Hammers have £6m bid for Upson rejected

January 23, 2007

West Ham manager Alan Curbishley has not given up hope of landing Birmingham defender Matthew Upson - but would rather conduct transfers dealings in private.

The Blues - currently second in the Championship - have rejected an improved offer of £6million for the 27-year-old centre-half.

Steve Bruce had already voiced his fears about Upson's possible departure sending 'negative vibes' through the midlands club if he was sold.

Curbishley can understand the frustrations of his counterpart at St Andrews but is unlikely to give up his pursuit of the former Arsenal man just yet.

'It is difficult,' said the West Ham manager, who this week added Australia full-back Lucas Neill to his squad.

'Steve Bruce was not happy with getting an enquiry for one of his players when they are sitting near the top of the league - but I have no idea why it is has been publicised.

'We certainly were not responsible for it. We will just have to wait and see what happens with Matthew Upson. It is not clear yet.'

West Ham are also closing in on a loan deal for Sevilla striker Kepa Blanco, with the transfer announced yesterday by the Spanish club.

Curbishley, though, maintains nothing has yet to be formally agreed for the 23-year-old, who also interested his former club Charlton, Manchester City and Everton.

'No medicals have been done yet but I would be delighted if he joined,' the West Ham manager said. 'He is a different sort of player to what we already have. He is good in the air and aggressive.

'A few clubs were chasing him and I am sure he will do well for us if he comes.'

Curbishley knows his side, currently languishing 18th in the Barclays Premiership, need fresh faces to boost their chances of survival.

Chairman Eggert Magnusson, who led an Icelandic takeover of the club late last year, promised to back his manager with money to spend in the transfer window.

So far the likes of Luis Boa Morte, Nigel Quashie and Calum Davenport as well as Neill have all joined the relegation battle at Upton Park.

'When Eggert took over, people knew that things were going to change, but the business we have done has been solid,' said Curbishley. 'We have either signed experience or people like Calum who know us and are good for the future.

'We have not gone over the top or been outrageous and flash. The combined outlay is under £12million.'

Curbishley's side remain in the bottom three following their draw at Newcastle, where the Hammers had raced into a 2-0 lead.

He said: 'We have been scoring goals, but letting them in as well. Hopefully Lucas coming into the squad will beef us up a bit.

'I want us to settle down and get some wins under our belts, which is what we need.'