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Last Updated: Monday, 26 May, 2003, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Hammam eyes transfer market
Sam Hammam congratulates captain Graham Kavanagh after Cardiff's play-off win
Delighted Cardiff City chairman Sam Hammam will waste little time in celebrating promotion to Division One as he begins planning an ambitious assault on the Premiership.

The Lebanese businessman was full of praise for the team that clinched a dramatic 1-0 injury-time win over QPR in the play-off final, but suggested that he could recruit up to 10 players in the close season.

"We have the nucleus of an outstanding team - 15 players who can handle the First Division - but we need at least 25," Hammam told BBC Wales Sport.

Hammam will sit down with manager Lennie Lawrence on Tuesday to begin planning their recruitment drive, with a budget thought to be in the region of 10m.

Wales deserves a top-notch Premiership club
Sam Hammam
"We have two or three youngsters coming through, so I don't know exactly how many players we'll need," said Hammam.

"The key thing is the stadium. If we get that then Lennie's programme will be much more aggressive."

The former Wimbledon chairman is still in negotiation with Cardiff Council over planning permission and other arrangements for the building of a new home for the Bluebirds.

Their ageing, 15,000-seater Ninian Park stadium does not meet up with the ambitions of Hammam, who wants to make Cardiff one of the biggest teams in the country.

"Wales deserves a top-notch Premiership club - it will take us many years to build that, but it is where we want to be," he said.

Thierry Henry
Hammam wants Cardiff to compete with the likes of Arsenal
"Even if we make the Premiership next season, we would need 16-20 top-notch players equal to those at Arsenal to be able to compete with them."

Cardiff's lofty aspirations are still a long way off bringing the likes of Thierry Henry and Robert Pires to Ninian Park, though.

Likely summer targets could include John Robinson, Andy Melville, Luke Chadwick and John Oster.

There are also likely to be players released from the extended Bluebirds squad.

Leo Fortune-West and Andy Legg are the only two players out of contract, but others could be put on the transfer list to clear the way for new blood.




SEE ALSO
Cardiff duo thank Hammam
26 May 03  |  English Div 2
Campbell celebrates Cardiff win
25 May 03  |  English Div 2

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