Who will stay and who will go?
THERE looked to be nothing on when Czech international Radoslav Kovac received the ball in midfield at Goodison Park on Saturday,writes DAVE EVANS. Most expected the sort of miscontrol that has been sadly evident during his loan spell from Spartak Moscow,
THERE looked to be nothing on when Czech international Radoslav Kovac received the ball in midfield at Goodison Park on Saturday,writes DAVE EVANS.
Most expected the sort of miscontrol that has been sadly evident during his loan spell from Spartak Moscow, but certainly nobody expected the stunning 30-yard drive that swerved in the air and beat Tim Howard to put the Hammers in front.
The 29-year-old arrived at Upton Park in January with an excellent reputation. He had won 24 caps for a quality national team and was a regular in the Spartak side.
But in nine games for the Hammers he has failed to impress.
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Until Saturday's blockbuster, he had hardly had a shot in his time in east London, while for the most part he had been a poor substitute for Scott Parker.
Technical Director Gianluca Nani and boss Gianfranco Zola obviously saw something in him however, which begs the question as to whether they will try and sign him in a permanent deal this summer.
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The answer is likely to be no, although a lot may depend on who else finds themselves leaving Upton Park in the close season.
It seems inevitable that the players Zola sent out on loan in January will be on their way.
Calum Davenport and Kyel Reid have already expressed their desire to leave with Sunderland and Wolves the likely destination, while Jimmy Walker is also expected to depart.
Nigel Quashie will go, if anybody will take him. The 30-year-old, who cost West Ham �1.5million in January 2007, has been on loan at Wolves, but played just three games - mind you, he only managed eight games for the Hammers.
Zola would dearly like to offload Frenchman Julien Faubert, who has been idling on the bench at Real Madrid since January.
The Spanish are unlikely to want him though, so a move back to France may be the best option, with West Ham taking a huge loss on the �6.1million they paid for him.
Diego Tristan is also unlikely to earn a new deal, despite Zola's words of encouragement, while David Di Michele will only stay if the manager cannot find an adequate replacement - which should not be that difficult.
Luis Boa Morte may be another who has come to the end of his time at Upton Park.
The 31-year-old has been in fine form in recent weeks, but his tally of one goal in 79 appearances, as well as the emergence of young talent in the Hammers squad, may mean he is surplus to requirements.
Walter Lopez is not expected to earn a new contract, and that just leaves the question of the star men.
Skipper Lucas Neill's contract is up in the summer and he has been linked with a move to Greek side Olympiakos.
The Aussie is after a one-year deal at Upton Park, taking him up until the World Cup, but he is likely to have to take a pay cut to get it.
Matty Upson and Rob Green may be keen to leave to experience European football, but West Ham will do everything they can to hold on to two of their prized assets.
It seems Zola has a lot of work to do over the summer, but he insists he is not afraid to do it.
"The club pays me to have those problems and to make decisions that will look after the interests of the club and help take it forward," said the little Italian.
"It's not going to be a problem for me. I am motivated by the fact that I have to make the team and the club better and I'll bear that in mind when I make those decisions."
His first job must be to persuade Upson and Green that their future lies at Upton Park, and when he has managed that, an experienced striker must be his top priority.