Ace Ledley is on radar
WEST HAM boss Gianfranco Zola thinks he only needs two or three new faces in the summer - and one of them could be Welsh international Joe Ledley, writes DAVE EVANS. The Hammers looked at prising the winger away from Cardiff City back in January without s
WEST HAM boss Gianfranco Zola thinks he only needs two or three new faces in the summer - and one of them could be Welsh international Joe Ledley, writes DAVE EVANS.
The Hammers looked at prising the winger away from Cardiff City back in January without success, but now the Bluebirds have missed out on a play-off place, they have hinted that he may be available.
With West Ham's current financial position still uncertain, Zola knows that he will not have huge wads of cash to throw around, however, he is keen to stress that although money is available, he does not need too much new blood for next season.
"I don't know how much money I'll have to spend, but I've been assured that if we need to get a couple of players to improve the squad, we will," said Zola.
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"I don't think we need more than maybe two or three players that maybe coming in."
One thing that may change that philosophy is the prospect of European football and the need for a bigger squad, but Zola thinks that will not be a problem.
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"That is another question that I would love to answer, but I'm sure the club is ready to face the challenge," he said.
"Trust me, we don't need much investment to what we already have, we have a very good base.
"The most difficult job was to improve things this year, and now in the future it will be easier to do something important, so I believe it won't be necessary for big spending."
Those sentiments may be good news for striker Diego Tristan, who thumped in a timely reminder of his keenness to stay at Upton Park next season with the winner at Stoke City on Saturday.
Zola is certainly not ruling out a new deal for the 33-year-old striker, who has notched three goals this season.
"You never know," teased Zola. "Tristan is working very hard, I have an open mind.
"I don't put barriers in front of me or the players so Diego Tristan, if he keeps playing like this, he'll be doing a great job for me and also the team."
With doubts still hanging over the fitness of Dean Ashton, a new striker does still seem to be the top priority, but the acquisition of Ledley will also boost West Ham's attacking options.
Cardiff boss David Jones was philosophical after his team missed out on a Championship play-off place last Sunday.
"When the money came in for Joe last time, it came in an hour before the deadline," he said.
"It was too late for us to find somebody else, so it wasn't the right time to sell.
"Now the decision might be taken, if a player has one year left on his contract and the money is right, then the decision might be taken out of our hands."
Ledley is just 22, but already has 26 Welsh caps to his name. He has also played with Jack Collison, James Collins and Danny Gabbidon for the national team, so is likely to fit in well.
Zola already has Junior Stanislas, Savio and even Kyel Reid who can play in that position, but the more experienced Ledley may well constitute the immediate future for the club.