Zola sets sights on £7m striker Pazzini

Dual boost for Hammers as Dyer nears return with match behind closed doors

West Ham United are interested in signing the £7m-rated Italian striker Giampaolo Pazzini, but it is the return today of Kieron Dyer, out of action since a double-break to his right leg in August 2007, which is causing excitement at Upton Park.

A specially-arranged, behind-closed-doors practice match at the club's training ground is scheduled to take place today with the England international, if he comes through the game unscathed, hoping to return to first-team action in time for the busy Christmas schedule. "It's like we are signing a £6m player," said one West Ham source in reflection of the fee that was paid for the player.

Dyer, who turns 30 this month, was injured in a pre-season friendly away to Bristol Rovers less than two weeks after he joined the club from Newcastle United in a four-year deal. It had been hoped that he would return in six to nine months but the midfielder, who can also play as a striker, suffered a series of setbacks and underwent a number of operations as his injury persisted. Having returned to training in the summer it was hoped he would start this campaign but he suffered pain in his shin.

Dyer's expected return will provide a major boost to West Ham who are, at last, seeing their crippling injury list clear up in the face of their worrying league form. Mark Noble and Matthew Etherington are back in training and while although Danny Gabbidon and Dean Ashton are still out the latter has, at least, started jogging again on a gym treadmill after yet another ankle injury and it is hoped he will return next year.

West Ham would, nevertheless, like to sign Pazzini who is well-known to the manager Gianfranco Zola from his time with the Italian Under-21 side. He has struggled to make an impression in the Fiorentina first-team, especially after the signing of Alberto Gilardino from Milan and, now aged 24, is understood to be keen to again link up with Zola and try his luck in the Premier League.

Understandably, given West Ham's financial predicament, with the owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson hoping to sell the club, Zola has been told that he needs to sell before he can buy. At the same time the Italian has made clear that he wants to trim the unwieldy squad he inherited from his predecessor Alan Curbishley, and the names of a number of players has been circulated to other clubs. West Ham already have eight players out on loan.

Those up for sale include Calum Davenport, Nigel Quashie, Jonathan Spector, Luis Boa Morte, Lee Bowyer and Hayden Mullins with Zola wanting to reduce the size of the first-team squad to around 26 rom its current total of around 32. West Ham have a number of highly promising young players, including Freddie Sears, Jack Collison and James Tomkins.

The club have also not received any inquiry from Tottenham Hotspur over their goalkeeper Robert Green – who caused some friction last summer over his demands over a new contract but who is wanted by the club – or Matthew Upson who, equally, is not for sale.

Executives have dismissed claims that they want to sell either Craig Bellamy or Carlton Cole, who recently signed a new five-year deal, despite the financial crisis and the potentially damaging compensation owed to Sheffield United over the Carlos Tevez affair which is pre-occupying the club. West Ham say they need to hang on to their most important players if they are to avoid relegation.


West Ham matches missed by Kieron Dyer since breaking his leg in August 2007.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits