Grant pledges his loyalty to Hammers despite link with Chelsea

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The Independent Online

Avram Grant has underlined his commitment to West Ham United by insisting he would stay at the club if Chelsea approached him over a return to Stamford Bridge as director of football.

The 56-year-old has been linked with the role as a result of the impending departure of Frank Arnesen, the sporting director, to Hamburg at the end of the season. But Grant, whose team are in the Premier League relegation zone ahead of today's game against Stoke at Upton Park, said: "I love this club and I have a contract here. As long as I can achieve what I think I can achieve with this club, I love it here. I really believe in this club. First step, we have to stay in the league, but I came here to build something and I am sure we can do it."

Grant previously held a director of football post at Portsmouth but is focused on West Ham's survival campaign rather than heading back to the club he took to the Champions League final in 2008.

"I cannot tell you I did not enjoy it as a director," he said. "I enjoyed it. I had the opportunity to change and create things. But I enjoy my job very much now, except when we are not winning."

The Hammers are looking for their first back-to-back league wins of the season against Stoke today. Senegal striker Demba Ba was set to join Tony Pulis's squad in January before the deal collapsed over a failed medical, allowing West Ham to resurrect their interest. "We were always first choice," said Grant. "He was very brave because many players can use it for their own good in negotiations but Demba said it.

"I think he made the right choice. Everton and other teams wanted him, and our target here is to have players that many teams want."

Grant believes the style of football at Upton Park has given him a bargaining tool in the transfer market. "West Ham, despite our situation, are a good club and players like our football. Robbie Keane, Wayne Bridge and Thomas Hitzlsperger could choose other teams but came to us.

"Even though we are at the bottom, players like the football we play and the environment inside."

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