Saturday, 26 May 2007

Reo Can Go

It is a relatively quiet morning on the West Ham front with most of the newspaper choosing to put a little flesh on the bones of two stories from yesterday. David Bond in The Telegraph confirms Sheffield United are refusing to hand back their 'share' in the Premier League- effectively a membership card- until after the arbitration hearing into the Carlos Tevez controversy. It is claimed the Blades will not relent until they know the outcome of the League's arbitration hearing into the case, which we now know will be held on June 18 and 19, three weeks after next week's annual general meeting. A statement from Sheffield United said: "SUFC today confirmed that it has refused a request by the Premier League to deliver up its share. All Premier League clubs are entitled to a share in the League itself, and Sheffield United's position is that until the arbitration looking into the Tevez matter is resolved, it remains a Premiership club. The club believes if it gives up its share the Premier League cannot be guaranteed to fulfil its promise to return the share should the arbitration reinstate Sheffield United to the Premier League." A league source said yesterday that Sheffield United's share in the league would be unilaterally taken away from them if they refused to hand it over next week. Today, Premier League officials reiterated their stance. "If Sheffield United do not return the share, Premier League rules mean that it will be unilaterally transferred to a promoted club and this will happen at our AGM this coming Thursday," said a spokesman.

The other main story concerns our rumoured interest in Liverpool's Craig Bellamy. The Daily Mail believe West Ham have now joined Aston Villa and Blackburn in the race to sign the player, even though Liverpool have slapped a £12million price tag on the unsettled striker. The Sun go one further and suggest we would have the upper hand in any negotiations
if Bellamy could be used as a makeweight should Liverpool firm up their interest in Hammers hitman Carlos Tevez. The same article also claims Nigel Reo-Coker has been told he has no future at the club. Alan Curbishley is leading his clearout by axeing the team captain in a show of strength; the player being granted a move as long as any buyer meets the £8million asking price. Unsurprisingly, Reo-Coker has a slightly different take on things. The midfielder's advisor Tony Finnigan insisted his client had handed in a transfer request and expressed his surprise that West Ham were willing to let the player leave Upton Park. "I can confirm that Nigel Reo-Coker has officially handed in a transfer request with West Ham United football club," Finnigan told Sky Sports News. "Nigel hopes his future will be resolved in the next few weeks. I am surprised that a 22-year-old Londoner who is captain of his club is being allowed to leave. As I said on Sky Sports in January, Nigel would get his head down and work to keep West Ham in the Premiership. And that is exactly what he did with 100 per cent commitment. At the end of the day he never felt wanted but I am sure he will have a bright future elsewhere." Roy Carroll (believed to be a target for Cardiff City), Paul Konchesky and John Pantsil are other players who have been been told they can go and another player, Hayden Mullins, is one of several targets for Premiership rivals Reading. Rob Green, who has three years left on his current contract, is set to be offered a lucrative new deal.

Finally, there is an interesting interview with West Ham skipper-in-waiting Lucas Neill in the Sunday Telegraph, Australia. He has issued a plea to Mark Viduka to join the West Ham revolution and in the process reveals the club have formally tabled a lucrative offer for the striker's services. The defender landed in Sydney last night ahead of Australia's World Cup qualification rematch against Uruguay and was speaking after a short break in Las Vegas. "I haven't spoken to 'Dukes' yet,'' Neill said last night. "I've tried to ring him a couple of times but I've been on holiday and with the time difference it's been difficult. I'd love him (to come to West Ham). I know him inside and out but defenders hate him. I hope he doesn't stay at Boro but he's a man in demand. I'll help him make that decision but I can't force it. This is probably his last playing contract, so he's deciding where he'll finish his career. One thing you know you're going to get with Australians is a good work ethic and a lot of heart and passion, which the crowd and the chairman love,'' he said. "But you can throw in a bit of skill. We're not mugs any more. We can play on the biggest stage, as all of us have proved. We're talking to Dukes, who's got a great track record in the Premiership, but it doesn't stop there. Its not unimaginable that players like Roberto Carlos end up at West Ham because of his (the chairman's) resources. But it's not about the money. It's about building a star team and not a team of stars. He's not going to throw endless amounts of money around willy-nilly. He wants a team that will gel, so he wants to buy leaders with strong character.''

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