Filed: Saturday, 17th July 2010
By: Staff Writer
West Ham's expected string of departures could begin this week following news of interest from Greece in two first team squad members.
Since arriving at the club, Avram Grant has made three signings - soon to be four - with none yet to leave. However that could change as early as next week according to the Independent, who report that Olympiakos have enjoyed fruitful meetings with Hammers chiefs with regards to signing Radoslav Kovac and Alessandro Diamanti, both players thought to be surplus to requirements at present. The two combined should fetch around £6million.
The hunt for a back-up option between the sticks is yet to be resolved but the choice is thought to be down to just two players - Algerian international Raïs M'Bolhi and young Dutch prospect Piet Velthuizen, who we first told you about here.
M'Bolhi, who like our own Rob Green didn't exactly have a World Cup to savour was reported by one Bulgarian sports agency to be in London for discussions last week. The revelation was made by the owner of the M'Bolhi's current club Slavia Sofia which lends the rumour a little more weight than some. Velthuizen - who is in the final year of his contract with Vitesse - said last week that "going to West Ham would be like a dream". Good lad.
There's little to report on the Neymar front, although news of United's interest was surprisingly blamed for the 18-year's sub-standard performance during a game earlier this week. A disgruntled Santos manager, speaking after the game told reporters: "The transfer is not my decision; his father is in talks over his future with other clubs" - so maybe there's still another twist in this one (though with the figures bandied about we won't be holding our breath).
News of Liverpool's interest in French youngster Loic Remy appeared to come as a complete surprise to new Reds manager Roy Hodgson, who yesterday ruled out a move for the Nice striker when he confessed that the player was not on his immediate radar, despite apparently having been tracked by Liverpool for a number of years. Tottenham's purported interest was news to everyone and is more likely to be the work of an impatient agent looking to strike a deal.
West Ham are still thought to be interested in signing Remy despite landing Frederic Piquionne less than 24 hours ago - and having thus far refused to meet Nice's demands. However the latest from L'Equipe suggests that Hodgson may be playing a crafty game of bluff, with a suggestion that Liverpool's interest is indeed real.
Meanwhile, Scott Parker continues to be loosely linked to Aston Villa, who are rumoured to be impatient to spend the money they will receive from Manchester City for the impending sale of James Milner. Although the KUMB Player of the Year has been cited as the one player the club will not sell, with Parker's stock currently at its peak the opportunity to cash in could be too strong to refuse should the offer approach the £15million mark.
Carlton Cole, who featured at Peterborough on Wednesday night remains firmly in the 'at risk' category but at present nobody has been willing to meet West Ham's valuation, once again thought to be in the region of £15million.
One player now off the list of potential signings is Steve Sidwell, who has joined Fulham in a 'snub' to the Hammers. That's according to the Daily Mail, who add that the flame-haired midfielder has signed a two-year deal at Craven Cottage.
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07:49AM 17th Jul 2010
''Frederic Piquionne - 31 years of age and a three-year contract, not exactly what you would think is a great signing. There are lots of strikers out there, why him?''
04:35AM 17th Jul 2010
''If Diamanti leaves for a combined fee with Kovac, there'll be a bit of an uproar. He should be given a chance this year, playing in the hole. He got seven goals despite being played out of position and he created chances which is something we lack. Kovac, Spector, Gabs, Dyer, Upson and Behrami can leave. I can't see anyone picking them up, other than Upson and Behrami. I'd like to keep Behrami but if we can get good money for him, I'd rather lose him than Parker.
Bit disappointed in the new signings apart from Barrera. Ben Haim is as slow as Tomkins and Piquionne is as prolific as Cole. Hopefully we'll get in a couple more and won't lose anyone we'd miss too much.
If Diamanti and Kovac are going together it should be for £9million+.''