Behrami blow for Hammers

WEST HAM have suffered a setback in their bid for European qualification after midfielder Valon Behrami was ruled out for six months with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, writes NEIL TRAINIS. The 23-year-old Switzerland international sustained the da

WEST HAM have suffered a setback in their bid for European qualification after midfielder Valon Behrami was ruled out for six months with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, writes NEIL TRAINIS.

The 23-year-old Switzerland international sustained the damage to his left knee during the 1-0 Premier League victory over Manchester City at Upton Park on March 1.

Behrami will certainly miss the remainder of the season and having impressed for West Ham since his arrival from Lazio, will be sorely missed as the Hammers attempt to gatecrash Uefa Cup qualification through the league under manager Gianfranco Zola.

"Behrami underwent keyhole surgery in Italy to assess and then repair the damage on Tuesday after two previous MRI scans," read a statement on the club's website.


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"Behrami is due back in London next week, where he will begin his rehabilitation with the club's medical staff as soon as possible."

West Ham are currently seventh in the Premier League, six points behind sixth-placed Everton, and despite off-field financial turmoil threatening the club's future and the acrimonious departure of previous manager, Alan Curbishley in September, they have been rejuvenated under Zola.

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There was better news for West Ham this week when their Icelandic owners moved a step closer to securing a further three-month cessation period to sell the club and avoid plunging its parent company, Hansa, into bankruptcy.

Hansa has debts estimated at �238m and if the company is wound up and stripped of its assets, which include West Ham, the club could be forced into administration and face a nine-point Premier League deduction, unless a buyer for the Hammers is found.

The club, though, appear to have generated some breathing space until the summer in which to secure new ownership and were buoyed by the reluctance of MP Bank, one of Hansa's creditors owed 5.4 per cent of the total debt, to continue pushing for the demise of the company and allow for extra time to conclude West Ham's sale.

Chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson owns 95 per cent of West Ham through Hansa and has seen his business empire in Iceland severely depleted by the collapse of Landsbanki, in which he held a 41 per cent stake.

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