Friday, 23 January 2009

Nsereko Nears Completion?

West Ham are closing in on a deal for Brescia’s Savio Nsereko, according to several media reports this morning. The Telegraph states Gianfranco Zola is set to break the club's transfer record to bring the German Under-19 international striker to Upton Park, despite competition from a host of European clubs, including Milan, Bayern Munich and Napoli. Writing in the Independent, Jason Burt claims United are close to agreeing a fee that could total £10million after club executives spent the past two days in Italy holding talks. Technical director Gianluca Nani has been over this week to orchestrate the deal with the president of Serie B side Brescia, Luigi Corioni, who is Nani’s father-in-law.

Nani, who was involved in the development of Luca Toni and Andrea Pirlo at Brescia, was brought in to West Ham while Alan Curbishley was in charge. This deal represents another major visible contribution to the club’s transfer policy, following the successful arrivals of Valon Behrami and Herita Ilunga. Crucially, Nani knows Nsereko well after being responsible for taking him to Italy from Hertha Berlin in 2005 when he was just 16.

The Mirror thinks the Ugandan born striker has already been negotiating terms with the club and could officially become a West Ham player within a matter of days. Reports in Italy also suggest the move is close, speculation fuelled by the fact that the player missed training with his team-mates yesterday. Although United hope to make an announcement soon over the 19-year-old German, any deal would come too late for Nsereko to be included in West Ham’s squad to face Hartlepool in the weekend’s FA Cup fixture. Burt believes the club hope to give some confirmation of the transfer after that game.

The forward, who can play as a conventional striker or a wide player, was voted player of the tournament at the European Under-19 Championship last summer and is widely expected to claim a first full cap for Germany in February. The £10 million transfer fee would eclipse West Ham’s previous biggest outlay, the £7.5 million they spent singing Bellamy from Liverpool in 2007. The Hammers hope that if they sign 'Savio' it will demonstrate the commitment given to Zola that, beyond a number of fringe players, the proceeds of any sales would be reinvested. Although there is interest from other clubs, most notably Napoli who are known to have close transfer links with Brescia, West Ham are hopeful that the size of their bid will prove successful. One of the player's agents, Dieter Heimen, confirmed that the club were in the race to sign Savio, who can play in a variety of attacking roles and is on a list of potential signings drawn up by Zola, Nani and chief executive Scott Duxbury.

Elsewhere, Gianfranco Zola contended he had no choice but to let striker Craig Bellamy seek his 'fortune' at Manchester City. Bellamy signed for cash-rich City earlier this week in a deal worth £14million after refusing to play for West Ham in a Premier League match with Fulham. Zola said: "We respect the fact that Craig had to go somewhere else to find his fortune but we want to get on with our lives here and to be successful." Denying reported claims by the Wales international striker that he wanted to stay at Upton Park, Zola insisted: "I don’t think he wanted to stay. We are not going to send players away who want to stay."

Zola, who once turned down a lucrative offer from Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to return to Stamford Bridge after going back to his native Sardinia, also praised Brazilian star Kaka for staying at Italian giants AC Milan rather than moving to City in a £100m deal. Zola added: "Kaka proved that values are more important than money and I would also like to think that is the case."

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail's latest brain-fart has West Ham rejecting an £8million bid from Tottenham for Carlton Cole. The article suggests Harry Redknapp is set to improve his offer after failing to land Craig Bellamy, and could use £17million forward Darren Bent in part-exchange. Spurs were rumoured to have failed in an attempt to sign Cole last summer after they sold Dimitar Berbatov to Manchester United.

The former Chelsea striker has scored nine goals this season and has even caught the attention of England boss Fabio Capello. Redknapp seems desperate to sign new strikers but the paper insists Zola is refusing to do business with Spurs at present, and wants to keep Cole after already losing Bellamy. West Ham are also in a good bargaining position as Cole's contract does not run out until 2013.

The same paper claims West Ham have made an approach for Cardiff winger Joe Ledley but have been stunned by an £8million asking price. This despite the fact that United publicly distanced themselves from the player earlier in the week. The Mail 'understands' there has been contact between the clubs but that Cardiff have made it clear it will take a bigger offer to prise Ledley away. Ledley only turned 22 on Wednesday but has already attracted strong interest from several Barclays Premier League clubs after finishing as Cardiff's joint-top scorer with 11 goals last season and bagging an FA Cup semi-final winner against Barnsley along the way.

Stoke had a £6million bid rejected at the start of the season, while Everton are believed to have enquired about him twice and Arsenal, Tottenham and Championship leaders Wolves have all tracked his progress. With Cardiff holding out for their valuation, after seeing prices soar since Manchester City began flexing their financial muscle, the ball is back in West Ham's court. The article states United are reluctant to go above £5million but may try and meet the Championship side halfway with a renewed offer of between £6million and £7million.

Finally, there are some speculative reports that West Ham United are close to completing a deal for Sligo Rovers 'star' Seamus Coleman. The 20-year-old right back has attracted attention from Coca-Cola Championship duo Ipswich Town and Birmingham City over the past two months but United are said to lead the chase for the Republic of Ireland under-21 international. A native of Donegal, Coleman has blossomed since joining Sligo from Donegal side St Catherine’s two years ago and is rightly regarded as one of the most promising young players in the League of Ireland. Of course, he would have to be if he were ever to make it in the Premier League.


emlyn said...

Wish I could leave a comment that would make me look smarter than I am. But looks like I cant. I have only recently discovered your site, please keep it up (there I go again)

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

That wasn't a very smart comment, Emlyn -:)
You, like every player on the field at Upton Park, have to believe in yourself to win. Enjoy and believe.
Cheers, John.

Trilby said...

I kinda wish I'd seen that deleted comment now. I don't get many so I can't afford to lose any. Welcome to my blog Emlyn!


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