Hammers tell Parker he must stay put

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The Independent Online

West Ham United have told Scott Parker that he will not be allowed to leave and join Manchester City, even though the midfielder has indicated that he would like the opportunity to speak to the club.

A combined bid of £15m was lodged by City over the weekend for Parker and his West Ham team-mate Craig Bellamy, who is also wanted by Tottenham Hotspur, but was immediately rejected by West Ham, who are determined to hold on to their best players in the January transfer window.

Parker and Bellamy have been targeted by the City manager, Mark Hughes, who is also keen to sign Chelsea's Wayne Bridge and the Arsenal defender Kolo Touré, who appears the most likely of the quartet to make a move next month after falling out of favour at the Emirates. He could command a fee of around £10m.

No further offer has been made by City for Parker or Bellamy, although there have been indications that they will lodge another within the next few days. Spurs, also, are weighing up whether to offer more for Bellamy after having an initial £6m rejected by West Ham on Christmas Eve. But they yesterday denied they have bid £12m for the Welsh international.

West Ham have also told Matthew Upson that he is staying next month and it is understood the central defender has said he is happy to, despite interest from a host of clubs, including Newcastle United.

West Ham's chief executive, Scott Duxbury, is taking a tough stance and refusing to sell any of the club's top players. The club have told their manager, Gianfranco Zola, that he will have the final say on sales and are determined not to break up what they believe is a strong spine to the first team, including goalkeeper Robert Green, Valon Behrami and Mark Noble as well as Bellamy, Parker and Upson. If an offer of £15m was made for any of their prize assets, then it would be put to Zola.

West Ham believe this will prove that the club are not in financial meltdown, as has been claimed, and that despite the problems faced by the owner, Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, they do not need to sell.

However there is a list of potential departures drawn up by Zola, Duxbury and the technical director, Gianluca Nani, as the club aim to reduce the size of the squad. It includes Julien Faubert, who is attracting interest from Nantes, Calum Davenport, who is believed to be wanted by Bolton Wanderers and fringe players such as Luis Boa Morte.

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