Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Inter-Stellar Burst

Several of the morning papers are claiming West Ham United are close to concluding an exciting double signing from Inter Milan, which would see the 28-year-old Brazilian winger Mancini join the attacking midfielder Luis Jimenez in heading for Upton Park. Chief executive, Scott Duxbury, and technical director, Gianluca Nani, have spent an enterprising few days in Milan brokering initial loan deals with an option to buy both players, valued in today's Times at a combined £22million. With the Jimenez deal already well advanced, an article in The Independent states the club remain hopeful that Mancini, who arrived at Inter in a £15million deal last year, will also see his future in east London.

Mancini was once one of the brightest prospects in Serie A thanks to his ability to take defenders on and score goals but has since struggled to make an impact during his time in Milan. He now wants out because of a reported rift with Inter boss Jose Mourinho. Gary Jacob writes that prior to his high profile move to the San Siro last July Mancini is understood to have attracted the interest of several Premier League managers, including Sven Goran Eriksson when he was at Manchester City. The pursuit of the Brazilian is indicative of the way that Gianfranco Zola is using his Italian connections to bring talent to the club, especially as Andrew Dillon credits Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez as also having an interest in the player. It similarly reflects the close links that exist between Mourinho, Zola and Steve Clarke forged through their association with Chelsea.

Dillon, writing in today's Sun, is convinced the double swoop has already been rubber-stamped. He states Mancini, rated at £15million and Jimenez, worth around £10million, are Zola’s first signings after control of West Ham was taken from outgoing chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson and passed to Straumur-Burdaras Investment. The Icelandic bank was earlier this week granted an extension to its moratorium until 11 December 2009 by the District Court of Reykjav√≠k. Dillon states Zola now hopes to land at least one of the Inter pair on a permanent deal next summer but will still need to sell to raise cash first.

It is to that end that the club have slapped a £15million price tag on defender Matthew Upson; a player the club appear resigned to losing this summer, with Manchester City favourites to sign him. The Times also credit ambitious City will an interest in the England centre-half, but they insist Everton's Joleon Lescott remains their first option. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail report Sheffield United are set to sign West Ham’s out-of-contract Kyel Reid on a two-year deal and the Blades have also shown an interest in taking Nigel Quashie. The same paper claims Birmingham City are close to wrapping up a permanent deal for midfielder Lee Bowyer. The midfielder has agreed to a significant salary cut in order to conclude the free transfer in the next week. In addition, young Freddie Sears could now be set to join Crystal Palace on loan after reportedly rejecting approaches from both Peterborough and Sheffield Wednesday. The 19-year-old had been expected to join Wednesday on a season-long loan (speculated at the time to be part of a deal that would have seen Tommy Spurr and Mark Beevers moving in the opposite direction) but has decided to stay in London - also ending any hopes newly-promoted Championship side Peterborough had.

In other news, United have been credited with an interest in Sweden U21 international Mikael Lustig; currently representing his country in the Under-21 European Championships. Setanta quote reports in the Norwegian press that West Ham are fighting a number of clubs from Denmark and Holland for the young right back, who has emerged as the latest contender to replace unsettled Lucas Neill. Rosenborg have admitted they will struggle to hold onto Lustig if the Hammers come calling but sporting director Erik Hoftun refuses to concede defeat. "We will of course keep him, but when the big clubs start to let hear from them, it can be difficult," said Hoftun. The player has agreed not to comment on his future until the completion of the tournament.

One signature West Ham United have already secured is that of talented young American Sebastian Lletget. The midfield prospect moves to England after he circumvented the rules regarding the signing of non-EU youth players by obtaining an Italian passport last November, for which he qualifies through an Italian grandfather. KUMB reports that the Hammers had been tracking the 16-year-old youth international for more than a year, since he was first spotted playing for his current club Santa Clara Sporting. National youth team coach Wilmer Cabrera describes Lletget "as a very good technical player who reads the game well." Lletget will join up with his team mates in London next month and will spend the next year commuting between the UK and the US in order to continue working with the American youth set-up before hopefully moving to England permanently. Talking about his future recently, Lletget said: "My heart's always going to be with the U.S - it's just that playing for a European team is amazing. It's just a higher level. That's how far I want to push it."

Finally, West Ham United have recruited former Chelsea and Watford Chief of Medical Staff Andy Rolls to the club's backroom team. Rolls spent three years learning his trade in west London before moving to Vicarage Road in the summer of 2005. He left Watford last week and, according to local news reports, has now joined the medical team at Chadwell Heath. His departure was confirmed by the Hornets at the weekend with a statement that acknowledged his vital role in Watford's promotion in his first season. It also referred to the Rolls as "a leader in the industry with many other clubs copying [his] techniques and systems."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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