Faubert is set for Leverkusen
FRENCH FLOP Julien Faubert looks set to end his West Ham nightmare by joining Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen in the next few days, WRITES DAVE EVANS. The 25-year-old Frenchman cost the Hammers over �6million when Alan Curbishley signed him from Bordea
FRENCH FLOP Julien Faubert looks set to end his West Ham nightmare by joining Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen in the next few days, WRITES DAVE EVANS.
The 25-year-old Frenchman cost the Hammers over �6million when Alan Curbishley signed him from Bordeaux back in the summer of 2007, but bad luck and poor form plagued him from the very start of his time at Upton Park.
He injured his Achilles during the pre-season tour of Austria, forcing him out of the team until he finally made his debut in January 2008.
However, his fated speed and ability to beat defenders seemed to be missing and it was something he never really regained during his 32 games for the Hammers either at full back or on the wing.
Incredibly, Faubert was taken on loan by Real Madrid back in January, a move that would have led to a �6million transfer had his time there been successful, but once more he was a flop and returned to West Ham, where he played 45 minutes in the pre-season friendly at Grays on Sunday.
It seems that Leverkusen coach Rudi Voller is now ready to relieve him of his West Ham agony and take him to the club that finished ninth in the Bundesliga last season.
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West Ham are likely to receive only around �2million for the player, but they will be relieved to get Faubert off the wage bill.
Hammers defender James Collins has also been linked with a move away from Upton Park, as Sunderland are apparently ready to pay �5million for his services.
Manager Gianfranco Zola would far sooner lose Calum Davenport, who is still being linked with both the Black Cats and Bolton, but a �5million bid for the Welsh international is not one to be turned down lightly, especially for a player who unfortunately seems to spend much of his season on the treatment table.
With Faubert set to leave, Zola welcomed new boy Luis Jimenez to the squad this week, when he arrived in England prior to the trip to Austria.
Zola sees the Chilean midfielder as an essential member of his squad, but just where is he planning to play him?
"He is one of the players who can give us something extra in the last 30 metres of the pitch," confirmed the boss.
"That is the reason why we brought him here. He has got heat in his body so hopefully we will see that this season."
There have been suggestions that Zola will play a 4-3-3 system this season, but it seems that he is still considering his options.
"I'm not sure where we will play Jimenez, it depends," confessed Zola. "He can play behind one striker, but he can also play behind two.
"He is a quality player, so we will see, it depends on what we want to play, whether we want to play with one striker or two."
A lot will depend on the personnel at his disposal by the time the season starts at Wolves on August 15.
Eidur Gudjohnsen and Mancini still top the West Ham shopping list, though they have also been linked with Lille midfielder Ludovic Obraniak.
West Ham will face fierce competition for all three players, but Zola did confirm that Mancini was still very much on the radar.
"Mancini is one of those players who can improve us in the last 30 metres, which is something we know we need to improve on. We will see, it is an option."
It seems that what Zola is looking for, is a younger version of himself, and if he can manage to find one, then it can only be good for the Hammers.