Strachan the target for rival parties at West Ham

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The Independent Online

Gordon Strachan is wanted as manager of West Ham United by both the current board and an unnamed consortium bidding to take control of the Championship club. The 48-year-old Scot has received approaches from both parties and a decision is due to be made in the next few days.

Gordon Strachan is wanted as manager of West Ham United by both the current board and an unnamed consortium bidding to take control of the Championship club. The 48-year-old Scot has received approaches from both parties and a decision is due to be made in the next few days.

If Strachan cannot agree a deal with the West Ham board, they are likely to keep the manager, Alan Pardew, in place until the end of the season - despite the fact that they have collected just two points from five games and slipped out of the play-off places. They are not believed to be considering any other candidates at present.

Strachan, who has already turned down offers from several Premiership clubs, including Portsmouth, is understood to be undecided about accepting the job. He will be concerned at taking over at a club with debts of £33m. That figure would have to be factored into any takeover bid with club sources indicating that a further £25m would be needed to buy out the shareholders, including the chairman and majority shareholder, Terence Brown. And that is before any money for team-building is accounted for. They insist that no offer has been received and dismiss claims over the weekend by former player Tony Cottee that he is heading a viable consortium.

However, there is long-standing interest from millionaire racehorse-owner Michael Tabor, which may be reactivated, and the Birmingham City director David Sullivan although both men would balk at the present asking price. One interested part - and there is believed to be another unnamed potential bidder in the background - has also already spoken to Strachan.

The former Southampton manager has made no secret of his desire to return to management, and was interviewed for the Scotland post, but only if he receives the right offer. He will also have to consider if a better opportunity is likely to come this summer - especially as Manchester City have not included him on their shortlist and are likely to stay with Stuart Pearce or approach Crystal Palace's Iain Dowie. At the same time Strachan has enjoyed his year off and his burgeoning media career and may decide to stay away from management altogether. However, he could be attracted to the idea of rebuilding a club such as West Ham and taking them back to the Premiership.

Strachan would undoubtedly be a popular appointment and the West Ham board are keen to appease fans frustrated by Pardew's failure, so far, to deliver promotion since his arrival in October 2003 following a protracted departure from Reading. Patience has been exhausted not just by the team's results but in their poor performances as well even if the they recognise the hard work Pardew has undoubtedly put in and the successful reorganisation of the club. Pardew, who is half-way through a three-year deal, has made clear he has no intention of resigning.

Despite their financial and sporting plight West Ham believe they are in an attractive position having taken hard decisions, such as the sale of Joe Cole, when they were relegated from the Premiership two seasons ago. There is no chance of them going into administration and they have already budgeted for the loss of the £6m on parachute payments next season. The wage bill will be further reduced although the majority of the current squad will remain in place.

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