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Ferdinand deal in the balance

Filed: Tuesday, 17th June 2003
By: Graeme Howlett

Hammers boss Glenn Roeder has revealed that Les Ferdinand is still yet to renew his contract with the club - although he remains confident of persuading the big striker to stay for another year.

KUMB reported at the start of June how Ferdinand - then on holiday with his family - scotched reports that he was ready to sign for a Premiership club instead of continuing to ply his trade at West Ham, whom he joined in last season's transfer window.

And with negotiations over a new deal set to begin forthwith, Glenn Roeder has hailed the front man as a massive influence on the younger players at the club.

"I very much want Les Ferdinand on board next year and if we can secure his services I think he will do very well for us.

"He has been terrific," enthused Roeder, speaking on the club's website earlier today. "He is such a super human being with a positive attitude to life and that rubs off on people at Chadwell Heath in training during the week.

"When Les joined us he gave everyone a lift. He has a 'let's enjoy our training today' attitude and I think it rubbed off on a lot of people."

One of those who has been particularly impressed by the former England and QPR striker is Ferdinand's strike partner Jermain Defoe, whose own future at the club remains very much in the balance following his transfer request the day after the Hammers were relegated.

Roeder sees the retention of Ferdinand as pivotal to keeping Defoe happy - and at West Ham:

"When I was first at QPR they had a team full of ex-internationals," he said. "They were very talented footballers and I think I learnt more at QPR in the first six months, not by what the coach or manager told me, but by training every day with these players.

"I think Les has had the same effect with Jermain - and that is why we so want Les to sign.

"He will not only do well for himself and us - he will do well for Jermain Defoe."

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