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West Ham boss facing player unrest

last updated Saturday 17th January 2009, 10:31 AM

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola faces player unrest
West Ham manager
Gianfranco Zola
faces player unrest
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola maintains West Ham are bigger than Craig Bellamy and the club will continue to move forward, with or without the Wales international.

The Hammers have turned down several bids from both Manchester City and Tottenham for the 29-year-old, while also offering Bellamy a fresh contract in their attempt to keep the player they signed from Liverpool for £7.5million in July 2007.

Even though the east London club do not want to sell, it seems Bellamy has his mind set on leaving. The player was one of several first-teamers who opted not to attend Friday's voluntary training session at Chadwell Heath ahead of the visit of Fulham, and is understood to want to talk to interested parties.

While it remains to be seen whether White Hart Lane or Eastlands will be the next stop for the much-travelled former Norwich trainee, Zola is trying to remain pragmatic about the whole situation.

"We are sorry a player does not want to stay with us anymore," Zola declared.

"We respect him for what he has done for us, but we want to carry on.

"He knows what he can get here, but if he thinks he can't get what he wants here, then that's up to him."

The Italian continued: "The club is above everybody and it is important to stay committed to it.

"We are doing well and so everyone is happy, but there will times where it is not going so well and then you see the commitment.

"I know my players and myself - and we are stronger than this.

"We have had everything against us this year and there is nothing which will prevent us from doing what we can do."

Zola insisted the Hammers were anything but a one-man show.

"Bellamy gives us a lot on the pitch, but I am prepared to deal without him," he said.

"He is an important player as are many of the others. Scott Parker is playing out of his skin, Matthew Upson, Robert Green, Valon Behrami are all playing fantastically.

"In a team you have players who are not available, and you have got someone else who is available and come in to do a job."

Zola has seen several of his first-team players linked with a move away from Upton Park.

The Hammers boss accepts transfer speculation is all part and parcel of the modern game.

Source Jim van Wijk at PA Sport
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