Friday, 11 July 2008

Holding The Pail

You can only milk a cow so long, then you're left holding the pail. Here is this morning's not altogether nourishing collection of exiguous transfer window gossip...

Despite declarations of contentment from
George McCartney and Lucas Neill, it seems the media are every bit as keen as the interested clubs to see West Ham United's fullbacks sold. The Guardian insist Sunderland are preparing to make an improved offer to re-sign McCartney after the club turned down £4.5 million for the Irishman. The Times posit that Alan Curbishley is already searching for another left back and has made an approach to Leicester City regarding Joe Mattock, the England Under-21 player.

McCartney, 27, made his debut for Sunderland in 2000 and went on to make 157 appearances for the Black Cats in all competitions, before joining West Ham United two years ago in a player-plus-cash deal which saw Clive Clarke and £600,000 come to Wearside. Roy Keane has made signing a left-back one of his priorities this summer after being forced to use versatile centre-back Danny Collins in that role for virtually the whole of last season.

Sources on Wearside are claiming the chances of McCartney moving hinge solely on the Hammers securing a replacement. If United can persuade relegated Reading to part with England full-back Nicky Shorey, McCartney could be allowed to leave. West Ham could not convince Reading to sell Shorey with a bid of £5 million last summer, but the fact that the Royals are now facing up to life in the Championship may change things – although Reading have already warned that the 27-year-old will not be allowed to leave on the cheap. Reading director of football Nicky Hammond said recently: "People are working on the assumption that Nicky Shorey will move on during the summer. But it simply has not gone that far. Nobody has made us an offer for the player and even if they do, it does not mean he will go." West Ham would also likely face competition for Shorey, with Portsmouth among the clubs thought to be keen.

On a similar note, the Mail report that Galatasaray are pressing ahead in their £4million pursuit of Lucas Neill — despite initial resistance from the player. The article states that the Turkish side, who signed Harry Kewell last week, are aware that West Ham United want to cut their budget and believe they can strike a deal. They suggest that with Bobby Zamora and John Pantsil destined for Fulham, Neill's departure could free up more vital funds.

In other news, West Ham United keep getting mentioned in dispatches regarding Everton striker Andy Johnson. In the latest effort by the Mirror it is claimed we are still the preferred destination for the player but look likely to miss out in the ensuing transfer scramble through an inability to raise sufficient funds. Several other media outlets have contented themselves with cold rehashes of the Valon Behrami 'snub', while more enterprising speculation has linked the club with USA defender Oguchi 'Gooch' Onyewu and Venezuelan winger Juan Arango.

Finally, no one else seems to be picking up the Balint Bajner story that I posted earlier but I am told the player was actually training with the first team squad yesterday. Also present was veteran defender Stephen Carr, now a free agent following his release from Newcastle United. Don't shoot the messenger.

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