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Liverpool and Man City renew hostilities

50-50 Challenge
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By ESPN Staff

Grant eager to keep Cole

Avram Grant wants to keeps Carlton Cole but is uncertain if he will still be at West Ham when the January transfer window closes.

• Cole available for £10m

Cole was linked with a £12 million move to Liverpool in the summer, while Tottenham and Stoke are also reported to be interested in the England marksman. The financially-stricken Hammers are sure to cash in on their most bankable name and Grant admits the 27-year-old's Upton Park future is in doubt.

"We want him to be here but you never know what will happen in football. We want to keep this squad,'' he said. "I don't like the January transfer window because it's not easy to bring players in and we don't want to lose players. We want to keep the same squad for all the season.''

Cole was publicly critical of Grant's tactics after last month's 3-0 drubbing by Liverpool and the Israeli has dealt with the matter behind closed doors.

"Some players, when they don't perform well and are a little bit disappointed with themselves, say some things,'' said Grant. "But all of this is inside the club. I don't deal with any players through the media. What I have to say to the players, I say to them.

"I like to speak with the players because when you speak with them face to face they tell you what they think and I tell them what I think. But there is only one man who takes the decisions. My relationship with all the players is good. I feel like they are my family.

"Sometimes even if one of your family is not doing so well, you tell them not to do it again. If it happens two or three times, then you need to think about things, but what we have to say to the players, we say it face to face.''

Cole cut an imposing figure as he struck twice in the 4-0 Carling Cup triumph over West Ham on Tuesday night.

"The most important thing is that he scored two goals because he didn't start the season so well,'' said Grant. "The last two weeks he's been working very hard and for a striker, the most important thing is to score goals. He scored two goals and I believe he will score more.''

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