x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

No nail in coffin of the Hammers

The Hammers are 17th in the table and the future of the club's ownership remains uncertain, but their technical director Nani is not worried.

DUBAI // West Ham are confident they will finish mid- table in the Premier League, according to their technical director Gianluca Nani. The Hammers are 17th in the table and the future of the club's ownership remains uncertain, but the Italian is not worried. "Everybody knows what's happened; that our owner had some financial problems, but we are not in such a bad position," said Nani, at the Fourth Dubai International Sports Conference.

"Sure, we are not Chelsea with so much money and we are at the bottom of the league, but we were in the same position last year and finished ninth so we are really confident this year will be the same." The Hammers are missing striker Carlton Cole with a knee injury, while fellow forward Dean Ashton had to retire earlier this season due to an ankle injury. And an ownership saga, that may or may not see former Birmingham City directors David Sullivan and David Gold, or groups from Malaysia and London take control from cash-strapped Icelandic CB Holdings, has added to distractions.

But Nani insisted selling players such as England internationals Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Scott Parker was not in his thoughts. "We don't want to sell, because our situation is not as bad as everybody thinks," he said. "We want to keep our best players. But, you know, football is football, maybe if Manchester City offered £50million (Dh296m) for some player we have to consider that, but no, honestly, we don't want to sell."

But Nani would not be drawn on the situation with Sullivan and Gold. "I'm not involved in the financial side, I am involved in the technical side," he said. "Really, I don't know. The situation could be resolved soon, maybe not. But I trust in the players." @Email:stregoning@thenational.ae