The Daily Mail yesterday reported that an out of court settlement with Sheffield could be in the making.
I've been waiting for that story to emerge for some time since it makes perfect sense that both parties, at this time, would like to have this settled and to stop the uncertainty.
There is no doubt in my mind that talks like these are ongoing, but to keep the pressure on the other team and to cover for a "no deal scenario" the other, official, routes must be proceeded.
Here are some reasons for Sheffield to go for an out of court settlement:
1. West Ham will drag this "case" to every legal body thinkable and then some, we've shown our determination to do so already. The new Tribunals verdict (the amount to be payed) will of course also be appealed against to all instances, dragging this painful story into and maybe beyond the summer transfer window. If Sheffield are promoted, money would be a great boost for their bid to stay in the premiership. A decent sum now may also enable them to bolster their squad already in the January transfer window, increasing the chances of a promotion.
2. There is still an outside chance that this can be taken to CAS and that possibility may persuade Sheffield to accept a lower "payoff", instead of risking it all.
3. There is the chance/risk that the new Tribunal will come up with a very low sum for West Ham to pay, and that may also be a reason for Sheffield to settle for something less than their original bid, just to secure as much as possible. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
A knee jerk reflex would be to say that "we owe those **** nothing so we should pay them nothing"! But let's look at some reasons for West Ham to take a lesser blow now:
1. The uncertainty of this issue is most likely a big stumbling block for the sale of the club. Any potential buyer would like this sorted before agreeing on a takeover price, and I want this club sold as much as BG does!
2. A potential payoff would be reflected in the price of the Club, so the money is gone for BG any way you see it. To let this affect the takeover now, for a profit in the summer when he is not around is just not in his interest.
3. In analogy to the Sheffield point number 2 and 3 above, there is good a chance that CAS will never handle this and that the Tribunal will come to the conclusion that the absurd £50 m claim is justified. I mean this bunch have come to some mind boggling conclusions already, do we really want this in their hands?
4. To drag this around the legal system costs us money! If this would drag on until the summer, the fees for Maurice and his lot will not be counted in thousands...
5. The players need to be reassured that there is a financially viable future at the club, otherwise those we would like to stay may start to jump ship at first chance.
But what is the amount that is the highest amount West Ham would find agreeable, and what is the lowest Sheffield would consider?
Let's hope they overlap!