£5m could tempt Zola to part with Ashton

PUBLISHED: 16:19 29 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:38 05 October 2010

WEST HAM may not have taken a slow boat to China over the weekend, but whether by sea or air, the result was the same - Dean Ashton wasn t with them. Some would say that he is merely continuing his fitness rehabilitation. Others though will point to his a

WEST HAM may not have taken a slow boat to China over the weekend, but whether by sea or air, the result was the same - Dean Ashton wasn't with them.

Some would say that he is merely continuing his fitness rehabilitation. Others though will point to his absence from the recent 10-day trip to Austria, where despite his injury, Valon Behrami, as well as the struggling Scott Parker, were both there as part of a team-bonding exercise. Ashton has been on the point of fitness for the last couple of months.

He attended the Liverpool home game looking lean and fit in a West Ham tracksuit, but since then he has been conspicuous by his absence.

Now, at least, three Premier League clubs are queueing up for the services of the England striker, who is still just 25-years-old.

Fulham, Hull and Stoke don't see a particularly tempting triumvirate for Ashton to consider - though Fulham are in the Europa League this season - but it seems that West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola is already planning for life without the big man.

It would be a great shame to see a fit Ashton knocking in the goals for one of West Ham's rivals however, and if no teams are prepared to take the gamble on him at around £5million, then he still could be an asset for the club in the future.

One asset that Zola and West Ham are desperate to cling on to is England centre half Matthew Upson who has been linked with a move away once again this week.

The 30-year-old defender, who has 14 international caps to his name, is a target for Harry Rednapp at Spurs and could be for moneybags Manchester City.

Having lost out on John Terry over the weekend, and having had a bid for Joleon Lescott turned down by Everton City could now turn their attention to the West Ham centre back, who was in stunning form last season.

A bid of around £12million has been mooted, but West Ham are not under pressure to accept it, unless the player himself asks to leave.

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