Like the landlord gleefully booting out final-year university students, summer beckons the irascible duo of David Sullivan and David Gold to likewise reconstruct their premises and evict any tenants that have long overstayed their lease.
It’s going to be a hard-sell, as it so often is for a struggling club, and below is just a sample of the myriad of damaged property accumulated over the previous few years that could go for sale.
Robert Green (<£8m)
+England goalkeeper -Hands appear to be inexorably lined with butter
Robert Green is England’s number one goalkeeper. And it’s probably fair to say that it’s a position he’s gained more by default than his own personal performances. On current inspection, though, even that assumption appears suspicious.
Green, amazingly now 30 – an age that profoundly belies his constant infantile expression of bewilderment – has conceded 66 goals this season. In comparison, David James and Joe Hart have conceded 46 and 42 respectively. Statistically, Birmingham’s former employee has also saved a higher proportion of shots and has conceded goals at a slower rate than either James or Green. Fabio Capello, it seems, favours Green’s experience, whether those experiences are good or bad.
Matthew Upson (~£7m)
+Likely to be in the World Cup Squad – Can be injury prone
It’s doubtful whether there’s really a market for Upson. He’s an able centre-back, sure, but time isn’t on his side.
A few good performances in an England shirt could prick up potential buyer’s ears it but it’s highly unlikely he’ll feature at all in South Africa even with the china pot that is Rio Ferdinand taking the primary spot alongside John Terry.
In the end, though, there’s a high probability Upson will remain at Upton Park. He a settling presence and he’s a decent, solid defender. Just what West Ham are going to require in the coming months.
Mark Noble (<£10m)
+Longest serving player at only 23 – Has scored 2 goals all season
When Mark Noble plays a central role he can display some technical competence and has occasionally given West Ham a competitive edge in midfield, especially the season before last. This season, Zola was forced at times to play him in wide positions and his performances suffered as a result. In spite of that, he is only 23 and the money received for his departure could be enough to bring in a more accomplished midfielder.
Kieron Dyer (<£4m/Free Transfer)
+Who? – Is he still playing?
Yes, Kieron Dyer. He’s played 11 games this season don’t you know? Admittedly, most of them are as a substitute, but he has, nevertheless, doubled his appearance count for the Hammers. Terrific. To be honest, the less said about Kieron Dyer, the better. In fact, the mere mention of his name acts as an anathema to boisterous West Ham fans and young Cypriot women.
Hopefully, he’ll do the noble thing and mercifully hang up his boots this summer. Amazingly, he still earns a fantastical wage packet of around £83,000-a-week; with sums like that rolling his way, don’t bank on him quitting just yet.
Carlton Cole (<£14m)
+Strong, athletic striker – Injury prone, subpar strike-rate
It has taken time for everything to click into place for Carlton Cole. He looked lost at Chelsea and never excelled at any club gullible enough to loan him in. He has improved in recent years and managed to get himself into the England squad in Ferbuary 2009 for a friendly against Spain. The 26-year-old has also had two subsequent call-ups; however, he has missed out on a trip to South Africa.
Despite his improved performances under Gianfranco Zola, his goal-scoring record remains abysmal. A move away looks likely, but the sticking point will be the £14 million price tag, for a striker who has scored only 26 times in 105 appearances in the claret and blue.
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