Q & A with West Ham CEO
The official West Ham website has an interview with West Ham Scott Duxbury.
Yesterday there were some raised eyebrows that West Ham failed to publish their annual accounts. Duxbury says this about the delay,
"With all the uncertainty surrounding the Sheffield United claim we have taken the opportunity to delay publication of our annual accounts until the end of March 2009."
On the prospect of the January transfer window Duxbury said,
"We have no intention of selling our best players, nor are we telling the manager to do so. Gianfranco Zola will rightly not comment on speculation but as he has said, he, Gianluca Nani and myself are working closely together and this month will be no different. It may be that some players are allowed to leave but no one will be going unless the manager thinks it is in the best interests of his team and it is right for the club."
Duxbury then goes on to say that all offers for any player will be considered individually. Saying the club had to take into consideration a player's age, his contract length, the player's desires and the sum offered.
This seems to leave him a lot of wiggle room to sell players. When asked if players have to be sold he said,
"No, players don't have to be sold but it has been clear since the arrival of Gianfranco that he is keen to have a smaller first-team squad based on quality over quantity."
Duxbury has continually said that Zola is keen to reduce the size of the squad. I have no insight's into Zola's wishes but I suspect the pressure to move players on comes from higher up the club hierarchy.
However Duxbury did say that,
"I have had several offers in excess of £12m in the past six months for one of our key players and have turned down every single approach. No one will be sold unless it is right for West Ham United."
On the current loan players,
"I should say that we have first option to sign our loan players on very good terms should we decide to do so next summer."
On potential spending in January,
"The owner will not be in a position to add funds this transfer window but regardless we believe January is not the best time to be making any significant investments."
Taking all this on face value it seems that West Ham do not want to sell any key players but will look to move on some of the squad players this January. If West Ham do receive good offers for key players the board and Zola will assess whether an offer is too good to turn down. West Ham won't be buying any players unless Zola can generate funds from sales.