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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Hammers keeping mum on Ferdinand transfer

West Ham have refused to comment on reports that defender Anton Ferdinand is set to complete a £6million switch to Sunderland in the next 48 hours despite firm indications the fee has been agreed between the two clubs.

The former England Under-21 international is set to be unveiled as one of three major signings at the Stadium of Light according to reports, although neither club will comment.

The move is now thought to hinge upon the younger brother of Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand settling personal terms to join Roy Keane's Black Cats.

The successful comeback by James Collins in a behind-closed-doors friendly against QPR following knee ligament damage which saw him miss virtually all last season, means Hammers boss Alan Curbishley is well-stocked with central defenders - especially when Jonathan Spector, James Tomkins and Danny Gabbidon return from injuries.

Curbishley has not ruled out a late plunge into the transfer market before the August window closes though - despite the board wanting to make further cuts to an inflated wage bill after terminating Swedish midfielder Freddie Ljungberg's expensive contract.

And a hefty fee for Ferdinand would give the manager more financial muscle.

Curbishley said: 'We're hoping to have one or two more players back from injury this weekend so we will wait and see.

'But like most people we are trying to sign new ones, too.'

Midfielder Nigel Quashie, who has also been a long-term absentee with a foot injury, joined Collins in what was largely a reserve-team friendly against QPR yesterday and both successfully came through a planned 45 minutes.

Midfielder Scott Parker, however, could be a doubt for Sunday's Premier League visit to Manchester City after being withdrawn early from Saturday's 2-1 win over Wigan.

Curbishley added: 'He felt his thigh tighten and so we got him off because, with our injury record, we just can't afford to take any risks.'

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