West Ham dampen bid talk by declaring 'business as usual'

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The Independent Football

West Ham released a statement last night confirming that no bid has yet been tabled for the club, and said they would remain "active in the transfer market" as talk of a takeover continues.

The announcement to the Stock Exchange followed a statement on Thursday by a London-based company, Media Sport Investment, which said MSI was considering an offer for the club. MSI's president, the 34-year-old Iranian-born, British-based Kia Joorabchian, has said he wants to buy West Ham for £45m, clear debts of £30m and invest £100m in players. MSI bought a 51 per cent in the Brazilian club Corinthians last year but little is known about MSI's backers.

West Ham's board said last night that no bid had been put to the club, and it tried to alleviate fans' fears of disruption to the new season by adding that it would "take advantage of any appropriate opportunities to strengthen its squad".

Watford have signed the former West Ham defender Malky Mackay on a two-year deal after his departure from West Ham. The experienced 33-year-old had his contract at Upton Park terminated by mutual consent after slipping down the pecking order.

The Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd said that the club had turned down an offer from Blackburn for goalkeeper Richard Lee and had agreed a fee with Leeds for Matthew Spring, who is to discuss terms with the Vicarage Road club.