The story that has been reappearing since more or less the day after the appointment of Zola has now reared its ugly head again.
I'm talking about "West Ham need to sell during the January transfer window" and clones thereof.
It didn’t take that many days on the job until Zola realized that there would be no transfer funds to his disposal. He acted as most new managers do and said what the owner wanted him to – “The squad is too big and it would be better if it could be trimmed”. Making a case for quality over quantity. That’s when it took off, “Zola will have to sell” was the headlines two months ago, and we can observe that it unfortunately still is.
We can also establish that there is nothing new in this latest version of the story, it’s still “West Ham needs money so they will off load players” + speculations on who will leave.
Zola has repeatedly stated that he is not obligated to sell any players that he want to keep. He has said this so many times that he has invested a fair amount of his credibility in this statement. So much in fact that I think he believes it to be true. And I choose to believe he is right, mainly because it makes no sense to sell players that are needed to keep us up.
The latest repackaging of this story uses Ashton as eye-catcher. The Mirror seems to be in the center of the rings on the water this time around. Their take is that Ashton will leave together with Quashie, Bowyer, LBM, Davenport, Gabbidon and Spector.
Apart from the fact that there is nothing new in this story, I dare them to come up with buyers for these players at the moment. If there are any buyers out there the headline would in my view be “West Ham happy to cash in on the surplus”. Take Gabbidon for an example, who would like to buy a player that has been out for that long and with no return date set ?Now, Dean Ashton may not be surplus to requirements, especially with the present striker situation, but to find a buyer for him today, that is willing to offer him anything close to his present pay and also gamble on his abilities and fitness, seems like an impossible task.
Should we worry that these players will leave in January? – with the possible exception of one or at best two of these, unfortunately not.