Duxbury: No Fire Sale

Last updated : 03 January 2009 By Plymouth_hammer

Many rumours have been circulating of bids for first team stars such as Craig Bellamy, Scott Parker and Matthew Upson and with the Hammers' financial situation unclear most fans are worried that they will see one or more of these players sold to balance the books.

Below is a copy of part of the interview.

The transfer window opens this week. What can you say to reassure fans worried about the make up of the squad?

I know the papers are full of speculation at this time of the year - it is the same for many clubs but the situation is quite clear. We have no intention of selling our best players, nor are we telling the manager to do so. Gianfranco Zola will rightly not comment on speculation but as he has said, he, Gianluca Nani and myself are working closely together and this month will be no different. It may be that some players are allowed to leave but no one will be going unless the manager thinks it is in the best interests of his team and it is right for the club.

As a club, we will look at every single approach rationally and at all times have in mind the further development of the playing squad.

We must not be afraid of interest in or bids for our leading players. Each approach will be considered in terms of fee, fitness, form and where the manager thinks the player is in his career. Similarly we have to consider the will of the player and whether he is committed to what we are trying to achieve. This is the only way to operate.

It may be that we have an offer that makes perfect sporting sense on all these factors but even then it will only be accepted if we have a replacement lined up who will improve the squad. A bid may be evaluated by the manager as allowing him to significantly improve his team. If he believes that the player in question cannot be replaced, he will not be sold.

Do players have to be sold?

No, players don't have to be sold but it has been clear since the arrival of Gianfranco that he is keen to have a smaller first-team squad based on quality over quantity. As I say, he looks likely to move on some fringe players in a bid to achieve a smaller squad of players that he can work closely with on a day to day basis. This will be supplemented by a pool of reserve-team players that he can call upon to complement his first-team work. This will be mainly made up of young players who have graduated from the academy but are perhaps not quite ready to take the next step.

There is a lot of talk though about international players like Robert Green, Matthew Upson, Scott Parker and Craig Bellamy leaving?

We can do nothing to stop the press speculation and I can understand why the fans are concerned about what they read.

We all know how it works. Newspapers see players performing well, think that we are interested in selling, perhaps given the club's past, and then link them to any clubs that might have a need in that position. I will say it again, we are determined to strengthen this squad and keep it moving in the right direction so that we can challenge in the top half of the table.

For example, I have had several offers in excess of £12m in the past six months for one our key players and have turned down every single approach. No one will be sold unless it is right for West Ham United.