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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 19, 2007

Curbishley backing wantaway Mascherano

West Ham manager Alan Curbishley insists Javier Mascherano will remain part of his plans at Upton Park if FIFA rule he cannot complete a proposed move to Liverpool.

The Argentina international has started just three Barclays Premiership games since completing a shock move to West Ham from Brazilian club Corinthians in the summer.

FIFA regulations state a player cannot represent more than two clubs in the 12 months between July 1 and June 30.

Liverpool are appealing for special dispensation on the grounds that Mascherano has only played six minutes of Premiership football since October 22.

Curbishley does not fancy Liverpool's chances and is clearly frustrated to have inherited the 'Mascherano issue' from the previous West Ham regime.

But he stressed the World Cup star had not been 'dismissed' from his plans.

'There is a ruling that is quite clear that it can't really happen,' he said.

'It is out of our hands at the moment.

'I have inherited a very difficult situation. It happened before I got here and Eggert (Magnusson, the new chairman) got here.

'We have allowed this situation to arise because he has not been playing.

'I have looked at my team selections and he hasn't featured in it. I felt that if there was an opportunity for him in this window we would allow him to go.

'If it doesn't happen he is a West Ham player. I have not dismissed him at all.'

Curbishley insists Mascherano is the only player likely to leave Upton Park during this transfer window as he looks to strengthen the squad.

It has not been easy though. Birmingham rejected a £4million offer for their England defender Matthew Upson while Watford's versatile forward Ashley Young rejected a move to Upton Park.

The Hammers are believed to still be in the hunt for Blackburn defender Lucas Neill, who has also received overtures from Liverpool.

And centre-back Calum Davenport signed yesterday from Tottenham, following Luis Boa Morte and Nigel Quashie into the club.

Curbishley has already spent nearly £10million this month and said: 'It has been a real hectic time. Every day has been full on.

'The chairman is backing everything we are trying to do. The people in charge have the right intentions and there is no thought about going down.

'It is all geared to being in the Premiership next year. I am under no pressure to let people go. It is all about strengthening.

'This is the most money I have ever spent in one season. It is the situation we find ourselves in.'

Davenport is likely to make his second West Ham debut against Newcastle tomorrow - he was on loan at the club for two months in 2004 - while Anton Ferdinand could feature after returning to training.

But Carlos Tevez is out with a calf injury and Bobby Zamora is suspended after being sent off against Fulham last weekend.