Can Hammers hold on to their star names?

THE SPECULATION began weeks ago, but now the January transfer window is with us and West Ham fans are already holding their breath. As if battling for points on the field was not enough for Gianfranco Zola, he also has to contend with the prospect of losi

THE SPECULATION began weeks ago, but now the January transfer window is with us and West Ham fans are already holding their breath.

As if battling for points on the field was not enough for Gianfranco Zola, he also has to contend with the prospect of losing one, or even more of his star names as Premier League managers with an eye for a bargain move in.

The manager, though, is determined to hold on to his top players.

"The financial situation everyone knows, but we have some stability," insisted Zola following Sunday's FA Cup exit.


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"I'm expecting not to have anybody leave, that's all I know, it might change, but I'm hoping not."

Matty Upson, Scott Parker, Robert Green and Carlton Cole are the precious commodities that Zola will be desperate to hang on to, but already the speculation has suggested that Upson could be on his way.

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The 30-year-old has been linked with a move to Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal and stories suggesting that Stoke City centre half Robert Huth could be on his way to Upton Park, add weight to the conjecture.

Parker is in his best form since arriving at the Hammers in the summer of 2007 and is attracting Liverpool among others, who along with Arsenal are supposedly looking at Cole, while Green has been linked with Sunderland and Aston Villa.

It would be a disaster if anyone is sold, especially as the takeover of the club seems to be moving closer.

Valon Behrami expressed his concern about the future at Upton Park last week, but Zola believes that is just because of the team spirit at the club.

"It was one consideration Behrami wanted to make because, like everybody at the club, he cares a lot about the team and wants it to be kept together and I back him on that," said Zola.

The boss even hinted that he will be looking to bring one or two new faces in during the month, though if he wants to splash the cash, he will definitely have to sell.

But there is one thing that he wants most of all.

"What I hope is that at least the team remains the same, that's the most important thing," he said.

"When we have everyone back it's going to be a different story."

All West Ham fans will echo those sentiments, but until the window closes, they may not believe it.

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