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Jan 26, 2010

Sullivan: Upson could leave Hammers in the summer

New West Ham owner David Sullivan has confirmed that no players will be leaving Upton Park during the current transfer window but he admits Matthew Upson will be sold in the summer if he doesn't sign a new contract.

A number of vultures had been circling the east London club during the transfer window as players such as Carlton Cole, Upson and Jack Collison attracted attention from potential suitors.

But with the takeover deal completed Sullivan insists the only movement of players in the final days of the transfer window will be in, not out. "We will not sell any players," he told the Evening Standard.

Of Upson he said: "He will not be sold now. In the summer he will have 12 months to go on his contract. If he wanted to play Champions League or European football you couldn't stand in his way. So unless Matthew wants to sign a new deal he will have to be sold next summer. Nobody else has to go. The squad is thin and in the summer we will be looking to discover the next Ronaldo."

Sullivan had also laid bare just how much trouble the club were in financially before he and fellow partner David Gold bought the club, and blasted the former owners.

He said: "They virtually bust the club. And the wrecker in chief was Eggert Magnusson, who ran it on behalf of Gudmundsson.

"They had to borrow this money to stay alive," says Sullivan. "There is virtually nothing more to sell. The shirt sponsor paid 75 per cent of his fee not just for this season but for two seasons. The club have been robbing Peter to pay Paul - selling the future."

"The average wage of the staff, and this includes footballers, is higher than Goldman Sachs," Sullivan says. "West Ham have more people on the administrative and support side earning between £100,000 and £300,000 a year. The place has been run as a charity."

Sullivan also described manager Gianfranco Zola as the "nicest man I have ever dealt with."

He added: "The manager is not worried at all. I said to Zola, 'I don't know if you are a good manager. All you've got so far is a year in the job.' You can't judge a manager on 12 months. Only time will tell whether Zola is a fantastic manager or an okay one."

He also confirmed West Ham's ambition to move into the Olympic Stadium once the 2012 games in London have finished.

"If we don't [move into the stadium] we'll struggle to get in the top four. It is obscene in the credit crunch to build a stadium and bring three-quarters of it down. We would offer tickets at £5 a go for some matches. We can bring Premier League football back to the people."

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