Hammers are over the Moon

WEST Ham United have targeted Panathinaikos defender Bryce Moon and veteran goalkeeper Kelvin Davis to bolster their squad ahead of the new season, a sign that glamorous transfers at Upton Park could be a thing of the past, writes NEIL TRAINIS. News that

WEST Ham United have targeted Panathinaikos defender Bryce Moon and veteran goalkeeper Kelvin Davis to bolster their squad ahead of the new season, a sign that glamorous transfers at Upton Park could be a thing of the past, writes NEIL TRAINIS.

News that the east London club have made a formal approach for 23-year-old full-back Moon, having also identified Davis from stricken League One side Southampton, will not reduce speculation that the financial situation at Upton Park remains precariously balanced.

Moon's transfer fee is stated at a modest �2m by Panathinaikos, although West Ham are understood to have offered �1.5m, while 32-year-old Davis, out of contract this summer, appears set to sign on a Bosman free having undergone a medical at the club.

Bargain transfers seem to be West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola's priority, with the club facing two potentially critical deadlines, on August 6 with its creditors and December 11 with the district court in Reykjavik, when the current six-month moratorium - a freeze on payments to creditors - expires.


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Senior officials at Upton Park have maintained that there will be no exodus of players this summer but there is an underlying sense that funds need to be generated, with forward Dean Ashton, out of action with a long-term ankle injury, the subject of rumoured interest from Stoke City.

West Ham's owners, CB Holding, did sanction the season-long loan of Chilean attacking midfielder Luis Jimenez from Italian club Inter Milan, with a view to a permanent transfer next summer if the finances allow for a deal to be reached.

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Moon, with 15 South Africa caps to his name, however, may represent good value for money considering his age and potential, and West Ham's interest in the player stretches back to the January transfer window when a move looked possible but failed to materialise.

Australian defender Lucas Neill may yet decide to stay at Upton Park with a contract extension, but Moon, nicknamed Scooter in his home country because of his pace, would be an invaluable addition.

Davis, an experienced goalkeeper who was capped at under-21 level for England, was pondering interest from League One club Leeds United where regular football is more likely, but has opted to join West Ham, who view him as cover for their number one Robert Green.

Jan Lastuvka, the current number two at Upton Park, has returned to Uefa Cup winners Shakhtar Donetsk having completed his one-year loan and Davis has been lined up as his replacement.

Eidur Gudjohnsen, the Icelandic international forward looking to leave European champions Barcelona this summer, had been linked with a move to Upton Park where he would rejoin former Chelsea team-mate Zola, but Jimenez's arrival means that now looks highly unlikely.

"Returning to England is probably inevitable. There is a lot of interest from the Premier League," Gudjohnsen was recently quoted as saying.

"I had a great time with Chelsea and Gianfranco and I know the game inside out. I know I would adapt easily to the football there.

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