West Ham set to reject £50m bid from Gold and Sullivan

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The Independent Football

The Icelandic bank Straumur which controls West Ham United is set to reject another speculative £50m bid from the former Birmingham City owners David Gold and David Sullivan for the club because it does not come close to the money owed to it.

Straumur, which owns 70 per cent of CB Holdings, the company that owns West Ham, is still looking for around £100m to cover the losses incurred by the former owner of the club Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson. Gold and Sullivan want to sink what money they have into the club rather than pay CB Holdings, which believes the club is worth up to £120m.

The debt of West Ham is estimated at around £70m and CB Holdings would like to clear that and make a £50m profit on top, putting it in a very different position to Gold and Sullivan. The two former Birmingham owners want CB Holdings to take care of the debt while they set about raising the value of the club itself, which they believe could be sold on eventually for around £100m if it was debt-free.

The two men believe the club's problems are best addressed now rather than if they were relegated, when the problems of carrying large player contracts into the Championship could precipitate a fire sale. The Icelandics are holding out for a bid from America, which they hope can rescue the club, 18th in the Premier League under manager Gianfranco Zola.

The promise of funds from Gold and Sullivan would be welcomed by Zola, particularly with the threat of several key players being offloaded when the transfer market reopens next month. The goalkeeper Robert Green and captain Matthew Upson would attract several suitors while Carlton Cole could command a £20m fee, with both Manchester United and Liverpool considering making an offer during the transfer window.