West Ham are in big trouble, they are currently hovering above the relegation zone by virtue of their goal-difference. Their performance on Monday was dire, without Carlton Cole there was no threat in the final third and once Scott Parker was taken off, a midfield that was already lacking Mark Noble was completely overrun Their financial troubles are well known and it is unlikely that they will have the funds to sign anyone considering a takeover bid is expected soon; it has been suggested that perhaps Carlton Cole should be sold in January to allow Zola to bring in more players.
Cole is West Ham’s most valuable asset; he is an England international and the most improved player in the Premier League over the last 18 months. They have other saleable assets; Parker could bring in around £8million as could Matthew Upson; but Cole is the crown jewel; in the current climate West Ham could demand up to £20million for the England man. But is it worth selling him to finance other signings?
When Cole plays, West Ham are a completely different team; he holds the ball up as well as anybody and provides a genuine goal threat. He has developed under the tutelage of Zola and is now a real talisman for his side. In my opinion it would be a mistake to get rid of him; losing him would have a massive psychological blow on the side and West Ham could not replace him with a player of similar quality in their position. In addition to that, senior members of the England squad have already advised Cole that a January move would harm his chances of making the World Cup squad so he would be unwilling to move.
Keeping Cole is a must for the Hammers; if they do need to sell, then Matthew Upson and Robert Green are probably more viable options. Scott Parker has been playing very well recently and it would be a mistake to sell him, but Green has been poor recently and it may be better to move him on now. Upson is 31 and his value is rapidly depreciating; the West Ham defence is already pretty poor and losing Upson is unlikely to damage it further. They could bring in decent cover at centre back with the money they would receive for him and still have money left over.
January is a key month in West Ham’s season, by the end of it we will have a clearer indication of where their fate lies. But if Carlton Cole is not at Upton Park in February, then the Hammers are likely to be relegated.