Thursday, 22 January 2009

West Ham United: Daily News Report (5)

Fulham and West Ham want to hijack a move by Middlesbrough for Ben Watson.

The Crystal Palace midfielder had been due to seal a switch to Teesside on Thursday after Boro's £2million offer was accepted by the Championship club, but both London sides have now matched that bid.

Watson, 23, had gone to the north-east for a medical and talks over personal terms last night, but is believed to have a preference for staying in the capital. Palace hope to use any transfer fee to fund a bid for Cardiff defender Darren Purse.
Meanwhile, West Ham have asked about Panathinaikos right back Bryce Moon and Bochum's centre half Antar Yahia as manager Gianfranco Zola looks to strengthen his resources in defence.

Brescia winger Savio Nsereko's agent also claims the Hammers are interested in clinching a deal for the 19-year-old.

Midfielder Julien Faubert has confirmed he wants to leave Upton Park and return to France with Lyon. (Daily Mail )

Zola on the January Transfer Window

No one, he knew, was going to pay much attention and, still less, do anything about it, but Gianfranco Zola said it anyway. He said it would be very nice if they got rid of the January transfer window. Then you could judge how well a manager worked with his players, how he could develop a team from the optimism of late summer to the realities of the spring.

He wasn't railing against how money wields such influence in football. Zola is from Sardinia, a place which is well versed in the iniquities of life. This is why quite a number of Sardinians still arm themselves to the teeth when they go about their daily business.

No, Zola was simply saying that if the game has never been so transparently a rich man's world there is still no reason why, without even attempting to close fundamentally the huge divide which, say, separates, the recently colonised Manchester City and his own club, we might still be able to restrict the plutocrats to one spending spree per year. As it works, said Zola, the January window permits the rich clubs to top up their resources, correct mistakes, and wipe out at least some of the effects of injury. It means that his West Ham United lose a player as talented as Craig Bellamy at a pivotal point in a remarkable recovery to eighth place in the Premier League after being locked in the jaws of relegation.

This, Zola further contends, builds in still more imbalance between those with generous resources, as West Ham had, relatively speaking, before the Icelandic economy descended to the value of not much more than a packet of fish fingers, and those who are obliged to live within their own self-generated means. "No one will listen," said Zola with a shrug, "and no one will do anything about it, but it is still true. The January transfer window is only for the rich. For those who are not rich it is just another handicap." (The Independent)

Joe Ledley

Cardiff City's midfielder Joe Ledley has been the topic of much debate during this January transfer window with a host of Premiership clubs interested in the Welshman.

Stoke City were one of the favourites but were told they must increase their previous £6m bid and deceided to look elsewhere, instead swooping for Matty Etherington from West Ham Utd.

The loss of Etherington, possibly Boa Morte and now Craig Bellamy has left the Hammers short of options and given boss Gianfranco Zola some room to maneuver in the transfer market. There has been some (stronger than usual) speculation that Joe Ledley is one name under serious consideration and West Ham could be set to make a bid.

There is no indication that Cardiff City would accept, but with Joe out of contract in the summer, and only preliminary talks over a new deal underway - the Bluebirds would be foolish not to consider bids above £5m. (Cardiff Football)

Julien Faubert

Lyons are expected to complete a deal to sign Julien Faubert from West Ham United this week. The winger has failed to impress since he joined from Bordeaux for £6.1 million in the summer of 2007. Chelsea are looking to sign a winger on loan to replace Joe Cole, who is out for the season. (The Times)

Savio Nsereko and Daniel Pablo Osvaldo

West Ham United are closing in on a record £10m fee to sign Brescia's German striker Savio Nsereko as they move quickly to bolster their squad following the departure yesterday of Craig Bellamy to Manchester City for £14m, with the club vowing never to sell one of their leading players to Tottenham Hotspur ever again.

The scale of the deal for Savio will cause some surprise, given that he is only 19 and is currently playing in Serie B, but he is highly rated by the West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola and technical director Gianluca Nani, who was previously at Brescia. The fee beats the previous club record, of £7.5m, paid for Bellamy in July 2007.

West Ham have also been in talks to take another young striker, 23-year-old Daniel Pablo Osvaldo, on loan from Fiorentina until the end of the season, with an option to acquire the former Italian Under-21 international, who was born in Argentina, for around £7m in the summer. He has worked with Zola previously.

West Ham face competition to sign both players, mainly from Italy, but hope to conclude deals in the next 48 hours. They decided to move for Savio and Osvaldo after also considering Mario Balotelli, who is unsettled at Internazionale, and Giampaolo Pazzini before he moved from Fiorentina to Sampdoria earlier this month. (The Independent)

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