Zola still smiling despite financial concerns

PUBLISHED: 10:48 16 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:41 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG GIANFRANCO ZOLA admits he is unconcerned by the news that he must sell players to raise money for new signings – because he thinks his current squad is too big to work with. West Ham boss Zola was informed last week that there will be no


GIANFRANCO ZOLA admits he is unconcerned by the news that he must sell players to raise money for new signings - because he thinks his current squad is too big to work with.

West Ham boss Zola was informed last week that there will be no cash for new players in the January transfer window after the Hammers were left reeling by the financial meltdown in Iceland.

The collapse of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki is understood to have cost West Ham owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson more than £200m and has wiped out any funds earmarked for transfer spending.

Hammers chief executive Scott Duxbury confirmed that Zola will now have to raise funds for new recruits by selling existing member of his squad.

But the Italian has reassured supporters that he is happy to offload fringe players at the club - in order to create a more efficient first-team squad.

"I am more than happy with the squad I have got and when I have got all the injured players back it will be too big for what we need," said Zola, whose predecessor Alan Curbishley quit the club last month after claiming players had been sold behind his back.

"Right now, we don't need any more as we have lots of top players already and my task is to get the best out of them.

"I am happy with what I have got here and I want to get results with this squad. I am very pleased with my players and what they are

giving me."

Former Hammers boss Harry Redknapp has also backed Zola to overcome the squeeze on the club's finances - by doing a spot of wheeling and dealing.

Redknapp was in charge at Upton Park for a seven-year spell, during which time he was often forced to scratch around for bargain buys and hidden gems in order to improve his squad.

He believes that Zola will be able to keep the club on a solid footing in the Premier League by recruiting players for similarly knockdown prices - thanks to the expertise of his backroom staff.

He said: "Zola has been lucky to get West Ham as his first job in English management. He has inherited a squad that, left untouched, could finish in the top 12 of the Premier League at least.

"He has a technical director, Gianluca Nani, working with him who knows the Italian transfer market well. His assistant, Steve Clarke, knows the British market inside-out.

"This is key, as the next transfer window will require a lot of wheeling and dealing and money is sparse.

"However, Zola is safe with the people around him and still in a great position.

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