WEST HAM face the prospect of losing up to £40m worth of talent over the summer as the club looks to offset the cost of relegation from the Premier League.
England midfielder Scott Parker, the newly crowned Football Writers’ Player of the Year, looks certain to be one of the first high-profile names out of the door, with fellow internationals Carlton Cole and Robert Green not far behind him.
Striker Demba Ba, who has scored seven times since his January move, and Germany international midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger are other players likely to command a significant fee and attention from top flight clubs
The cost of dropping into the second tier of English football for the first time since 2005 is likely to cost the club up to £50m, according to leading football finance experts.
The club’s owners, David Gold and David Sullivan, admitted last week that in the event of relegation they would have to raid their personal fortunes for between £20-£40m to keep the club afloat but the sale of key personnel appears the most effective way of compensating for the loss of revenue that accompanies losing Premier League status.
West Ham will benefit from parachute payments totalling £48m over the next four seasons with the first two payments being £16m and the final two £8m, but a sharp decrease in gate receipts and television revenue will force the board’s hand in terms of player departures.
A fire sale would present an incoming manager with the prospect of building a team around a clutch of academy graduates with loan signings the easiest way of brining new blood into the club.