Paul Aldridge On Transfers

Commenting on the Hammers signing of goalkeeper James Walker from Walsall, West Ham United Managing Director, Paul Aldridge, said: "He is an important first signing of the close-season for the Club and will be a valuable asset to the squad."

Paul then went on to hit back at recent speculation in the tabloid Press regarding the futures of Bobby Zamora, Nigel Reo-Coker and Matthew Etherington. Paul said: "These three players are less than one year into long-term contracts, so speculation that the Club has to renegotiate due to these contracts coming to an end is not the case.

"These three players remain an important part of Alan Pardew's squad and promotion plans for next season.

"The Club has received numerous of enquiries regarding certain players since the end of the season, all of which have been rejected."

Asked whether he agreed with a number of leading bookmakers that make West Ham United favourites to win the first Coca-Cola First Division Championship, Paul said: "It will be a good bet. The disappointment of losing the Play-Off Final in Cardiff is now behind us.

"The players will have gained valuable experience from playing in that Final and in the First Division last season. And unlike last season, Alan will have all the players together from the start of pre-season preparations.

"We have a tremendous squad that will be stronger and more committed than ever to achieve automatic promotion next season."