Sell Upson at your peril

  • by Staff Writer
  • Thursday, 24th December 2009

Gianfranco Zola is in danger of falling foul of his employers after questioning the potential sale of Matthew Upson.

The 30-year-old centre half, who is currently lined up to be one of three West Ham players to feature for England at next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa has refused to sign an extension to his current contract which expires in 18 months' time.

The club's owners CB Holdings have apparently insisted that further player sales are made during next month's transfer window despite having previously claimed that the club is now self-sustaining. Favourite for the chop, almost by default, is club captain Upson.

Zola however understandably fails to agree with that assessment - and admits that should Upson, his only remaning top-class defender, become the latest victim of CB Holdings' year-long fire-sale that his team will have even less chance of avoiding the drop come May.

You know, we want to keep the best players," he told reporters assembled for the Portsmouth pre-match press conference. "I don't know what's going to happen next month.

"The only thing I know for sure is that before then we have three games coming up that are very, very important and I want to focus on them. That's the main thing, the rest is out of my control.

"The first step is to get through this game on Saturday, which is vital, and let's do it all together and then we'll see what happens."

Upson, who has been linked with Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool amongst others in recent weeks - has made it clear that he sees his future away from the Boleyn. However West Ham - or rather owners CB Holdings - could just as easily wait until the summer to sell, should Upson remain unmoved

Of course, any eventual transfer fee is likely to be far less in the summer which has presumably led to the notion that Upson is expendable - but relegation from the Premier League, a much more likely scenario without the club captain, would cost the club much, much more.

A fire sale by any other name: who's been flogged in 2009

Matthew Etherington: The first to go this year. Stoke coughed up around ?3m to take him to the Brittania where he has impressed in an improving Stoke team.

Craig Bellamy: Sold to Man City for around ?12m amidst rumours of him being a trouble maker. Rumours which were later refuted.

Hayden Mullins: Flogged to Portsmouth last January. Replaced by Radoslav Kovac who has been half the player Mullins was.

David Di Michele: Made 34 appearances for Zola last season but still moved on in the summer. Striker-less West Ham now set to recall Freddie Sears from Crystal Palace.

Lucas Neill: Offered a far inferior deal to that he was on and told the club to poke it. Now playing for Everton.

Lee Bowyer: released on a free transfer in June. Scored the winning goal against his old club in the recent defeat at Birmingham.

Savio Nsereko: Nani's very own Nigel Quashie. Nobody will ever know how much West Ham lost on this extremely questionable deal.

James Collins: Flogged to Aston Villa on summer transfer deadline day for ?5m.

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