The Sweeper: Allardyce wants to attract veteran superstars to West Ham

The former Bolton manager wants David Gold and David Sullivan to bring big-money names to Upton Park, while Michel Platini panics over FFP and Kevin Davies’s donkeys are at risk

Allardyce wants West Ham to replicate Bolton

Sam Allardyce confirmed on Thursday that he is close to agreeing a new West Ham contract that will end speculation about his future at the club.
All parties are believed to be confident that the deal will be signed before the end of the season but one of the sticking points of negotiations between the manager’s camp and club owners David Sullivan and David Gold has been the playing budget.

The Sweeper understands that Allardyce wants the Hammers to replicate the model of his eight-year Bolton reign of paying high wages to entice big-name stars.

The West Ham boss knows that the club cannot match the transfer budgets and salary offers of the elite to sign top talent in their prime – with the Andy Carroll loan deal proving a notable exception – but believes that they can take advantage in the seasoned players’ market.

Allardyce wants the Hammers to sanction deals like the £55,000-a-week package that Bolton paid to Nicolas Anelka during his highly productive 18 months at the club from 2006 to 2008.

The former Newcastle and Blackburn boss also successfully managed the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Fernando Hierro, Ivan Campo and Youri Djorkaeff at the Reebok Stadium when they were in the twilight of their careers.

– Wayne Veysey

Sunderland prepare for Sessegnon saga

Martin O’Neill is bracing himself for yet another saga over Stephane Sessegnon.

The 28-year-old Benin playmaker still has itchy feet, despite the Sunderland boss sanctioning a new deal last year.

Sessegnon was rumoured to be a target for Arsenal last summer but the Sweeper understands that Everton and West Ham are the clubs currently monitoring events.

– Paul Clennam

Uefa in a sweat over FFP validity

Michel Platini and his Uefa officials are in a nervous sweat over their Financial Fair Play plans.

Prominent European employment lawyer Jean Louis-Depont took out a hard-hitting editorial in the respected Wall Street Journal earlier this week, insisting that the proposals are far from legal and will collapse at the first challenge in the European Courts of Justice.

Louis-Depont, who works out of Spain, is not popular among Uefa ranks after he spearheaded the legal team that led to the Bosman ruling.

– Paul Clennam

Hammond fighting for Reading future

As the longest-serving director of football at a Premier League club, Nicky Hammond commands unique status in English football.

The Reading director is due to mark 10 years in the post in September but The Sweeper understands that there is growing doubt about whether he will achieve the milestone.

Reading’s Russian owner, Anton Zingarevich, ruthlessly pulled the plug on Brian McDermott’s managerial tenure earlier in March and it is understood that Hammond could be the next high-profile senior figure to feel the heat.

tection of Sir John Madejski, who remains the club chairman and a strong voice in the boardroom.

But Sir John’s influence at the club that he bought in 1990 is steadily diminishing. The former owner is believed to have been one of those who thought that McDermott should stay on as manager.

– Wayne Veysey

Donkeys at risk after Davies is shown Bolton exit door

It was not just Bolton striker Kevin Davies who has been left weighing up his options – his donkeys face an uncertain future too.

The Reebok skipper was told on Tuesday – his 36th birthday – that the Trotters would not be offering him a new deal, bringing his nine-year association with the club to an end.

Davies, who lives high up on the Lancashire Moors, started a small donkey sanctuary in the field next to his farmhouse for his young family.

The player has already attracted interest from Leeds, which would allow him to at least remain in the area, but Davies is ready to sell up to continue his playing days and the donkeys could now be in for a free transfer.

– Paul Clennam