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Page last updated at 14:13 GMT, Thursday, 17 July 2008 15:13 UK

Hammers to make summer signings

By Simon Austin

Kieron Dyer
West Ham's focus will be on keeping stars like Dyer fit

West Ham plan to buy new players this summer despite a desire to trim their squad, BBC Sport understands.

The Hammers sold Bobby Zamora and John Pantsil to Fulham on Wednesday and want to get their 41-man squad down to a more manageable 26 or 27 players.

"We effectively have four teams on the payroll - that is far too big a squad," a senior club source told BBC Sport.

"We will be signing players and have specific requirements. We don't have to sell before we buy necessarily."

West Ham have one of the biggest first-team squads in the Premier League and a wage bill approaching 50m a year.

Chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson is determined to make the club "self sustaining" and has made trimming salaries a key aim for manager Alan Curbishley and chief executive Scott Duxbury this summer.

There has also been a focus on improving training and medical facilities in an attempt to improve the club's record with injuries.

Several new appointments have been made to the medical staff and the club is in the final stages of purchasing land for a new training complex in Romford, Essex.

"We are trying to make the best of the know-how and expertise that we have at the club," the source said.

"The aim is to have first-class medical and training facilities, to rival those at the biggest European clubs.

"At best, we managed to field six or seven of our first team at any one time last season. Just imagine how well we could have done had the likes of Kieron Dyer, Craig Bellamy, Julien Faubert and Dean Ashton available all season.

"We have to try to keep these players fit. We also have a lot of good young players coming through, such as Freddie Sears and James Tomkins.

"The optimum squad size is probably about 26 or 27 players. Our squad has become so big for a couple of reasons - the relegation battle we had in 2006/7 and the spate of injuries of 2007/8."

When Gudmundsson bought the Hammers in 2006, he laid out a five-year plan that, he hoped, would ultimately culminate in qualification for the Champions League.

West Ham finished 10th last season and the target for the coming season will be to challenge for a Uefa Cup spot.

see also
End of big spending at West Ham
09 May 08 |  West Ham

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