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Jan, 11, 2011

Hammers on brink of Bridge deal

West Ham have agreed to make Wayne Bridge their highest-paid player at £90,000-a-week, and are hoping the deal will go through in the next 48 hours in time for Saturday's clash with Arsenal.

• Upson puts talks on hold
• Avram Grant blasts "insiders"
• On The Move: January 11

Bridge is available on loan as he has been unable to secure a regular starting place under Roberto Mancini at Manchester City, and negotiations are ongoing after the left-back chose to reject an approach from Aston Villa.

The former Chelsea defender is keen to return to London and a source told ESPNsoccernet: "The deal is 90% done, but there are some loose ends."

City manager Roberto Mancini confirmed on Tuesday: "Today he [Bridge] is London for a medical. [It is] a loan."

Manchester City have been playing hardball over the loan of their surplus stars, insisting that clubs pick up the entirety of their wages and pay a loan fee, or commit to signing the player on a permanent contract.

West Ham will only consider a permanent deal for Bridge if they avoid relegation as they are keen to avoid paying high wages if they do drop into the Championship.

The club are also bracing themselves for the possible loss of former Lazio star Valon Behrami, who is attracting interest from Serie A side Fiorentina.

"We are hopeful,'' Fiorentina club administrator Sandro Mencucci told Rai 3. "But until he is in Florence and he has signed, we cannot be sure."

Meanwhile, it is understood that West Ham will have a board meeting on Wednesday in which they will make a decision over the position of manager Avram Grant.

West Ham face Birmingham City in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final on Tuesday night and Grant's future will be on the agenda irrespective of the result, with Sam Allardyce emerging as the favourite to take his place.

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