Grant promises more new faces
Avram Grant hopes to add more players to his West Ham United squad before the start of the season. The 55-year-old has signed Thomas Hitzlsperger, Frederic Piquionne and Pablo Barrera since being appointed Hammers manager on 3 June.
Co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan are keen to add more depth to the squad after the team only just managed to escape relegation under Gianfranco Zola last term. Moves for defender Tal Ben Haim, who Grant used to manage at Portsmouth, and France international striker Loic Remy have failed to materialise so far, while the club's audacious attempt to sign Joe Cole on a free transfer ended in failure when he opted to sign for Liverpool.
Grant held his first training session with the whole squad at the club's training ground this morning, with Matthew Upson, Robert Green, Jonathan Spector and Valon Behrami all returning from FIFA World Cup™ duty. The Israeli has been pleased with how the team have performed in pre-season but is still determined to add more players to the ranks before their Premier League curtain-raiser against Aston Villa on 14 August.
"The squad is not complete yet, we told the players we want to make the squad as strong as we can," Grant told West Ham's official website. "Even if the club are limited with money, because we are in debt, we know what we are doing and we know we want to do.
"The owners are trying to give their best for the team, so we will buy or loan a few more players. Even if I don't like loans so much - most players here will be players for the long term."
West Ham have reportedly made a £12m bid for highly-rated Remy, who is said to be on the radar of some of Europe's top clubs. Nice chairman Gilbert Stellardo confirmed the London outfit have been in touch with them about a potential transfer, and that the 23-year-old is interested in a move to Upton Park.
"West Ham? Remy is definitely interested," he told Lequipe.fr. "Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal? I have heard about their interest but I have had no contact. The only clubs I have talked to are West Ham and Fenerbahce.
"Fenerbahce have also contacted Rennes about Asamoah Gyan and Lyon about Bafetimbi Gomis. If either of those players leave, it is not impossible that their clubs will turn to Loic as well."
West Ham are unbeaten in pre-season having followed up an away win over Peterborough United with defeats of Borussia Monchengladbach and Panathinaikos while on their pre-season tour of Germany and Austria. Grant has been pleased with his team's efforts so far, but admitted they will have to step up a gear if they are be ready to take on Martin O'Neill's side at Villa Park in just under three weeks' time.
"We set ourselves a few targets in Germany and the players were good and positive," Grant said. "They showed quality and many things for the future. Our aim is to be prepared for a long season. It is about stepping it up. In three weeks we will play Aston Villa so we have done what we needed to do.
"Now we will go to the next stage. We will work on tactics and the style of the team. The physical side was very good. Also we needed to deal with the international players that have only just started to train and they are looking good."