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Marlon mystery continues

Filed: Monday, 5th July 2004
By: Graeme Howlett

Hammers striker Marlon Harewood has been linked with a move to Premiership outfit Norwich - just days after he was forced to play down rumours concerning a move to Nottingham Forest.

One of today's tabloids reports that Harewood - signed by Pardew just over seven months ago - is set to sign for the Premiership new boys in a 1m deal later this week.

And whilst the story may be little more than conjecture, the fact that Harewood has been linked to certain clubs has raised questions amongst Hammers fans concerning the future of the 24-year-old striker.

Harewood - who hit 13 goals in 35 games for the Hammers last season - failed to see eye to eye with manager Alan Pardew last term over his decision to play the striker on the right wing.

Harewood made it clear from the start of his Upton Park career that he felt most comfortable as a central striker - yet those wishes have generally gone unheeded by Pardew, who has rarely used in his in such an advanced position.

And whilst speculation over a rift between the two continues, the alternative possibility that the club may be forcing the sale has already been raised.

No doubt this would be denied by the board, but it remains the case that none of the clubs big earners - players such as Tomas Repka, Don Hutchison and Michael Carrick - have been the subject of (reasonable) bids from other clubs, lending weight to speculation that the club are looking to offload other players in order to reduce West Ham's crippling debt which still stands at over 35m despite having offloading some 30m of talent in the past 12 months alone.

That theory was lent weight by another tabloid story which suggested today that David Connolly could also be on his way out of Upton Park, with Leicester set to make a move for the Irish international.

As for the transfer-listed Michael Carrick, West Ham appear to be having rather more trouble offloading him that originally expected.

The 23-year-old international midfielder remains at Upton Park less than a month away from the new season, and is yet to attract a bid that the club view as reasonable.

Potential suitors Newcastle last week splashed out 4m on Leeds' James Milner, almost certainly ruling them out of the equation, whilst Charlton - favourites to land Carrick last month - also appear to have cooled their interest.

With no outward movement thus far, Alan Pardew's hands remain tied in the transfer market.

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