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May 15, 2011

Hammers hope to keep Hitzlsperger

West Ham are trying to persuade their star German midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger to stay at Upton Park, and not join the mass exodus if the club are relegated.

There will be wholesale changes at the East London club and Hitzlsperger, along with Scott Parker, will be on the wanted list of many Premier League clubs.

While the club have publicly declared they cannot keep their England internationals such as Parker, Robert Green and Carlton Cole, they are anxious for Hitzlsperger to lead the promotion charge.

A West Ham insider told ESPNsoccernet: "There are many variables about players' futures.

"The club will be trying to persuade Thomas Hitzlsperger to stay and lead the fight back."

Hitzlsperger spent most of the season out through injury and it is thought internally that his unfortunate long term absence, which happened on international duty with Germany, caused much of the Hammers' early season problems.

Parker will be valued at £10 million by West Ham, but the chances are that Spurs will offer around the £7 million they had rejected in January. Manchester City and Arsenal are also watching the situation.

Two Premier League clubs want the £5 million-rated Mark Noble, while England goalkeeper Green will review his future in the summer. Striker Demba Ba is another player West Ham would like to keep but fear he will move on.

Matthew Upson, Danny Gabbidon, Jonathan Spector, Kieron Dyer, Zavon Hines, Lars Jacobsen, Anthony Edgar and Victor Obinna, who is currently on loan from Inter Milan, are all out of contract. If any opt to stay, they will face pay cuts. Wayne Bridge returns to Manchester City and Robbie Keane will go back to Spurs with the striker's permanent move wholly dependant on the club staying up.

Manager Avram Grant is also earmarked for a summer departure and the club will shortly review the list of options.

The Hammers insider added: "It's really over, 50/1 to stay up now. The only chance is Birmingham lose and we win, then at least we go into next week."

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