West Ham rule out player sales

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The Independent Football

West Ham have no need to sell off their key players, as manager Gianfranco Zola looks forwards to a positive campaign.

Reports have suggested the Hammers boss was under pressure from the club's Icelandic owners to cash in on as many of the squad as possible before the transfer window closes at the end of August.

England defender Matthew Upson is one player linked with a possible big-money departure from Upton Park, while Stoke are said to be ready to launch a £5m bid for his fellow centre-back James Collins.

Zola, however, maintained following West Ham's 2-0 opening-day win at Wolves: "As far as I am concerned, we are looking to buy players not sell them."

While CB Holding, owned largely by Icelandic investment bank Straumur-Burdaras, are not immune to the global financial recession, there has been no change to their stance of when the group first assumed ownership of the Barclays Premier League club from previous chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson in June.

Zola is keen to bring another striker to Upton Park, with his former Chelsea team-mate Eidur Gudjohnsen, currently at Barcelona, a leading target.

While the Hammers may not have invested as heavily as some of their rivals this summer, there has still been money spent on a permanent deals for Czech midfielder Radoslav Kovac and Congo defender Herita Ilunga as well a loan move for Chilean forward Luis Jimenez from Inter Milan.

Chief executive Scott Duxbury and technical director Gianluca Nani continue to assist Zola in the pursuit of further additions.

In a statement on the club's official website, www.whufc.com, ahead of the new campaign, Duxbury said: "The club's position remains the same as it was last week or as it was in January: there is no question of Straumur forcing us to sell anyone - in fact we are actively looking for new players.

"The papers are unsurprisingly full of speculation at this time of year, but the situation is clear - the only way a player would be allowed to leave is if Gianfranco thinks it is in the best interests of the squad as a whole and it is right for the club.

"It is as simple as that."

West Ham's non-executive chairman Andrew Bernhardt added: "As I said earlier in the summer, the club is on a sound financial footing and Straumur creditor meetings have no bearing on the operations of West Ham United. This remains unchanged.

"We fully support Scott and Gianfranco and endorse their continued efforts in strengthening the squad as quickly as possible, with a new striker their top priority."

West Ham's midweek Premier League match has been postponed because of Aston Villa's Europa League qualifier, and so will next be in action when Tottenham head to Upton Park on Sunday before they host Coca-Cola League One side Millwall in the Carling Cup on August 25.

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