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Page last updated at 15:22 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 16:22 UK

Zola vows to keep West Ham stars

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola
Zola's Hammers won 2-0 at Wolves on the opening day of the season

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola has insisted that the club does not need to sell key players before the transfer window shuts at the end of August.

Zola was thought to be under pressure from CB Holding, the club's Icelandic owners, to cash in on the squad.

Stoke are reported to be interested in signing James Collins for £5m, while fellow centre-back Matthew Upson has also been linked with a big-money move.

But Zola told the club's website: "We are looking to buy not sell players."

Manchester City, Arsenal and Aston Villa have all been linked with Upson in recent weeks.

And the England defender, who scored in West Ham's 2-0 win at Wolves on the opening day of the Premier League season, has admitted he would leave to help the Hammers financially.

However, Zola is keen to bring another striker to Upton Park with former Chelsea team-mate Eidur Gudjohnsen, currently at Barcelona, thought to be a leading target.

The Hammers have already brought in Czech midfielder Radoslav Kovac and Congo defender Herita Ilunga on permanent deals as well as Chilean forward Luis Jimenez on loan from Inter Milan.

And chief executive Scott Duxbury says the club will continue to back Zola if he wants to add to the squad.

606: DEBATE
Fantastic Hammers!

"The club's position remains the same as it was last week or as it was in January: there is no question of [Icelandic bank] Straumur forcing us to sell anyone - in fact we are actively looking for new players," he said.

"The papers are unsurprisingly full of speculation at this time of year, but the situation is clear - the only way a player would be allowed to leave is if Gianfranco thinks it is in the best interests of the squad as a whole and it is right for the club."

West Ham's non-executive chairman Andrew Bernhardt added: "We fully support Scott and Gianfranco and endorse their continued efforts in strengthening the squad as quickly as possible, with a new striker their top priority."

CB Holding, which is owned largely by Icelandic investment bank Straumur-Burdaras assumed ownership of the Hammers from previous chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson in June.



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see also
Wolves 0-2 West Ham
15 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Gold refuses to deny Hammers link
14 Aug 09 |  Birmingham
West Ham complete Kovac signing
14 Aug 09 |  West Ham
Sunderland cool interest in Neill
11 Sep 09 |  Sunderland
West Ham sign left-back Daprela
01 Aug 09 |  West Ham


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