Friday, May 6, 2011

Spector unsure of Hammers future

Jonathan Spector has told NSC he is considering his options and cannot be sure he will still be at West Ham next season.

After five years in the claret and blue, the US international's current deal expires in June and so far there is no extension on the table.

"I don't know to be perfectly honest," Spector told NSC of his future at Upton Park.

"I have enjoyed my time at the club but I have no idea what will be happening yet. I have not received any offer. A lot of players are out of contract and the club is putting all that on hold for the time being. If they offer me something I will certainly look at it seriously."

Spector could find himself the victim of a post-relegation clear-out if the Hammers, bottom of the Premier League with three games remaining, slip down to the Championship and take a financial hit, judged by joint-owner David Sullivan to be in the region of £40m ($66m).

Fellow owner David Gold has already stated he expects West Ham's stars to leave in the event of demotion - "It's unrealistic to ask England internationals to play in the Championship," he told the BBC, the latest of a number of comments which have left out-of contract players Luis Boa Morte, Kieron Dyer and Matthew Upson as well as Spector unsure if they will be re-hired or leave on free transfers in the summer.

"We will wait and see," Spector commented. "It's an exciting time so how that all turns out remains to be seen, but I think everyone at the club is confident we will avoid relegation."

Spector admitted however, that dropping a division could also affect his own desire to stay at the club, for whom he has made 19 appearances and scored four goals this season.

"From my point of view it would and from theirs I am sure it would too," he confirmed.

With his versatility and international caps, Spector may be tempted to try his luck outside of England, with the Bundesliga an obvious option given his fluency in German and his agent Steve Kelly's connections with German teams via Conor Casey and Neven Subotic. Yet the Illinoisan admits he took little notice of the speculation linking him with overseas moves earlier this season.

"I do know there were some clubs in Germany that were keeping their eye on me," he commented. "Whether Cologne were interested or not I am not entirely certain. Obviously when there are transfer fees involved it is probably a bit of a longer process. I think in this situation (a free transfer) it will be more about agreeing terms with a club and I am certainly hoping there are a few different options leading into next season."

One country Spector is ruling out for 2011-'12 however is the USA.

"The MLS is something I look at but not at this point in time," he said. "I would prefer to stay in Europe right now. The league over there is getting bigger and better each and every year which is fantastic to see, but I am loving being in Europe and playing over here so I would like to do that for the near future. For how long I don't know but I am definitely happy playing over here."

With midfielders Mark Noble and Gary O'Neil sidelined for the rest of the season and Scott Parker still doubtful with an Achilles strain, Spector should resume his central shift at home to Blackburn on Saturday, in what is surely a must-win game for West Ham.

The Hammers conclude their campaign away to Wigan and then at home to Sunderland, hoping that their relegation rivals will have slipped up in the meantime.


-Sean O'Conor

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