Thursday, 21 June 2007

Odds And Ends

Odds and ends, odds and ends
Lost time is not found again
The guns have fallen silent on the arbitration front today so it provides a timely opportunity to catch up on a few of the lesser reported West Ham stories, many of which have been overshadowed by the events of the last few days. The Citizen carries an interview with Mark Noble in which he admits he is already dreaming of the day when he will captain the club. "I've captained the youth teams for West Ham and it would be a dream to captain them in the Premier League and to take us onto better things," he said. "We've got the chairman, players, manager and staff to kick on this season and show what we can do. I really think we can go on to be a top-five team in the next few years if we sign the players who all the talk has been about. We've now got Scott Parker who is a fantastic player and I'm really looking forward to playing with him. I'm hoping I come back from Holland fully fit and I'll be firing for my place in the team."

While Noble aims to be a future captain, Lucas Neill has more immediate ambitions. Journalists in the Australian media seem convinced the Aussie will skipper West Ham when the new season kicks-off after impressing boss Alan Curbishley with his leadership qualities during the Hammers' miracle escape from the drop. With incumbent, Nigel Reo-Coker, seemingly on his way out of the club and new arrival Scott Parker the second choice for the job, it is predicted that Neill will take the captain’s armband when he arrives back from Asian Cup duty with Australia in early August. Neill is not taking things for granted though. "It would be an honour to skipper a club with such a proud history,” he said from Bali, where he is on holiday before linking up with the Socceroos at their Singapore training camp. "But I'm certainly not counting my chickens. It goes without saying that I enjoy being a leader. I've only been at West Ham a short time but I'm feeling right at home now and with the ambition of the chairman I know we can make massive strides next season. It's exciting to be a part of it all."

The transfer rumours have died down quite dramatically this week but there have still been a few stories floating about. The Times revealed how Birmingham City have had a £3million bid for striker Marlon Harewood rejected by the club. City made an offer of an initial £2million plus add-ons for Harewood, who is surplus to requirements at Upton Park, but the Hammers are looking for something near £5million for the former Nottingham Forest player. Harewood played a major role in the Hammers regaining their Barclays Premier League status two years ago when he scored 16 goals, but he has gradually slipped down the pecking order and last season netted only four goals. Birmingham, who are also interested in defender Paul Konchesky, could consider the asking price to be unrealistic as Alan Curbishley is looking to recoup the majority of the £6million he paid Birmingham for defender Matthew Upson in January. The bitter nature of the transfer negotiations involved in that particular transfer will doubtless be fresh in the minds of both clubs.

The Daily Mail insist West Ham have been offered Argentina striker Javier Saviola to replace Carlos Tevez. World Cup star Saviola is being touted around Europe after a bitter end to him time in Barcelona. He will not cost a penny in fees as he it out of contract, and the paper believe West Ham could offer him the £80,000 a week that would attract him to the Premier League. There are two striking things about this report. Firstly, it makes the assumption that Tevez will actually need replacing, and secondly it makes an outrageous claim about the kind of wages on offer, even though Eggert Magnusson has already stated our highest wage bracket is around £55,000 a week. It seems the message is still not getting through.
Blackburn striker Benni McCarthy admits he is pleased to be linked with both Chelsea and West Ham as speculation mounts with regards his future.

A story on the Sky Sports site quotes the South African striker as saying: "I am very flattered to be linked with clubs like Chelsea and West Ham, with great history and both are great teams in the Premier League.
Like I said, I've got a contract and I am here to serve a duty to my club that I am contracted at. But if the opportunity does come to go and play for a team where you can move up a level and play Champions League football, that will always be my dream. That is always what I strive towards as a player, to play at the highest level. If that opportunity occurs to go and play for a team like that, then I would love for my management to look at the possibility and look in their heart to make it possible to make a move like that." Of course, those quotes would seem to suggest Stamford Bridge as a far more likely destination for McCarthy. The Hammers have been credited with a strong interest in the player in the past, namely under Alan Pardew, when only a last minute intervention by McCarthy's club Porto prevented his switch to Upton Park.

Finally, Javier Zanetti has become the latest player in and around the Argentina national squad to encourage Carlos Tevez to leave West Ham. It seems that there is no-one outside of East London who thinks the player would benefit by staying at the club. The Inter Milan captain believes Argentinian compatriot Tevez would be the ideal signing for the Italian champions. Zanetti said: "It would be a great signing for us because he is a player that never gives up. He would be ideal for Inter, he has great talent and we really hope he will join us."

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