wanted £250,000 a week – and is he past his best? He hasn’t set the world alight in South America.
“In his last year at Juventus he was great. But £250,000 a week? He’ll probably stay where he is now, but he doesn’t pay a lot of tax down there.”
West Ham have publicly stated their desire to smash the club’s £15.5million transfer record this summer to entice an A-list striker.
But the east Londoners have failed to land the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Christian Benteke and Michy Batshuayi.
Sullivan denies that West Ham’s pursuit of Tevez was simply a device to generate publicity.
“It wasn’t a publicity stunt, I saw him being our No 1 striker,” the co-owner explained. “I was hoping he would reproduce what he did at Juventus a year ago. He was a fantastic player. But where do you draw the line with what you are prepared to pay?”
In other West Ham transfer news, the club are to lock horns with Euro giants over a £38million playmaker bid.