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Zola plans summer spending spree

PUBLISHED: 15:05 29 April 2009 | UPDATED: 14:19 05 October 2010

Gianfranco Zola has vowed to splash the cash this summer as he bids to turn West Ham into Champions League contenders

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Gianfranco Zola has vowed to splash the cash this summer as he bids to turn West Ham into Champions League contenders.

Hammers boss Zola and No2 Steve Clarke both signed new four-year contracts at Upton Park this week, stretching until the summer of 2013.

With his long-term future at the club now finalised, Zola has outlined his ambition of transforming West Ham into a side capable of challenging the Premier League's top four.

And he wants to begin that process by securing a series of top-class signings in the summer transfer window.

The Hammers slipped to a 1-0 defeat by Chelsea last weekend and Zola wants to recruit reinforcements capable of unlocking tough defences.

He said: "My ambition is that we have a project and we want in a few years time to be competing with the top four, or top five.

"The next stage is that we will try to improve the squad. We started this year, it is just the beginning, but we have a lot of enthusiasm and we trust what we are doing.

"It is a good team not only on the pitch, but off the pitch.

"[But] we know that we need to improve the team so we are going to try.

"Don't be surprised if there will be a few signings and hopefully the players that come in will take us to an even higher level."

Last weekend's defeat at the Boleyn Ground has seen West Ham fall behind Fulham in the race for a seventh-place finish and European qualification.

Yet Zola is confident that the club can leapfrog the West London club in the final four weeks of the season and earn a Europa League berth.

"I don't mind dropping out of seventh now as long as I can be there after the last game," Zola said. "We know that it is going to be up and down until the end so for sure we are not going to give up.

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