According to Sky Sports News, West Ham have turned down offers from both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur for Welsh International striker Craig Bellamy. Reports put the offer from the Blues at £9.5 million, while the Spurs' offer was rumored to be in the £12 million range.
Bellamy has made it no secret that he would like to leave East London, but the club denied his transfer request. West Ham has made efforts to keep Bellamy at Upton Park, the latest of which is the reported offering of a new deal to stay at the club long term. No indications yet as to Bellamy's response.
In the period leading up to the transfer window as well as during it, West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola has made it clear that he would like to keep all of his best players on the club. So far, the Hammers have complied, rejecting offers for the likes of Bellamy, Scott Parker, Matthew Upson, and captain Lucas Neill.
But how long until West Ham finally gives into the pressure? When will an offer come in that is just too good to refuse for troubled Icelandic owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson?
Personally, I think Bellamy is currently in top form, scoring four goals in his last four Premiership matches, and it would do good for the club to hang onto him for at least the remainder of the year.
The distance between the Hammers' current position of 10th in the table and relegation bound 18th is simply six points, so every one of the remaining 17 matches is important. Keeping Bellamy would significantly increase the Hammers' probability of staying up.
I realize that if the Hammers did eventually sell Bellamy, they would have a significant amount of cash, presumably £15 million, to spend on other players, but the transfer window is closing fast. I like the moves to sell/loan "fringe" players such as Lee Bowyer, Matthew Etherington, and hopefully Luis Boa Morte, and would prefer that the Hammers continue down that road rather than selling their stars.
The transfer window does not close until February 2nd, so there is plenty of time left for speculation. Let's hope that is all this amounts to.