Final push for Mancini
WEST HAM technical director Gianluca Nani will fly to Italy this week as the club look to finally secure the signature of Brazilian star Mancini, writes DAVE EVANS. The 28-year-old Inter Milan player, was still top of Gianfranco Zola s shopping list as pr
WEST HAM technical director Gianluca Nani will fly to Italy this week as the club look to finally secure the signature of Brazilian star Mancini, writes DAVE EVANS.
The 28-year-old Inter Milan player, was still top of Gianfranco Zola's shopping list as pre-season training began this week, and the Italian is hoping that Nani will finally persuade the talented winger to sign on the dotted line.
The Hammers have plenty of other irons in the fire. A striker is an essential for the boss, with Eidur Gudjohnsen a consideration if he was willing to drop his wage demands.
But it seems that Mancini fits the style of play that Zola is looking to adopt during the coming season.
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Luis Jimenez has already signed on a season-long loan from Inter, and West Ham are hoping that has a bearing on the Brazilian's decision, but he is also being courted by a number of top clubs.
Former team Roma are said to be in the frame, as are Juventus, Fiorentina and French outfit Lyon, and with all of them playing in Europe during the coming season, it would seem that West Ham may well be down the pecking order.
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However, Mancini knows Zola, and his blossoming reputation as coach of a team who are looking to play exciting, attacking football. The Hammers hope that will be enough to swing the balance in their direction.
Goalkeeper Kelvin Davis is set to sign for the club from Southampton after he trained with the Hammers this week, while the departures from Upton Park are expected sooner rather than later.
Calum Davenport is still interesting both Sunderland and Bolton and is almost certain to have left Upton Park before the start of the new season in August.
While French flop Julien Faubert, who has returned to West Ham after his disastrous loan spell at Real Madrid, is set to sign for a German club in the near future.
Out of contract Lee Bowyer has joined Premier League newboys Birmingham City, while Nigel Quashie is also being lined up for a move to the Championship, as West Ham look to clear the decks and reduce their playing staff.
Following Sunday's friendly clash with Grays Athletic, where Jimenez has an outside chance of playing a part, West Ham travel to Austria on Monday to continue their build-up.
The big game over there will be the clash with German outfit Werder Bremen on Saturday, July 18, though the Hammers will also take on local sides in practice games.