Zola set to spend as new owners promise funds

Gianfranco Zola is close to making three major signings after the West Ham boss was given the green light to begin spending by the club's new owners

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Gianfranco Zola is close to making three major signings after the West Ham boss was given the green light to begin spending by the club's new owners.

The Hammers are under new ownership this week after Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson was forced to hand control of the club to his creditors.

CB Holding, an asset-management company set up by Icelandic bank Straumur, have taken over in a deal worth more than �100m and Andrew Bernhardt has been installed as the club's new chairman.


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And Bernhardt has promised that Zola will be given money to spend, with the Hammers boss closing in on three major targets.

He said: "I can assure fans we will sanction investment in new players. We have an initial two-year plan which includes improving the infrastructure at the club."

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Hammers chief executive Scott Duxbury, who will stay on under the new regime, confirmed that the club are in advanced discussions with three players and hope to complete the trio of signings in the coming weeks.

"Gianfranco has identified three players who he believes will improve the team and we're close to securing those three players," Duxbury said.

"There's still a little way to go before we can conclude them but talks and discussions have gone well and are ongoing.

"Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we will be able to announce something."

West Ham are rumoured to be close to a deal with Inter Milan's Luis Jimenez, as reported in the Advertiser last month, while France defender Rod Fanni and Middlesbrough's Matthew Bates are also targets.

Hammers technical director Gianluca Nani confirmed that the club are interested in Chile international Jimenez, 24, who has also been linked with Tottenham and Arsenal.

Nani said: "He is a great player, one that we have always followed.

"He is a possibility but nothing is certain - he is a non-EU player and it is not easy to get a permit for those players in England.

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