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Tevez settlement will not limit spending, says Zola

PUBLISHED: 10:09 19 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:12 05 October 2010

Gianfranco Zola is adamant that West Ham's summer transfer plans will not be derailed by the club's £15m payout to settle the Carlos Tevez affair

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Gianfranco Zola is adamant that West Ham's summer transfer plans will not be derailed by the club's £15m payout to settle the Carlos Tevez affair.

The Hammers reached an out-of-court agreement with Sheffield United on Monday to resolve the long-running legal battle over Tevez, who was instrumental in keeping West Ham in the Premier League two seasons ago.

The compensation package meant that the independent tribunal chaired by Lord Griffiths to rule on 'Tevezgate' was not called on to decide the final amount that the Hammers would have to cough up.

The final sum - believed to be a £15m peace offering spread over several years - was substantially more than West Ham had hoped to pay and takes the cost of the Tevez deal to more than £20m.

West Ham were also fined a world record £5.5m by the Premier League after pleading guilty to a breach of league rules over the signings of the Argentina striker and compatriot Javier Mascherano.

But Zola insists the costly payment to the Blades will not scupper plans to strengthen his squad at the end of the season.

He said: "The matter is settled and [now] we know exactly what is going to happen, we can look at the possibilities of what we can do in the future.

"It shouldn't affect our spending, so if we want to strengthen in the summer then we'll be able to do that."

The Hammers boss added that the resolution of the Tevez saga would allow him to concentrate fully on leading the club's challenge for European qualification during the final weeks of the season.

"Now I can switch on to the football and not let other things get in the way," Zola said. "We have an opportunity [to qualify for Europe] and that is one of the targets we have."

Hammers chief executive Scott Duxbury also believes the resolution of the dispute means the club can now move forward.

Duxbury said: "The time was right to draw a line under the episode. This now allows us to concentrate on a strong finish to the Premier League and possible European qualification.

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