Avram Grant has said that he cannot guarantee that striker Carlton Cole will still be at West Ham United after the January transfer window. Cole, who scored twice in the midweek Carling Cup win over Manchester United, was linked with a move to Liverpool in the summer and speculation has continued over his future since.
Given Cole's inconsistencies – Tuesday was the first time in eight years that he had scored twice in one game – and West Ham's desire to fund further changes to their squad, there has been some speculation over a possible January departure for Cole. And Grant, while keen to point out that he wants to keep the 27-year-old, could not rule out his leaving Upton Park in the new year.
"We want him to be here but you never know what will happen in football. We want to keep this squad," said Grant, who predicted Cole's strikes in midweek would spur him on to more goalscoring. "I don't like the January transfer window because it's not easy to bring players in and we don't want to lose players. We want to keep the same squad for all the season."
Cole had been publicly critical of Grant's tactics after the 3-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield last month, which he described as "diabolical", and in which he said West Ham "didn't have a Plan B".
But Grant said that he would keep all disputes within the club rather than giving them further publicity. "Some players, when they don't perform well and are a little bit disappointed with themselves, say some things," he said. "But all of this is inside the club. I don't deal with any players through the media. What I have to say to the players, I say to them."