Glenn's Paolo Response

Glenn Roeder insists that he wants Paolo Di Canio to stay at Upton Park - and will be telling him that in a private meeting this week.

Paolo has expressed his concerns about whether the Hammers want to keep him, given that there have been rumours of interest from, amongst others, Manchester United, and the Hammers boss is keen to set the record straight.

He will reassure Paolo that he is part of his plans for the new campaign - and that he will have even better players performing alongside him when it kicks off.

Glenn also says that he entirely agrees with Paolo's assertion that West Ham need four players to strengthen the squad.

Glenn has not yet been able to talk to every player individually, such are the demands of pre-season training and a constant stream of calls he is making in a bid to improve the squad.

But he will assure Paolo when he does speak to him that no bids have been received for his services - and none are welcome.

He also says that he sees Paolo and Fredi Kanoute as being his ideal strike pairing in the new season.

Says the Hammers boss: "It's been difficult to talk to some players on an individual basis because I've had a couple of trips to France looking at players and just generally everyone wants a slice of you at the moment.

"A couple of players came to see me after training today and several of them have been patient and waited a week.

"They were all very positive meetings, without going into actual details of who they were with.

"All the players want to stay at West Ham and I'm obviously very pleased to hear that, because we are very short of numbers, it has to be said.

"I'm very aware of that, and, while we got David James in 10 or 12 days ago, we haven't brought anyone else in.

"But it hasn't been for the want of trying and I can only reiterate that I will only bring a player in who will make the team better.

"We could and hopefully will have anything up to three new players in the next seven to 10 days.

"Although you can never be too confident, we are hoping to conclude two or three deals in the next week.

"As for Paolo's comments, I haven't actually seen the article, I've only been told about it, but obviously Paolo is saying he wants the club to say how much we want him.

"Anyone, including Manchester United would want a very fit Paolo Di Canio playing well.

"He only came back to training on Saturday because we gave him permission to stay over in Rome for an extra few days to be signed off by his sinus consultant, because he had a problem with his sinuses all last winter.

"He first highlighted the problem to me in January and said it was really affecting his breathing.

"I think he felt himself he wasn't playing his very best as a result.

"But I had a conversation with Paolo in the summer and he felt the operation had been very successful, and I think he felt it would make a vast difference to how he felt himself when he was playing for us.

"So if that is the case and he is back to the sort of form that he was in the season before last  - and he was outstanding in virtually every game then - we know what a serious threat he can be.

"I haven't actually had a chat with him yet; I don't leave the training ground until well after 6 pm.

"But I just haven't had the time to sit down and personally talk to him: I was going to sit down and have a chat at lunch time today, but a couple of players came in and the meetings went on a little bit longer.

"We had a training session up at Hainault Forest this afternoon and Paolo was quickly away, got quickly showered at Chadwell Heath, and I assume he had somewhere to go.

"But I'm sure that on Thursday or Friday we will sit down and have a good chat and tell him how much we want him to stay here and play like we know he can.

"I certainly wasn't worried about not being able to talk to him today: I gave him the opportunity to come and see me at lunch time when I spoke to him at training this morning, and he said he would pop his head round the door.

"But, for whatever reason, at lunch time that didn't materialise and he was virtually one of the first to leave the training ground this afternoon after the training run.

"So I would suggest he is not greatly worried about it and I'm sure I'll catch up with him soon.

"I don't think there is anything too serious to talk about, just that apparently he wants clarification that the club wants him to stay and play - which we do.

"We want a fit and motivated Paolo who wants to play to his very best to link up with Fredi Kanoute through the middle of the field.

"They are a very serious partnership when they are playing very well - that would be the partnership we are looking at for the start of the season.

"There are partnerships all over the field but there is none more important than the one between the two strikers, who need to play close together and link in with each other.

"Last season Fredi was left to play on his own at times which is such a difficult and demanding job to do, but hopefully Fredi and Paolo will be a lethal partnership next year."

Talking specifically about the Manchester United rumours, he comments: "Manchester United never ever picked up the phone to us: there was a lot of speculation and agents doing a lot of talking apparently on behalf of Manchester United but I never had any contact with Alex Ferguson and as far as I'm aware Paul Aldridge hasn't had any contact with Peter Kenyon.

"So, as far as I'm concerned it was all speculation driven by agents. It was unsettling and not something anyone came out with any credit from because it's obviously unsettling for any player to be linked with a club such as Manchester United.

"But I think that has all gone away now and we can all get our heads round the coming season.

"We have had no contact from any other clubs concerning Paolo Di Canio which is pleasing from our point of view because I can only keep saying we want him back playing at his very best for West Ham United which I'm assured he is going to be able to do now his sinuses are in good health again."

As for the comment that West Ham need four new players, Glenn concurs: "I'm not disagreeing with that; I could have signed four players in the last week but whether they would have made us any better is open to debate.

"There are a lot of very average players out there in the market. The good players are not easy to find but I'm determined not to waste the money I have because it is too easy to dilute the squad more and bring in average players, and we certainly don't want to go down that road."

Another player about whom there has been speculation in the summer is Kanoute, who suggested earlier in the summer he may wish to go to Fulham.

But Fredi has assured Glenn that is not the case, and Glenn says: "Fredi has been excellent since he came back training and has looked as awesome at times in sessions as he has in some of the games last year.

"He is potentially a player out of the top drawer and in the next year or 18 months he should be playing in the French national team.

"The stories weren't helpful; I get the feeling it was driven by agents again, the speculation, and I get the feeling that Fredi was pleasantly flattered because it was Tigana who was his youth coach at Lyon.

"And with it being a full team of French coaches at Fulham, when it was first brought to his attention that Fulham would like him he sort of liked the idea.

"But he wasn't saying he wanted to go to any of the other clubs that were linked with him, it was purely because of Tigana being French.

"But we've had a long chat with him, he's looking very happy, and motivated, and is looking forward to playing for West Ham this season - which has got to be good for us."