Fears are growing among West Ham fans' that the club are being plunged back into a financial crisis after reports emerged that the Hammers are prepared to sell James Collins to Stoke City.
The Daily Mail
claims that the East London outfit are willing to let the Wales
international - who has been first choice under Gianfranco Zola - join their Premier League rivals in a £5million deal.
Zola is not short on defensive options - with the experienced Matthew Upson and Danny Gabbidon and top prospect James Tomkins on the books - but the sale of the 25-year-old would raise question marks over the financial state of the club.
However, by agreeing to sell the towering stopper, Zola could be trying to fund a second bid for Bordeaux's highly-rated hitman Marouane Chamakh.
The Ligue 1 champions have already rejected a £4.3million bid from the Hammers for the 25-year-old - who has scored three goals in Les Girondins'
opening two games this season.
Meanwhile, Zola insists he wants to keep highly-rated defender Matthew Upson at Upton Park and has dismissed reports that Manchester City
have lodged a bid for the England
international."We've had no offers for Matthew and want to keep him,"
Zola told the Daily Mirror."I think he's enjoying his football and looking forward to this season as it's going to be vital for his career."