Saturday, 17 January 2009

West Ham United: Daily News Report (4)

Several sources are reporting today that Craig Bellamy has effectively gone on strike after refusing to play against Fulham tomorrow.

Bellamy, who was the subject of a bid worth around £10million plus incentives from Tottenham yesterday [Friday] is said to have stormed out of Chadwell Heath on Friday morning after he was told that Spurs' bid had been refused, and that he was therefore denied permission to speak to them with regards to a move.

The Welsh international - who also remains strongly linked with Manchester City - is reported to have refused Scott Duxbury's offer of a two-year contract extension before leaving the ground having told Hammers staff that he would be not be playing in tomorrow's Premier League clash. (KUMB)

Craig Bellamy was in confrontation with West Ham United last night after he was refused permission to talk to Tottenham Hotspur. The Wales forward made a verbal transfer request and said goodbye to staff after a meeting with Scott Duxbury, the chief executive, yesterday. Bellamy, who did not train and cleared some items from his locker at the training ground, has refused to play against Fulham tomorrow.

West Ham have turned down three bids from Tottenham – the latest being an initial £10 million, rising to £12 million – and say that they have offered Bellamy a new long-term deal. If forced to let him go, the East London club would probably prefer to sell him to Manchester City, who have also had three bids turned down. However, the player does not appear to want to move his family again and he may also believe that Mark Hughes, whom he is close to, will not be City manager beyond this season.

West Ham believe that Bellamy, 29, should honour his commitment to play for the club after they helped him through stomach and groin injuries last season. West Ham have serious concerns about Tottenham’s pursuit of Bellamy after a media report said that the player had met a representative of Spurs on Thursday night.

Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, denied tapping up any players, but his club have been criticised by Middlesbrough, for their pursuit of Stewart Downing, and by Sunderland, for their interest in Kenwyne Jones. If proved, it could embarrass Tottenham, who complained about how Liverpool and Manchester United tried to sign Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov respectively in the summer. (The Times )

Craig Bellamy has gone to war with West Ham in a bid to force through a move to rivals Tottenham and is refusing to play in tomorrow’s Premier League game against Fulham.

But the Hammers are furious with Spurs’ pursuit of Bellamy and would prefer to sell the striker to Manchester City.

At the same time as making a world-record bid to sign Brazilian star Kaka from AC Milan, City matched Tottenham’s latest offer of £10million – rising to £12m – for Bellamy that was rejected.

Bellamy, 29, met West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury yesterday and told him he wanted permission to speak to Spurs.

Duxbury rejected Bellamy’s request and offered him an extension to his contract that would have kept him at Upton Park until he is 35.

Bellamy was also reminded in the clearest possible terms that the Hammers stuck by him through his injury problems and when he was not scoring earlier in the season. But Wales international Bellamy turned down the offer, refused to train with the rest of the squad and is understood to have cleared his locker before leaving the training ground. (Daily Express)

While West Ham have remained true to their pledge not to cash in on their best players during this transfer window, the situation with Bellamy may force their hand and they can expect further bids from both Tottenham and Manchester City. West Ham have also turned down offers for Scott Parker from Manchester City.

Manager Gianfranco Zola also admitted that he had no idea whether Bellamy would be available. "What can I do about it? As far as I am concerned I want to keep him and the club want to keep him," he said. "If a player wants to go it is difficult. At the moment he is a West Ham player and he will stay a West Ham player. I don't know if he will play on Sunday.

"The club wants to keep the player and I want to keep him. It's difficult to keep players who are unhappy at the club but we'll see what happens."

Zola, though, admitted that West Ham were already considering replacements. "If Bellamy goes we will need to replace him and that's why we're looking," he said. "I respect Craig and I am disappointed he doesn't want to stay. He has done very well for me and I hope he stays and if he doesn't then I hope he does as well for someone else as he did for me.

"You need to have players who are committed to what you're doing. I've been told he's still our player and I'm confident he'll change his mind. [The] priority is to keep Bellamy. We have no commitments with anybody so that's most important.

"He is important for us but I am prepared to deal without him. I was hoping to have him until the end of the season. I think highly about him but it's his choice. He knows what he can get here but if he thinks he can't get what he wants here then that's up to him.

"He's a good player and gives us a lot on the pitch. I have no doubt that he is an important player as are many of the others. He's an important piece of a mosaic." (Daily Telegraph)

West Ham have rejected two previous offers from Spurs for Bellamy – a £6m offer on Christmas Eve and a straight swap deal for Darren Bent on Tuesday evening.

They have also declined three previous offers from City – a £15m offer, which would also have included Scott Parker, a bid of £8.5m plus £1m in add-ons and a £9.5m offer that was made on Wednesday. But Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, shocked by his team's defeat away to Wigan Athletic last Sunday, has convinced chairman Daniel Levy that Bellamy is the kind of player who can save the club from the threat of relegation and is likely to offer even more money.

Importantly, Spurs are believed to be prepared to smash their wage structure to land Bellamy who is understood to currently earn around £70,000-a-week at West Ham, more than any Tottenham player.

After his meeting yesterday, Bellamy asked for permission to be excused from training because he was not in a fit state of mind, and this was granted by Zola who is keen to keep the striker, but only if he has a change of heart and wants to stay.

Bellamy, the former Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, Coventry City and Norwich City striker, arrived at West Ham for £7.5m in 2007 and is regarded as a key player at the club.

Yesterday, Zola said: "What can I do about it? As far as I am concerned I want to keep him – and the club want to keep him. But if a player wants to go, it's difficult. At the moment he is a West Ham player and he will stay a West Ham player. However, I do not know if he will play on Sunday. We will see what happens."

Meanwhile, Redknapp said of Bellamy: "Someone has told me that he wants to come here and play. If we can do a deal, good."

If Bellamy is sold, West Ham will re-invest the funds to find a replacement and are understood to have a list of potential targets in addition to, according to sources in Italy, taking 23-year-old striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo on loan from Fiorentina. (The Independent )

Pablo Daniel Osvaldo

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