West Ham United have told Tottenham Hotspur not to bother submitting a new bid to sign the striker Carlton Cole after they immediately rejected an £8m offer.
The bid was made earlier this month, after which Spurs concentrated their attention on trying to sign another West Ham player, Craig Bellamy, who subsequently joined Manchester City for £14m this week.
The West Ham chief executive, Scott Duxbury, said earlier this week that he does not want to sell the club's best players to Spurs – and rejected four bids for Bellamy – and has informed them that they will be wasting their time if they make an improved offer for Cole.
One of Spurs' failed bids for Bellamy included a straight swap for Darren Bent, but this was dismissed by West Ham. It has been mooted that the striker may be offered again in return for Cole, who has been a long-term target at White Hart Lane. West Ham tried to sign Bent before he joined Spurs but they no longer have any interest in him, while the striker has also been offered, without success, to Sunderland. Spurs also tried to sell him to Aston Villa, who have subsequently agreed a £3.5m deal to acquire Emile Heskey from Wigan Athletic.
West Ham rejected two bids from Sunderland for Cole last summer, including an offer of £5m, and since then he has signed a new five-year contract, while his form has improved dramatically under the manager Gianfranco Zola, a former team-mate when both were players at Chelsea.
Cole has scored five goals in his last five games, and nine in all this season, and is being monitored by the England manager Fabio Capello, who was at Upton Park last Sunday when the 25-year-old was man-of-the-match in the victory over Fulham. Capello is considering Cole as an understudy for Heskey and has been impressed by recent performances.
West Ham are understandably determined to hold on to Cole, not least because they have sold Bellamy and promised Zola that he will not lose any more key players. The manager has also been told that the funds from the Bellamy sale will be re-invested and West Ham have been in negotiations this week to seal a club record £10m signing – the fee includes add-ons – of the German Under-19 international Savio Nsereko from Brescia.
One of his agents, Patrick Bastianelli, who represents Savio in Italy, told romanews.eu: "At the moment West Ham are in pole position. The situation could be unlocked next week. Roma were following him, but in the January market many teams – including Roma – are not entering into transactions."