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Zola influence to swing Toni deal?

Filed: Thursday, 6th August 2009
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United's chances of signing veteran striker Luca Toni were given a boost today.

Despite previous claims that the 32-year-old Italian international would be staying at Bayern fresh reports from tuttomercatoweb suggest that the last season's Bundesliga runners-up could now be willing to allow Toni to leave the Allianz Arena.

A spokesman for Bayern refused to rule out a potential sale, stating: "So far nobody has come to us to offer something for the player. At the moment we are not considering a sale."

Zola, who football agent Josè Alberti referred to as a 'great friend' of the former Palermo and Fiorentina star is said to be in prime position to land the striker should he decide to leave Bayern, for whom he has scored 38 goals in 56 appearances.

When asked whether he felt Toni could indeed team up with Zola at the Boleyn next season, Alberti said: "I think so. At Bayern he is not playing and Zola is a great friend."

The major stumbling block for any potential deal would obviously be Bayern's insistence on an immediate fee, with the Hammers penniless and having to sell before they can buy - not to mention Toni's huge wages.

Any potential deal would almost certainly be structured in a similar manner to that which saw Luis Jimenez arrive on loan from Inter last month.

Toni signed a four-year deal with the Bavarians when moving from Fiorentia in 2007 in a deal worth €11million. He finished his first season in Germany as the league's top goalscorer having netted 24 goals before scoring 13 times in the first half of last season.

Achilles problems dogged the 6'5" forward for the final half of last season and he managed to score just once more before the end of the season, but still finished as Bayern's top goalscorer (from open play). He remains an integral part of Italy's 2010 World Cup campaign.

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by owenmurphy
09:23PM 19th Jan 2010
''Well done Gold and Sullivan.''

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