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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
Read
By ESPN Staff

Magnusson wants to keep Hammers English

Icelander Eggert Magnusson has vowed to protect the English core at West Ham when he completes his £85million takeover.

The 59-year-old is set to become chairman after the Barclays Premiership club accepted the offer of his consortium, which also includes provision for absorbing a £22.5million debt.

Magnusson admits he has long been an 'admirer' of what West Ham have achieved and the traditions of the east London side.

'As a young man I admired the club,' he said.

'Great players came from West Ham and formed a big part of the World Cup side in 1966, and the England side which played the friendly in Amsterdam against Holland - the midfield was from West Ham.'

Magnusson told WHUTV: 'You have been doing great things in developing young players - and I very much look forward to strengthening that so we can keep on getting English players at West Ham.'

The 59-year-old is the serving president of the Icelandic Football Association, but will relinquish that position early next year.

Magnusson is considering the way forward over his role within Europe's governing body, UEFA, where he currently sits on the executive committee.

While the takeover will need a few weeks to be completed formally, the Icelander is already looking ahead to a bright future at Upton Park.

'I want every year to be competing for places in the Champions League, which I think is a very important step,' he declared.

'That is my ultimate ambition.

'It will not happen today or tomorrow or the day after. We will take it slowly and build on the foundations that are already here.'

Magnusson has promised to back manager Alan Pardew in the transfer market.

However, the future of Argentina duo Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano - brought to West Ham by Iranian-born Kia Joorabchian who then led his own failed takeover attempt - remains uncertain.