Upson admits he may be on his way
Wolverhampton W 0 West Ham United 2
Monday 17 August 2009
Gianfranco Zola never seems to have a smile far away from his face. Predictably he was beaming after this, but inwardly he will be ticking off the days of August on the calendar in his West Ham office in the hope that the financial situation the club is in does not mean there will be further departures before 1 September.
Zola has been a pauper in the transfer market this summer, only able to bring in Luis Jimenez on loan from Internazionale, while rumours continue about the club's Icelandic owners and the necessity to sell more players to raise funds in the region of £10m.
The most likely candidate for such an exercise would be Matthew Upson. Manchester City have him firmly installed as plan B, if their aggressive pursuit of Joleon Lescott cannot break through the brickwall that is David Moyes.
Zola is not of a mind to sell and there was the usual rhetoric from the Italian about Upson being happy as a West Ham United player. Apparently he is unaware of the need to generate money through the transfer market, saying: "I have not been told that players have to leave."
Upson scored West Ham's second goal as Wolves were given a swift and painful lesson in how crucial it is to accept opportunites at this level following their elevation as Championship champions in May. If Zola is unaware of the full financial situation, the England defender does not seem to be as ignorant.
He readily concedes there is a worry and that he would have to decide his best option should a For Sale sign be hung around his neck any time soon. He said: "West Ham's financial predicament is quite well noted. Whether or not that means someone will have to be sold, I don't know, but I don't think the outlook is great financially. It hasn't been mentioned to me that we need to sell but if there was a situation where they accepted an offer and it was down to me whether I wanted to move, I would have to look at the club in question and make a decision."
Eastlands would be his preferred destination, although Aston Villa are also keeping a close watch on developments as their need for central defensive reinforcements was exposed by Wigan on the opening day.
For now, Upson will have to sit and wait and reflect on the satisfaction of only his second goal in 77 appearances for West Ham, which doubled the advantage provided by Mark Noble's wonderful effort from the edge of the area and rewarded the industry of Kieron Dyer, who rekindled memories of his early days at Ipswich and Newcastle with his direct running and quicksilver feet.
Dyer has been the victim of some terrible injuries so it was a relief to see him relishing his new found rude health, even if the lungs gave out after 65 minutes.
Zola now has the task of keeping him fit and he would not presume to "step on the toes of [Fabio] Capello", as a fit Dyer in this mood "would be an asset to an England squad this summer. When Kieron plays consistently, he can be as good as anyone."
In two seasons at Sunderland, Mick McCarthy finished bottom of the Premier League on both occasions. If he was, by his own admission, naïve there, his players were guilty of a similar charge here. They more than played their part and were a little unfortunate to run into Robert Green in true England form. "He is the England goalkeeper in waiting and he showed why," said McCarthy.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Hennessey; Foley (Vokes, 74), Craddock, Mancienne (Stearman, 66), Ward; Halford, Henry, Milijas (Edwards, 80), Jarvis; Keogh, Ebanks-Blake. Substitutes not used: Hahnemann (gk), Elokobi, Surman, Jones.
West Ham United (4-1-2-1-2): Green; Faubert, Collins, Upson, Ilunga (Spector, 65); Parker; Collison, Noble; Dyer (Stanislas, 72); Jiminez, Cole (Nouble, 89). Substitutes not used: Kurucz (gk), Gabbidon, Payne, Hines.
Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).
Man of the Match: Dyer.
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