Zola adamant that Hammers will be in market for top stars
Gianfranco Zola insists that West Ham will still be in the market for top-class signings this summer despite the financial uncertainty at Upton Park
Gianfranco Zola insists that West Ham will still be in the market for top-class signings this summer despite the financial uncertainty at Upton Park.
The Hammers are expected to be taken over by a consortium of international banks in the coming weeks, with Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson set to be ousted as chairman as the club falls into the control of its major creditor, the troubled Icelandic bank Straumur.
The transfer of ownership is unlikely to provide a boost to the club's finances, since Straumur itself was last month declared "effectively insolvent" by the Financial Services Authority.
Yet Hammers boss Zola remains convinced that he will be given funds to make a major summer signing as he attempts to build on a successful first season in charge at Upton Park.
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The Italian, who expects to sign a new contract at West Ham before the end of the season, believes that the club's progress during the current campaign and a reputation for attractive football will help him lure top names to the club.
He said: "We are looking for top-line players this summer. We are not big spenders, but we will spend our money wisely and work hard to make it happen.
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"We are building up a good reputation among players because we try to play good football and there's a good atmosphere and that could be an attractive thing for good players to come here.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see a top player come and play for West Ham in the summer. There is a good platform here to build up something important for the future.
"I believe that the club is going to improve. There will be some stability and the situation will be better. We've been through everything this year so we're not scared of anything."
Zola will underline his commitment to the club by signing a new contract in the coming weeks, with No 2 Steve Clarke also set to extend his current deal.
The pair were signed on one-year rolling contracts when Zola took the Upton Park hotseat in September, but are set to be rewarded for their achievements this season in guiding the Hammers into a Europa League spot.
"The club is looking after us and we are talking about [new four-year contracts] and it's looking good," Zola said.
"Maybe it will happen during the next few weeks. The club has been very good to us and we appreciate that.