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Zola must sell to raise funds

PUBLISHED: 16:08 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:41 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG GIANFRANCO ZOLA has been told he must sell players to raise transfer funds as West Ham were plunged into fresh financial crisis this week by the economic meltdown in Iceland. The Hammers were rocked after Landsbanki, the bank run by th

By JONATHAN CLEGG

GIANFRANCO ZOLA has been told he must sell players to raise transfer funds as West Ham were plunged into fresh financial crisis this week

by the economic meltdown in Iceland.

The Hammers were rocked after Landsbanki, the bank run by their owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, was placed into administration to prevent a full-scale collapse of the country's finances.

Gudmundsson was forced to resign from his position as chairman of the bank on Tuesday and his 40 per cent stake in Landsbanki is now virtually worthless.

West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury has played down concerns that the club's financial security is at risk following the significant blow to Gudmunsson's personal fortune.

He said: "The position of Landsbanki has absolutely no effect on West Ham and Mr Gudmundsson's ownership of the club.

"Mr Gudmundsson is an investor with a large portfolio, of which Landsbanki was just part. He remains as committed as ever to West Ham and is not looking to sell the club."

But Duxbury, who had promised that Zola would be given funds "to build a team" at Upton Park, has admitted that the Italian will now have to sell players to generate the cash for new signings.

"Since his appointment, Gianfranco Zola has made it quite clear that his first-team squad is too large and needs to be reduced," he said.

"Once this has happened and if the manager requires further players, then the club will acquire them."

The collapse of Landsbanki is the

latest in a series of financial disasters to hit Upton Park.

West Ham were left reeling last month by the collapse of holiday firm XL, who were the club's main sponsors, and an independent tribunal's decision to award Sheffield United up to £30m in compensation over the Carlos Tevez affair.

Hammers vice-chairman Asgeir Fridgeirsson underlined that Gudmundsson has no intention of investing in the current squad.

He said: "He has already put £30m into the club. The money for further transfers would need to be generated by sales.

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