No deal for Neill
WEST HAM skipper Lucas Neill still looks set to leave Upton Park this summer, despite assurances from manager Gianfranco Zola that he is a vital part of his plans. The 31-year-old Aussie is out of contract at West Ham, but despite being offered a new one-
WEST HAM skipper Lucas Neill still looks set to leave Upton Park this summer, despite assurances from manager Gianfranco Zola that he is a vital part of his plans.
The 31-year-old Aussie is out of contract at West Ham, but despite being offered a new one-year deal, it seems that he is not happy with the terms being offered by the club.
His agent, Paddy Dominguez, asserted that the full back wants to stay at the club in the build-up to next summer's World Cup in South Africa, for which Australia have already qualified.
"Zola has been speaking with Lucas and from his point of view, he not only wants him at the club next season, but to remain as captain," said Dominguez.
"It has always been the preference of Lucas that he wants to remain at West Ham, but it is up to the club administration to execute that.
"The ownership has changed a number of times since Lucas has been at the club, now it's different because the owners are bankers.
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"We are giving them every opportunity to reach agreement, but there are other Premier League and continental clubs in the mix."
The big stumbling block for West Ham is that Neill seems unprepared to accept a pay cut. He signed for the Hammers during the heady days of big wages under Eggert Magnusson and the club have been trying to recover from those profligate times ever since.
Turkish outfit Galatasaray have been linked with Neill. They already have fellow Aussie Harry Kewell in their squad, and will value the experience of the defender, who has played 31 games for his country.
With Zola so keen to have his captain back on board, there may be some leeway in the negotiations, but it seems that the Hammers board are adamant that they will not give in to the player's full demands and that is likely to mean his departure.
Besides, Neill is only after a one-year deal which would mean that the club will face the same rigmarole again at the end of next season.
They are likely to want a suitable replacement sooner rather than later - Julien Faubert is expected to play at right back in Sunday's friendly at Grays Athletic!