West Ham co-chairman David Gold has described reports that Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City are all interested in Winston Reid as “news to me”
The central defender has a year left on his current contract and a three or twoway auction could see his price rocket but the Hammers chief made it clear there was no truth in the reports “thus far”. Reid may, of course, become one of the most sought after players of the summer but for now there’s absolutely nothing doing.
The New Zealand skipper was believed to be a £6 million Gunners target in the winter but the club would want double that and a lot more if two or three clubs came in. Mr Gold said: “We’ve read the stories like everybody else and I guess there may be interest but we have received no inquiries at all.
“We are ready to talk to Winston in the summer and we’ll do all we can to satisfy his requirements.” Mr Gold has also spoken about how he and David Sullivan pump around £5 million a year into the Academy but like most other clubs, it gets tougher and tougher to produce quality kids
Neither begrudge a penny of it as there’s always a possibility of striking gold but the co-chairman doesn’t expect his manager to launch 18 or 19 year olds into Premier League action unless and until they are 100 per cent ready. He said: “At this level you have to be certain. You may get away with blooding kids in League One and Two but it’s just not a realistic proposition to do so at this level until you are totally certain.
“It’s impossible to put a precise figure on it but with travel, accommodation, contracts and other elements it probably comes out at around £5 million – difficult one to calculate. “People complain that youngsters aren’t coming through the academies up and down the Premier League but look at it this way, you have 22 players out there every week which gives you about 220 players half of which will probably be foreign along with the established British stars.
“So that’s a very tough market to break into for a young player to break into but you have to do it – it remains an essential and it’s also a community issue. “We have Mark Noble and James Tomkins in the side which demonstrates the benefits of a decent youth policy but in football 2014, it’s much tougher. “However, you know when you get a good one you really do have a good one given the level of competition. We will continue to support the academy in every way. It remains an essential element of every football club and we are proud of our work in that area.”
David Gold also believes we must probably get used to the idea that Mark Noble’s World Cup hopes maybe gone. He said although you can’t rule out Noble’s chances of making the squad, it looks very much as though Roy Hodgson has now decided on his midfield options. And Mr Gold is deeply disappointed for Noble, he continued: “He has been quite outstanding all season.
“I think he’s been unlucky in that he’s only managed a couple of goals. Were there three or four more beside his name it might have been a different story. But his general play in the middle of the park could hardly be faulted. “He’s been brilliant and, of course, we were all bitterly upset he wasn’t involved in the England manager’s squad for the Denmark friendly.
“I’m starting to feel that he might have missed out but it’s not over until it’s over and everybody’s fingers are still crossed.”