West Ham's Planning Clouded By Uncertainty Over Trio

Sam Allardyce's West Ham planning clouded by uncertainty over trioWest Ham United will not hold a fire sale despite Scott Parker, Carlton Cole and Robert Green, their highest earners, still being at Upton Park, and David Sullivan and David Gold, the co-owners, having to inject £18m of their own money before the transfer window closes to keep the club running.

When West Ham were relegated to the Championship under Avram Grant, Gold and Sullivan spoke of the "£40m hole" this would create in their finances. They have so far been unable to recoup any of this by the sale of their three premium players, which would bring in needed transfer monies and remove the wages from the club's overheads.

Yet although there are more than three weeks until the window closes, if any or all of those three players still remain as 1 September nears, the club will not allow them to leave under-price. Parker is West Ham's highest earner, having signed a new contract last September that earns him £70,000 a week until 2014, while Green earns around £30,000 a week.

Cole's proposed £4.5m move, plus £1.5m of add-ons, to Stoke City last month was agreed by both clubs but the striker's demand for £40,000 a week, plus appearance money, caused the deal to falter. The wage sought by the 27-year-old is more than he presently earns at West Ham.

Aston Villa had a formal £7.5m bid for Parker rejected earlier in the summer and Chelsea's hopes of a loan fell down on the proposed terms. Each retains an interest in the midfielder, as do Stoke, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. West Ham are yet to receive a concrete offer for Green.

Sam Allardyce's side begin their Championship season on Sunday against Cardiff City, with the new manager saying of the trio: "They are West Ham players and they are contracted to West Ham. Their commitment has to be to the West Ham shirt because that is where their contract lies.

"Of course, like everybody at this stage of the season, the madhouse is in full flow. Speculation is all over the place on a constant basis which is why this is one of the most difficult periods for a manager in an entire season.

" All we can do is try and focus on what is the most important thing and that is the Cardiff game on Sunday and for us to try and go out and set a marker on how we want to be by trying to win the game."

Despite the financial problems and the psychological difficulty of rebounding instantly from relegation, Allardyce accepts West Ham's status in the division. "We are the favourites, the big boys in this league and I have told the players that," he said. "Everyone wants your scalp, you are going to have to live up to your reputation from day one because they are going to want to turn you over. They are all going to play better, they are all going to play their best and try their hardest when they play against us."

Allardyce made his fifth signing of the summer on Saturday night, securing the former Aston Villa striker, John Carew, on a free transfer. However, the Norwegian, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Stoke, signed too late to be included in the squad against Cardiff.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jamie Jackson, for The Observer on Saturday 6th August 2011 20.07 Europe/London

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