Ben Haim could potentially keep a new player from signing
West Ham United have placed Robbie Keane and Wayne Bridge high on their list of targets with the January transfer window due to open at midnight. If the pair sign it would be on loan deals from Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City, their respective clubs.
David Gold, co-owner of the Premier League’s bottom team, said the club are focusing on 15 players and hope to bring in at least three of these. West Ham face competition for Keane, who is also interesting Newcastle United and Birmingham City, while any deal for Bridge may be dependent on whether Tal Ben Haim’s loan deal is renewed.
The view at Upton Park is that, with only two loan deals per season allowed from other Premier League clubs, there may be room for only one defender, with Grant potentially employing the other to secure a striker, such as Keane, or to strengthen another area of the team.
Grant said this week that West Ham were in talks with Portsmouth to renew Ben Haim’s deal until the close of the season. He told the Jewish Chronicle: “We very much want Tal to stay. We have a problem over his contract with Portsmouth but he is good for us, and if they agree we want to loan him until the end of the season.”
Ben Haim reportedly earns £38,000 a week, wages that Portsmouth, who are still financially stricken, would be keen to ease but with West Ham lacking a specialist left-back a move for Bridge may be preferable for Grant.
The club hope imminently to announce that they have finally signed the Aston Villa midfielder Steve Sidwell, and there is also interest in Demba Ba, the 25-year-old Hoffenheim and Senegal striker, and the Monaco forward Dieumerci Mbokani, who has scored eight times in 14 appearances for DR Congo.
The club are reluctant to sell any of their better players, who include Robert Green, Matthew Upson, Scott Parker and Carlton Cole, though they would listen to the right offer – Parker apart, who is not for sale.
Valon Behrami, who wants to move back to Italy, could leave for around £3m, with Juventus and Roma the most likely destination for the midfielder.
Before today’s relegation showdown with Wolves at Upton Park, Upson hailed the club’s support. The central defender said: “The fans have been a constant all year. We haven’t given them too much to shout about but their support is always valued. It has been a major part of us getting some good results both home and away lately.
“For a thousand fans to make the trip up to Blackburn [Rovers] when the country had come to a standstill because of the weather conditions was remarkable. Let’s hope our form can continue to improve and we can reward them for their efforts.
“The games are coming [so] thick and fast that you can’t really think beyond the game in front of you. Whatever game presents itself next, that is what I am focused on and I think that goes for all of us.”
Who would of thought that Big Tal would keep Bridge out of the squad. Just shoot me now and get it over with!